A new story from The Final Furlong Podcast
The moment, my overarching feeling is the derby runners overall are much of a muchness, and they're looking like an average bunch at this time of the year. That's not to say that something can't step forward and put a seal on the race, but you'd have to say, certainly, obviously I'm a ratings man, I'm a figures man, I tend to look at things through the lens of ratings and speed figures, and certainly rather dispassionately. At this moment in time, I'd say we're looking at a slightly below average renewal of the derby, and just hoping that something can step forward in the day and really set a seal on it. Yeah, I would agree with that. And it's through that prism that I want to get your ideas of where you're currently standing in the derby picture. So we kind of had this conversation last week a little bit, Sam, but we wanted to see how things were going to unfold with the Dante, and we got the race that we got. Who is your current pick for Epsom? Yeah, for me, I think given his links to Adyar, he's already ahead of him at a similar stage in their career. I am tentatively leaning towards military order, and I can almost hear the booze ringing in as I, I don't know if I'm quite tipping up a favourite here, but I think how he was running on the surface didn't suit in that Lingfield Derby trial, the track didn't suit, the horses can get all sort of tangled up, can't they? Coming down that hill, going around that tight bend, and as we spoke about before, the Godolphin horses are big dudes, aren't they? They've got big girths, big bodies, big legs, big everything. I won't elaborate too much more on that, but I just think he's... Should we start playing the bow chicka wow wow music in the background as well? Proceed. But for me, oh man, I mean, 3 to 172, would I be taking this price as a single? No, would I chuck him in some sort of fourfold potentially and see how it plays out? It's not a race that I'm absolutely gagging to have a bet in at the moment. For me, he's ticking a lot of the boxes without too many of the question marks arising. Aidan O 'Brien was so adamant, wasn't he, that August Rodin was still going to be his horse at the Derby after it all went wrong in the Guineas at Newmarket. Like you said, his price is all over the place. But of course, what that flop did was just present the doubts. And some people might disagree if they study miniature orders, runs in more detail than I have, perhaps. I've had a look at them, but for me, I don't see too much there where I'm like, oh, that could be a big issue at Epsom or that might trip him up. He seems really, really rock solid to me. But looking at the Dante, I know Andrew Boulding, like I said, is really desperate to have that Derby title. I think he'll get the foxes back in perfect shape for the race, hopefully. He did it with Caldean after he got rid of Frankie and then came back and was really impressive, wasn't he? So I think he's got his horses in really good fettle at the moment. Yeah, I think there are a few things that might concern him, like I said, about the weight loss and stuff. But the horse, you know, the horse has got a lot going for him. But I would probably just go with military order. Sorry. Sorry. I know. Boring choice. I like it. I like the fact that you're coming in with an open view that it's not a final selection. But as things stand, it's military order. And I can absolutely see why. I think the Frankel angle is going to be very important because we're now in an era where the Galileo's are limited. And they don't make him like that anymore. We've got a dominant Galileo for the Oaks, but we don't have one really for the Derby. And so you've got to look to who is going to step up in his absence, who's going to be the next big superstar. And it's clearly Frankel at the moment. And he's got two in military order and the other is a rest. And I'd favor a rest right now. I really like that performance of Chester with soft ground, which would make you a little bit hesitant. It's Frankie, his last ever Derby. He's bound to be well supported. He could be an awful lot shorter than he is now at nine to two, five to one. I don't have any doubt about the Fox's staying, funnily enough. I know that there's an element from some about the Churchill angle. Will he really get the trip? But his siblings are one over a mile six, a mile four, mixtures of Raven's past, Churchill's, Teofilio's. I don't think there's much of an issue there. His full brother stayed a mile four for Aidan O 'Brien. So I think he will stay. I just don't know if I want to pack him at that price anymore. The more I've looked at this race, the more I feel this is going to be a Wings of Eagles, Massar, Serpentine, Adair style of race. They're the most recent winners who've come out at shock prices. Like Wings of Eagles was 2017, Massar winning it in 2018 at 16 to one, Serpentine. How did he win a Derby? 25 to one and Adair was a 16 to one shot who was a significantly bigger price before the race started. He was a gamble that morning. And it just, even from what Mark was saying as well, but this just looks right now like there isn't a standout star. We all know who that star could be. It could be August Rodin. And again, there's a narrative amongst certain journalists that Aidan O 'Brien's comments in recent days tell you this is the main one for Bally Doyle. Can we just look at this logically? Obviously he's the number one for Bally Doyle. They don't have anything else. Not this season they don't. If Continuous had come out and won, he's automatically supplemented for the race. But the fact that he was beaten means maybe they go to France with him or maybe they'll just wait for Roy Lasker. San Antonio, they were very quick to downplay him after he won at Chester. And they've taken out the horses that we told you were injured a couple of weeks ago. and In Alexandropolis Victoria Road. They're now officially out of the race. So there's just not a whole lot there. It's all about August Rodin. And even that question that he was asked at the media day just after Cheltenham. Is there a triple crown horse in the yard? Well, of course he's going to say August Rodin because you couldn't say Victoria Road. Because Victoria Road might have been good enough to win a Guineas had he run. Could have stayed a mile four, but he's not going to stay a mile six. So it's some of these comments that are being made about August Rodin are very leading. And it's just like it's almost trying to hype a horse up when I don't think they're trying to do that at all. I don't think it's not as though Aiden is saying, no, it's going to be an impossible task and we can't win. But you're asking to turn around a 22 length defeat in a classic in the space of 28 days while also being asked to take four to one. And I'm saying that as someone who has him at 16s, I just can't see it. If he does it, amazing. I can still see him being a huge player in the arc later this year. And maybe the fact that it's such an open derby, maybe that really does mean this fella can come along and win it. But it's training performance of all training performances if Aiden manages to get August Rodin to win. So I'm looking for something at a price. And right now it's Dubai Mile is up there. I really like Paddington, but he's going to go to France and he hasn't gone over 10 furlongs yet. Never mind a mile four. The other is Aldar. I know he got beaten at Chester, but so was Wings of Eagles. Maybe something like him at a wild price could come along and be very much in the mix.