Race Previews

THE EPSOM DERBY: Analysis & Winner Selection

The famous Epsom Derby kicks off at 16:55 at Epsom Downs this afternoon, and showcases what we hope will be some of the best 3-year-olds in the business.

Sometimes referred to as the Blue Riband, the Derby is steeped in history.

The Group 1 race has origins going back to 1627.

That’s nearly 400 years old!

The “Manx Derby” was the name coined back in those early years. The true Derby, as we know it today, was decided by a coin toss. At a party, it was debated whether it should be named after the 12th Earl of Derby, the host, or Charles Bunbury. According to legend, Charles Bunbury deferred to his host and allowed the coin toss to be won by the Earl, and all these years later, we still have the Derby!

Since then, it’s been altered many times and in many ways, with different starting positions and even different courses. The Derby has inspired many namesakes such as the Kentucky Derby, the Derby Italiano, the Deutsches Derby, the Irish Derby and the Prix du Jockey Club (The French Derby).

All that history makes me feel somewhat nostalgic!

It was my Grandfather who introduced me to racing, and to watching the Derby (and betting, of course!). He inspired me to follow horses, and helped put together all of the pieces of the horse racing puzzle. My Grandfather would spend hours showing me how to breakdown a race, price-up the horses, analyse the markets, look at the form and, most importantly, understand the various staking plans he used, which allowed him to minimise his losses and to improve his gains. He passed away over 20 years ago now, but his meticulous legacy lives on in me, and in how I approach a race.

The Epsom Derby Trends

The first thing that I’ll be doing is looking at the stats and trends. What we’re looking for here are horses that fit the bill, comply with the trends and therefore make the shortlist.

Here are the trends for the race –
Price β€“ 9 of the last 12 winners were in the top 3 of the betting
Stall β€“ 9 of the last 12 winners were drawn in stall 7 or higher
Last Run β€“ 10 of the last 12 winners ran in the last 35 days or less. 12 of the last 12 winners had at least placed on their last run before The Derby
Previous Course Form β€“ None of the last 12 winners had run or had a win at Epsom before
Previous Flat Form β€“ 10 of the last 12 winners had at least 3 previous flat runs
Rating β€“ 11 out of 12 winners were rated 109 or higher
Group Wins β€“ 10 out of 12 winners had at least 1 win in a group race (1-3)
Season Form β€“ 12 out of 12 winners had at least 1 run that season

(Stats taken from The Stats Don’t Lie)

Looking at the stats, we need to concentrate on the top of the market. I’m writing this the afternoon before the racing, so I’m going to eliminate anything outside the top 5 in the betting. The reason for this is that, if we have an overnight gamble, we’re generally safe with the top five being in the top three of the betting come the race day.


Epsom Analysis #1

We can see that the current BF odds present us with the top five in the betting.

Now, we need to break down those five horses using the other trends.

Only two from the top five in the betting are drawn in stall 7 or higher. This leaves us with Kameko and Vatican City, both of which have run in the last 35 days. Both of the two-horses shortlisted have been placed in their last runs.

Kameko fits all the trends. Vatican City is let down by the fact that he’s never won a Group race, although he did come close in the Irish 2,000 Guineas and, on that form, we can’t discount him.

On the breakdown of the trends, we can confidently say that both Kameko and Vatican City are good fits.

Now we need to analyse the ratings and see how our shortlist of the two horses compare.


Our first port of call is to use the 5278 Contender Finder Ranking. We can see this easily by using the software within the Race Advisor’s Pro Members Club.

Epsom Analysis #2

We want to find the first 8 in the 5278 contender finder ranking. There’s 16 runners in this particular puzzle, but focusing on the top half of the 5278 contender ranking means that we can halve the field of potentials.

Now that we have narrowed down the field to half, we need to run a simulation of the race. All of this is possible using the RA Pro Members Club Monte Carlo software.

Looking at the screenshot below, we can see that Kameko shows as a very high percentage.

