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Dark Horses for the 2021 Epsom Derby

24 Feb 2021

In our next installment, we take a look at some Dark Horses for the Investec Derby on June 5


Trainer: John Gosden. Form: 1

John Gosden often introduces some of his best horses on the all-weather – Enable and Jack Hobbs have been recent examples – and so do not regard the fact that Beau Nash, owned by Godolphin, making his debut in a novice event over the best part of nine furlongs at Wolverhampton in late October as a negative.

Always close to the pace, he asserted readily in the closing stages from another Godolphin runner in Wirko. The latter gave the form a boost when a subsequent easy winner.

Beau Nash showed plenty of stamina and his pedigree points to him having every chance of staying a mile and a half. His brilliant sire, Golden Horn, also trained by Gosden, won the Derby and Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, while his lightly-raced dam is by a stamina influence in Teofilio and was herself tried over 1m4f on one occasion, albeit underperforming.

Bet365 quote Beau Nash at 50/1 for the Derby. He is the same price for the Guineas but it’s over middle distances where he is likely to shine.


Trainer: Aidan O’Brien. Form: 31

Aidan O’Brien is often mob-handed in the Derby – for instance he ran six in the premier Classic last year and once saddled eight in it – and it would be no surprise if Duke Of Mantua ended up in his squad this year.

Several of his stablemates, such as ante-post favourite High Definition, would look more certain stayers than him on pedigree, but Duke Of Mantua shaped like a stayer when losing his maiden tag over 7f at Gowran Park in early September and his half-brothers include Amlad, who was fully effective over 1m4f.

“He was behind the bridle early but there was only going to be one winner at the furlong pole,” Seamie Heffernan, his jockey said. Just ten days before winning at Gowran, Duke Of Mantua had shaped with great promise on his debut behind St Mark’s Basilca and Loch Lein at The Curragh. That form is rock-solid.

Duke Of Mantua is 33/1 for the Derby with SkyBet.


Trainer: Roger Varian. Form: 1

“I think he is a nice one for the future” said Roger Varian after his good-looking colt, owned by one of his principal patrons in Sheikh Mohammed Obaid, had won in taking fashion on his debut over a mile at Newmarket in late September.

The son of Shamardal, a well-backed second favourite, mastered the more experienced Toromona that day and the pair pulled well clear of a subsequent winner in Noman.

Royal Champion is quoted at 33/1 for the QIPCO 2000 Guineas, as well as the Derby. The latter race, in particular, could show him in a great light as there is plenty of stamina on the dam’s side of his pedigree.

His half-brothers include Outbox, a galloper who has shown himself effective at up to 2m.