Epsom Derby Preview | 3rd June 2017

Racing tipster Graeme Johnston gives us his runner by runner guide to this year’s Epsom Derby.

The Derby is Europe’s most iconic flat race and and the race every flat jockey dreams of winning. With the unique course undulating throughout and large fields common you need an athletic horse who stays well making this in my opinion the ultimate flat race.

There are 19 lining up and in an open looking year there will be plenty of confident connections lining up at 4:30, but there can only be one winner, and here’s what I think of the runners.


Not seen out until April this year and since his impressive maiden win he’s been placed in the Craven and the Dante on his two subsequent starts. He’s going the right way and could be involved at the finish.

Best Solution

One of the best juveniles over a mile last year and after a failed attempt on all weather in Dubai returned to the UK to win the Lingfield Derby Trial. He will stay this trip and will give you a run for your money, but he may lack speed at key moments.


Looked like Ballydoyles number 1 Derby prospect at one point last year however his stablemates soon progressed past him. He’s game and if the ground turns soft has a chance but he’s not much value at his current odds.

Cliffs of Moher

One of my Five to Follow for the season and he is the likely favourite here. Based solely on what he has achieved so far he is no value however given his connections and the confident noises coming from the yard he has to be respected. I expect him to go very close.


Won the Epsom Derby trial on just his second start and a race that has been largely a trial by name only has suddenly produced two Derby contenders. He is full of potential but the extra two furlongs and huge step up in class both concern me.

Crowned Eagle

Well related and looks sure to win races but I don’t think he’s ready for this. Stepping up from handicaps to Group 1 level is huge and he comes from a family that improves with age.

Douglas MacArthur

An expensive purchase who before he had seen a racetrack was favourite for this race. He flopped at odds on at debut and hasn’t shown Derby winning form at any point of his career so far.

Dubai Thunder

Hadn’t seen a race course three weeks ago but after dismantling his maiden he is now lining up in the Derby. He could be anything however logic tells me he will have other days later in his career.


Looked high class when winning the Craven before running below expectations in the 2000 Guineas. He shapes although he wants further than a mile and won’t find things happening as quickly today however he isn’t on my shortlist today.

Glencadam Glory

Doesn’t have the form in the book required to get competitive in this and looks out of his depth. He should stay this far but is a most unlikely winner.


Supplemented for this race and you have to admire the owners for taking the plunge. However he looks held here and even if you take his win last time out literally, he still has loads to find to win this.


Normally a 19 length maiden winner is well above average but unfortunately for Pealer it was an auction maiden at Southwell on his fourth start and he is purely making up the numbers here


Looked like a future handicapper up until his second in the Epsom Derby trial but has taken his form to a new level since. He won the Dante which is normally a top trial and like most from his stable he has a fantastic attitude to racing. He is likely to run his race but I feel he may fall short.


Won the Ballysax and was fourth in the Dante fairing best of those held up. He is no back number here and this trip should be ideal for him. I feel he is slightly over priced and could get a place.


Run 10 times and not one piece of form even hints at winning a Derby. Stepping up in distance should suit but he will struggle badly in my opinion.

The Anvil

Only has an all weather maiden win to his name but he has run in some good races and in a smaller stable would be a star. He looks booked for pacemaking duties and is more likely to set the race up than win it,

Venice Beach

Another from the Aidan O’Brien yard and another with a live chance. He will stay and is still improving so looks to hold place chances, I just feel he may lack tactical speed when the race heats up.

Wings of Eagles

Improving and another who should relish every yard of this. He ran on eye-catchingly towards the end of the Chester Vase but he’s not likely to become the first horse starting with a W to win the Derby here.

Diore Lia

A horse. That’s the only positive I can come up with for her.

In a typically big field there isn’t really a stand out on form and there will be plenty of confident connections coming in to this. I’ve long admired Cliffs of Moher and I feel he still has more to offer and is a slightly tentative selection. Of the rest I like Rekindling at a price and feel Permian could place. Here’s my 1-2-3-4.

1. Cliffs of Moher
2. Rekindling
3. Permian
4. Venice Beach