Betting on the Epsom Derby

Investec Derby Festival

Frankie Dettori does his famous jumping dismount from his horse Golden Horn after winning the Investec Derby at Epsom racecourse on June 06, 2015 in Epsom, England.

While some racegoers prefer the drama of the Grand National or other National Hunt events, the Derby is quite simply the richest horse race in the UK. It’s a flat race, held in early June, and for many that makes it a little easier to call but it’s no less exciting, despite the lack of obstacles.

It’s a truly historic occasion too with the first running taking place on Epsom Downs in 1780 so if you’re betting on the Epsom Derby, you are taking part in Britain’s heritage.

The Mechanics

The race itself is for three year old thoroughbred colts and fillies and it’s over a distance of one mile, four furlongs and ten yards. It is the most highly sought after prize among the five classics and the leg forms part of a triple crown which also includes the 2,000 Guineas and the St Leger.

Anyone looking to place a bet at Epsom could therefore assess the results of the 2,000 Guineas before moving on to the Derby itself. Overall form is naturally important but any horse that triumphs in the earlier race should have the class to step up.

A number of runners have performed well and been placed in both renewals but admittedly the ‘double’ is quite rare. After Nashwan took out both races in 1989, we had to wait 20 years before Sea the Stars was able to repeat the feat.

Usual suspects

In a similar way to the Grand National, the Derby tends to attract the casual punter who may only bet on a horse race once or twice a year. That means that popular jockeys and trainers may get more attention than they perhaps deserve and that can sometimes affect the Epsom betting.

Take Frankie Dettori as an example – a hugely popular jockey with a great record of success wherever he rides but it took him 15 attempts at the Derby before he landed his first winner with Authorized in 2007.

History might suggest that Dettori’s record is something of an anomaly but you should always be careful of a market that can be influenced by the casual bettor.

Bets and Offers

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There are races around the Derby on the same Epsom card but this isn’t a festival in the same sense as Cheltenham or Royal Ascot. So you shouldn’t expect to see any unusual markets such as top jockey or trainer as essentially this should be seen as a one off event.

Generally there is a strong field so bookmakers may compete to pay each way bets down to four places and possibly even more. Enhanced odds offers may also appear on the short priced horses in the lead up to the race while most outlets will be looking to promote their best odds guarantee scheme.

Another popular offer is to refund bets if your pick finishes in second: we saw that from Paddy Power at the Cheltenham Festival of 2016 and it’s more than likely to appear again.

It’s impossible to guess what the promos will be ahead of the race itself but this is a huge deal for the bookies and you can be sure that there will be plenty of value to be found. Paddy Power, Bet365, William Hill and 888sport will all be heavily involved with the Derby while battling for your custom.

If you can’t find a specific offer then you can always take the Acca deals such as those quoted by William Hill, Coral and Unibet. They are for any horse race so the Derby will certainly be part of those promotions.

So, study form, look for some tips and be wary of the market but above all, be sure to get involved with a bet on the Derby as this historic race, held at the beginning of June each year, continues to excite the race going public.