Runner by runner guide to the Derby at Epsom

The £1.125 million Group One Cazoo Derby is the jewel in the crown of British Flat racing.

Epsom racecourse
Epsom racecourse

The Blue Riband event, run at 4.30pm live on ITV Racing on Saturday has won by some of the sport’s superstars. From Nijinsky to Shergar and Sea The Stars to Galileo, myriad big names have won the event and we have previewed the 2021 running with our runner by runner guide.

1 Adayar Trainer: Charlie Appleby Odds: 33/1

A son of Frankel and one of three runners for Godolphin. He has finished second in two Derby trials this term but this demands more and he needs to improve.

2 Bolshoi Ballet Trainer: Aidan O’Brien Odds: 5/4

A deserving favourite for this race as he bids to become the first horse since High Chaparral (2002) to complete the Derrinstown-Derby double. He was simply stunning at Leopardstown and with quick ground a positive and his stamina proven over this trip, he makes plenty of appeal.

3 Gear Up Trainer: Mark Johnston Odds: 33/1

Somewhat disappointing when only fifth in the Dante and he has questions to answer on the back of that run.

4 Hurricane Lane Trainer: Charlie Appleby Odds: 8/1

Won the Dante on his last start and gave the impression he would stay this trip. He is a solid contender and cannot be ruled out.

5 John Leeper Trainer: Ed Dunlop Odds: 7/1

Unbeaten this term and he is a son of 2010 Oaks winner Snow Fairy. He impressed when scoring in Listed company at Newmarket and also went well in a racecourse gallop at the track of late.

6 Mac Swiney Trainer: Jim Bolger Odds: 7/1

Won the Irish 2000 Guineas last time out and should step forward again going up in trip. However, he was beaten by Bolshoi Ballet in the Derrinstown and has plenty to find.

7 Mohaafeth Trainer: William Haggas Odds: 8/1

Has impressed in all three of his wins this term, particularly at Newmarket last time. He deserves to take the step up in grade, but others are preferred.

8 Mojo Star Trainer: Richard Hannon Odds: 100/1

A 220,000gns buy, he has finished second in two events and looks well out of his depth.

9 One Ruler Trainer: Charlie Appleby Odds: 25/1

The forgotten horse in the line-up. Sixth in the 2000 Guineas, but the step up in trip should be the making of him. An interesting each-way player.

10 Southern Lights Trainer: Joseph O’Brien Odds: 20/1

Well-beaten behind Bolshoi Ballet in the Derrinstown. Others are preferred.

11 Third Realm Trainer: Roger Varian Odds: 12/1

Lingfield Derby Trial winner who stayed on strongly. May prefer some cut in the ground, but is interesting.

12 Youth Spirit Trainer: Andrew Balding: 25/1

Trainer saddled the second in this last year and he showed a good attitude when scoring at Chester last time out. No reason that he cannot have a say.


A good renewal of the Derby with a number of horses in with possibilities of landing the Blue Riband event. Bolshoi Ballet is a worthy favourite having scored in fine style at Leopardstown last time out and he looks sure to be suited by this test. The fact he is Aidan O’Brien’s only runner in the contest highlights the esteem in which he is held and he makes plenty of appeal.

Dante scorer Hurricane Lane and Lingfield Derby Trial winner Third Realm are interesting each-way possibilities alongside the unexposed Mohaafeth and John Leeper.

Tom Marquand is chasing his first win in the Derby and partners the exciting Youth Spirit who won the Chester Vase on his latest start. He discussed the chances talking to coffee retailer Coffee FriendMarquand said: “I’m really looking forward to my ride on Youth Spirit. I kindly rode for the same connections in last year’s Derby on Khalifa Sat who was second and it would be a great story if we could go one better with Youth Spirit this year. Winning the Derby is definitely a race everyone wants to win. It is the pinnacle.”

Irish 2000 Guineas winner Mac Swiney cannot be discounted along with One Ruler who looks a big price on the pick of his form. However. Bolshoi Ballet looks the class angle and he gets the vote.

1 Bolshoi Ballet 5/4 2 Youth Spirit 25/1 3 One Ruler 25/1