Horse Racing: Betfred Derby 2024 – Big Race Tips and Betting Preview

The sporting world will stop for a couple of minutes on Saturday afternoon when the Betfred Derby is run at Epsom Downs on a day where one of the enlarged field for the 2024 renewal will write itself into horse racing folklore.

As well as the Derby, there is a pretty good supporting undercard but with the weather expected to change the going throughout the day and no hugely obvious betting opportunities we are focusing out attention purely on the big one.

4.30 Epsom


It’s time for the biggest race of the year, the Derby, run at Epsom over a trip of a mile & a half.  The question is, do we have a genuine superstar in the field?   Well, there’s 16 to choose from & it’s a tough Derby puzzle to solve this year as most of the front 6 in the market looks pretty solid but I’m just not sure which one will come out on top.  City Of Troy was supposedly the superstar after a glittering 2 year old campaign but he failed to fire in the 2000 Guineas which has put all sorts of doubts in the mind.  That said, O’Brien has a habit of getting these types back to form but he cannot be confidently backed at around 5/2.  Ancient Wisdom was another that looked good at 2, culminating in a win in the Group 1 Futurity but it’s hard to assess his one & only run this year where he was a beaten favourite in the Dante.  Yes he was 2nd but the winner bolted up by 6 lengths so it’s fair to say he was a distant 2nd.  Los Angeles is unbeaten in 3 for AOB winning a Group 1 at 2 & then reappearing with a win in the Ballysax where it looked evident he’ll improve for this trip.  I like his chances but his price & the fact he’s deemed the second string for the yard is marginally offputting.  Ambiente Friendly won the Lingfield Derby Trial & handled the track superbly so must come here with a massive chance.  The worry is that he pulled hard early & I’m also no big fan of the decision to replace Callum Shepherd with Rab Havlin.  I must admit to being drawn to Dancing Gemini.   He looks to be a fantastic 3 year old & I’m sure Group 1 success awaits but there are 3 niggling doubts; the trip, the draw & the jockey.  Whilst I’m a fan of McMonagle, having his first ride in the Derby at a track that requires plenty of knowledge & experience is a negative.

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Whilst the winner is likely to come from the ones above, there are reasons not to back any so I’m chancing my arm at a longer priced one knowing that a top 4 finish would still give us a healthy return.  The one I’m interested in is Bellum Justum.   It’s clear that the draw is all important, even over such a trip so box 12 looks ideal especially with the experience & class of the man doing the steering.  His 2 year old career wasn’t special with only a Newmarket maiden win of any note but it’s his return this season that I was drawn to.  He won here, over a mile & a quarter, in the Listed Blue Riband Trial, & it was his professionalism that was particularly eyecatching.  He settled quickly towards the head of the 5 strong field, travelled well, handled the undulations impressively & stuck on really well when he hit the front.  He has decent tactical speed but also looked like he’ll improve for a bit of extra distance.  The ground should be ideal for him & with his trainer having a decent recent record in this with outsiders, I think he’s the best each way bet in the race.


Back Bellum Justum (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 23.00 Bet365 (⅕ odds 1-4)