Epsom Analysis #3

The percentage, on the right-hand side of all the other figures, shows that Kameko has a high percentage chance of winning.


Based on the trends and ratings, my selection would be Kameko.

It’s a seriously competitive race of course, it’s the Epsom Derby after all. To be cautious, I will be betting 20% of my stake on the win and 80% of my stake on the place.

Let’s hope for a win but, all in all, let’s enjoy the race and the spectacle that this year’s Derby will give us.

I’d love to know who you’re going to be betting on in this years Epsom Derby. Let me know in the comments below.

Eddie Lloyd

I have been a professional gambler for 3 years now and spend all my days searching for "value" within Horse Racing. I'm also a keen musician and love travelling around the world.


  1. Don’t you take into account a horses previous runs? Kameko is a contender of course, but Epsom is a testing course and Kameko is entirely unproven over this trip. Also I don’t get the logic behind this trend based analysis because it doesn’t take into account a horses attributes. For me with Frankie on board English King is a more obvious choice. Especially when you look at how comfortably he won the Lingfield Derby trial. And if you want to follow a more useful trend, 25 out of the last 38 Derby winners also won their Derby trial. Another pointer to English King?

    1. Hi John, whilst I completely agree with you from a form perspective, I choose to analyze races from a trends and statistics point of view. Form certainly has it’s place and my Grandad was a big fan of the form reading, but he also incorporated trends. He taught me everything I know! Trends can show us consistencies with the profile of past winners and help to narrow the field down. I guess I prefer the trends and stats as it speeds up the process of finding winners. If I start delving into form, I find opinions and skewed logic can often cloud my judgment. But, that the wonderful world of horse racing. There will always be divided opinion and that’s what makes it such a diverse and exciting sport πŸ™‚ Good luck with whoever you back πŸ™‚

  2. Hello eddie,i dot not understand how the %s dont add up to 100%.kameko has 50.93% but all the others get %s that bring the figure way over 100%.Can you explain please.Thank you.

    1. Hi Joe, the percentages aren’t part of a “book”. They display the percentage chance of the horse winning the race in today’s conditions. You can’t work out the odds line from those percentages, rather see the horse’s individual chance in today’s conditions. Hope that makes sense πŸ™‚

  3. Sorry, made a mistake in my previous reply. It should be 23 of last 26 Derby winners also won a recognised Derby trial.

  4. Eddie
    Good luck he’s not my selection due to his running at ascot
    And the form of the 2000 guineas I have doubts as to weather he will stay the distance
    For me it’s a race to watch due to the interruption racing has had
    If Frankie wasn’t drawn 1 I would be confident of a big run but if he gets him accross he will handle the corner very well and they way he won at lingfield shows he’s group class
    Russian emperor could run a big race as well
    For me frankly darling is a good bet for the oaks

    1. Hi Andy, I like Frankly Darling but have also had a saver on Love! I’ve personally reduced my stakes since racing started back up again, as I was wary of the changes since lockdown. Things seem to be going to plan however and even the first shows have been largely uninterrupted with the lack of on-course money. I’m looking forward to watching the Derby and let’s hope it’s a good one πŸ™‚

  5. My systematic approach throws up Kameko too, but my form study tells me Pyledriver is better value.

    1. Hi Wendy, Pyledriver is certainly a decent price. Maybe you’ll go an each-way tickle πŸ˜‰

  6. Lets enjoy the race and hope its well fought! some great horses and jockeys. shame we cant attend.

    1. Yes, shame we can’t attend. I would have loved to have been there but it’ll be watched from the safety of my armchair!

  7. cheers for this Eddie you time is appreciated used to get the trends for Big races analyised by another person and certainly worked with lots of big winners over the years.

  8. Russian Emperor for me ( well that’s him jinxed, sorry for anyone else on him!) ??

    Now watch Kameko shred my concerns about going up in distance from a mile …?

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