Irish Trainer Aidan O’Brien has dominated the English Classics in recent seasons and once again he has a number of the leading contenders for the 2017 Derby at Epsom, one of the most prestigious races in Europe.
Churchill currently tops the betting with the bookmakers for the 2000m contest in June, where he can be backed at +7000 to provide O’Brien with his sixth success in the race. If you are thinking of backing the three-year-colt, it may be worth taking a look at the best promotions provided by the leading horse betting sites, which are listed and reviewed on comparison sites. In a number of cases, if you open a new account, you will receive a free sign-up bet which you can use on the meeting.
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O’Brien’s talented colt won on five of his six starts as a two-year-old last season. He broke his maiden at Ascot when he was well backed over the distance of 1400m. Churchill then stepped straight into Group company for the Tyros Stakes at Leopardstown, where he got the better of Alexios Komnenos by a neck.
After another win in the Group Two Futurity Stakes, Churchill was tested in the Group One National Stakes at the Curragh, where he established himself as one of the leading two-year-olds in the UK and Ireland. His final task was the Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket. He was held up early in that race by jockey Ryan Moore, who produced his horse with a late surging run with 400m left to go. The bookmakers reacted to that victory by making Churchill their favourite for the Derby and 2000 Guineas in 2017.
Cliffs Of Moher is also set to represent O’Brien in the Derby this year and unlike Churchill, the John Magnier-owned horse has very little experience on the racecourse. The three-year-old did not make his debut until October in 2016, where he could only finish fifth in a maiden at Cork. He did, though, learn from that experience as he scored comfortably on his next start at Leopardstown just a few weeks later.
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O’Brien’s second string is third best in the Derby betting at +1300, where he has just Churchill and the John Gosden-trained Cracksman ahead of him. Cliffs Of Maher does not have an entry in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket but he could make his seasonal reappearance in the Dante Stakes which is one of the leading Derby trials in England.
Sir John Lavery is another horse who is set to run in the Derby from the Ballydoyle yard in Ireland. The son of Galileo, like many of his stablemates, is bred to run in the leading Classics in his three-year-old campaign. This horse won for the first time at Gowran Park back in October when he demolished the field of nine runners by seven lengths on soft-to-heavy ground at the Irish track. O’Brien’s lightly raced colt is +1700 to win the leading three-year-old race in Europe this season.
The Derby takes place on June 4 this year, while the Oaks, the leading race for the three-year fillies, is a run 24 hours earlier on June 3 at Epsom.