Between March and early June, the UK hosts some of the most exciting horse racing events in the sport. Over the jumps, the Cheltenham Gold Cup gives way to the Grand National which brings the curtain down on another thrilling National Hunt season.
Attention will then switch to flat racing with a number of top class meetings taking place through May. In early June, the Epsom Derby takes over and, for many, this is the biggest flat race of all.
Dates for the Diary
Following a number of changes to the calendar over the years, the Epsom Derby is now held on the first Saturday in June. In 2023, June 3 is the date to remember, as a host of top thoroughbreds prepare for the off.
Leading the way is Auguste Rodin who is the 2/1 favorite to win this year. Early horse racing odds put Auguste Rodin way clear of a chasing pack which is led by Imperial Emperor at 10/1. Favorites don’t always come home in first place, but this year’s market leader is ahead of the chasers by some distance.
Could there be an upset in 2023? For those that are unfamiliar with the Derby, here’s how it works.
Epsom Derby Guide
The Derby is a race for three-year-old thoroughbred horses. It’s a flat race which takes place over one mile, four furlongs and six yards of the Epsom Downs course. The first edition of the Derby took place way back in 1780, which makes this one of the oldest organized sporting events still being held.
The nature of the race means that there will never be a multiple winner of the Derby. It’s specific in terms of its age requirements, but there have been some memorable former champions.
Included in the Derby Hall of Fame, are some legendary names including Nijinsky, Shergar, The Minstrel and Mill Reef. Top jockeys have also enjoyed success in this race, with Lester Piggott holding the record with nine overall wins.
It’s a race steeped in history, but what will it take to win the Epsom Derby?
Trends to Consider
Unlike the Grand National with its extended distance and 30 fences, the Epsom Derby is not so unpredictable. Favorites have a greater chance of winning, but there have been notable instances of underdogs coming through.
In four of the previous 12 races coming into 2023, only four winners have been classed as favorites or joint favorites. These include the 2022 winner, Desert Crown.
While there are no fences, the Epsom Downs course is undulating and there is a steep bank on the home stretch. Having an inside draw could certainly be an advantage.
Nine of the last 12 winners had won at least one race in the season, so form can be an indicator. Ten of those winners had run within the previous 35 days.
Trends offer no guarantee, but they are interesting to consider. What is certain is that the 2023 Epsom Derby should provide another thrilling occasion, and a memorable race is in prospect.
Also read: What Can Rich Strike Learn from Past Kentucky Derby Winners?