Epsom Derby tips and runner-by-runner guide to the 17 horses in Saturday’s 4.30

Our guide to the biggest race of the season.

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*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change

Epsom Derby favourite Desert Crown is among 17 runners declared for Saturday’s Classic at 4.30pm.

The Nathaniel colt is bidding to become the first horse since Golden Horn in 2015 to win the Derby after scoring in the Dante and give trainer Sir Michael Stoute his first success in the race since 2010.

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Stone Age spearheads Aidan O’Brien’s three-strong squad as the Ballydoyle master spies a record-extending ninth triumph, while Charlie Appleby, who saddled last year’s winner Adayar, chucks three darts at the contest including Nations Pride.

You’ll find horse-by-horse analysis to the 17 runners and Epsom Derby tips from Paddy Power’s horse racing experts below.

Epsom Derby runners

Changingoftheguard

Trainer: Aidan O’Brien Jockey: Wayne Lordan Draw: 16

Drew a blank in 3 outings over 1m as a juvenile but much improved this season, easily landing the odds at Dundalk on return before putting himself firmly in the Derby picture when a wide-margin winner of the 4-runner Chester Vase, making all in a good time. Stamina guaranteed. Headgear applied.

Desert Crown

Trainer: Sir Michael Stoute Jockey: Richard Kingscote Draw: 12

Nathaniel colt who could hardly have made a more impressive debut at Nottingham in the autumn, storming clear. Plenty about him physically so no surprise he improved significantly when following up in the Dante at York with plenty in hand on return. Form pick and looks a most exciting prospect.

El Habeeb

Trainer: J. S. Moore Jockey: John Egan Draw: 14

Far from disgraced to finish fifth of 6 when pitched in at the deep end in listed race at Newmarket on debut 3 weeks ago but has a mountain to climb on just his second career start.

Glory Daze

Trainer: Andrew Oliver Jockey: R. P. Whelan Draw: 10

Off the mark in 13-runner maiden at the Curragh on return and improved again when runner-up in Derby Trial Stakes at Leopardstown, albeit proving no match for Stone Age. All to do.

Grand Alliance

Trainer: Charlie Fellowes Jockey: Daniel Tudhope Draw: 17

Arrives with a progressive profile, winning a novice at Chelmsford before following up in a handicap at Doncaster despite hanging across the track. Met some trouble when ½-length second to Nahanni in Blue Riband Trial here (10f) since but plenty to find at this level.

Hoo Ya Mal

Trainer: Andrew Balding Jockey: David Probert Draw: 3

Won 7f York maiden last year and useful form in defeat since, 5 lengths third of 6 to Native Trail in Craven Stakes at Newmarket before runner-up in listed event there, albeit proving no match for 7-length winner Nations Pride. Looks out of his depth.

Masekela

Trainer: Andrew Balding Jockey: Jason Watson Draw: 8

Narrowly denied by Native Trail in Superlative at last year’s July meeting. Bagged a Newbury listed win on next start but just respectable efforts in defeat since, including when second in listed race at Newmarket on return. Withdrawn after restless in stalls intended latest start in Dante at York.

Nahanni

Trainer: Charlie Appleby Jockey: Adam Kirby Draw: 6

Frankel colt who is 3 from 3 since an encouraging debut, staying on strongly to defy a penalty by a wide margin in a novice at Leicester before making all in game fashion in Blue Riband Trial here (10f) in April. Trainer/jockey won this last year with Adayar but more needed again.

Nations Pride

Trainer: Charlie Appleby Jockey: William Buick Draw: 5

Confirmed debut promise when winning a couple of novices on the AW in the autumn and has made a fine impression switched to turf this year, bolting up at Meydan and in a listed event at Newmarket (by 7 lengths from Hoo Ya Mal). Supplemented for £75,000 and the choice of William Buick.

Piz Badile

Trainer: Donnacha Aidan O’Brien Jockey: Frankie Dettori Draw: 7

Arguably unlucky not to be unbeaten and improved another chunk to make the breakthrough at pattern level when a narrow winner of the Ballysax Stakes at Leopardstown (10f, good) on return 63 days ago, displaying a very willing attitude. Step up in trip likely to suit and must be respected.

Royal Patronage

Trainer: Charlie & Mark Johnston Jockey: Jason Hart Draw: 1

Smart at 2 yrs, impressive winner of Acomb at York before following up in Royal Lodge at Newmarket, snatching victory from Coroebus who kicked too soon. Ran to form when 8th in 2000 Guineas on return and easily brushed aside by Desert Crown when upped in trip for Dante. Will do well to make frame.

Sonny Liston

Trainer: Charles Hills Jockey: Tom Marquand Draw: 13

Impressive debut winner at Sandown last summer. Creditable fourth in the Feilden Stakes at Newmarket on return despite taking a strong hold, and still far from the finished article when 2¼ lengths third of 6 to Star of India in listed Dee Stakes (12/1) at Chester. This looks too demanding.

Star Of India

Trainer: Aidan O’Brien Jockey: Seamie Heffernan Draw: 15

Galileo colt who impressed when winning 7f Leopardstown maiden on debut. Looked in need of the run in the Craven and duly improved again when decisive winner of the Dee Stakes at Chester, never stronger than at the finish, which offers hope for him staying 1½m. Entitled to take his chance.

Stone Age

Trainer: Aidan O’Brien Jockey: Ryan Moore Draw: 4

Progressed well at 2 yrs, signing off with excellent second in Criterium de Saint Cloud. Easily landed the odds in maiden at Navan on return and followed up in striking fashion when making all in Derby Trial at Leopardstown. Straightforward sort who’s bound to prove at least as effective over 1½m.

Walk Of Stars

Trainer: Charlie Appleby Jockey: James Doyle Draw: 9

Improving son of Dubawi who made it 2-3 when landing the odds in 3-runner conditions event at Newbury (10f) on return. However, didn’t look entirely straightforward when runner-up in the Derby Trial at Lingfield (hung right) and Epsom may not be ideal for him on that evidence.

Westover

Trainer: Ralph Beckett Jockey: Rob Hornby Draw: 2

Frankel colt who didn’t do himself full justice in 2 defeats after winning on his debut at 2 yrs and duly found improvement when making a winning return in the Classic Trial at Sandown 6 weeks ago, just holding on but suited by the step up in trip. Should stay this extra 2f and worth a shot.

West Wind Blows

Trainer: Simon & Ed Crisford Jockey: Jack Mitchell Draw: 11

Overcame inexperience to make a winning debut at Newcastle in December and found a whole chunk of improvement when defying a penalty in impressive fashion at Nottingham on return last month. Looks a smart prospect but this is a massive step up in class.

Epsom Derby tips

Matt Chapman: A rare Derby stuffed full of trial winners rather than top class juveniles or Classic performers. Desert Crown might easily be good enough and I hope he is for Richard Kingscote who deserves this chance. That said, my two against the field will be STONE AGE and WESTOVER at differing prices.

Stone Age has been high class since being stepped up to 10f, and powered away from his field at Leopardstown last time. The ground is perfect for him. He should stay well and the draw has been very kind for a horse who could go to the front and do a Slip Anchor or something similar to Teenoso. Fingers crossed Ryan Moore gets the job done for Aidan O’Brien.

Westover is a horse I loved when he won the Sandown Classic trial and has scope for much better over this trip. He’s got a kind draw for Ralph Beckett and Rob Hornby and I see no reason why he won’t be in the mix if he has progressed just a little bit. He’s a big horse and could have bundles more to come.

Timeform: Plenty of improving and unexposed colts as expected but DESERT CROWN already looks a top-class prospect, running to a very smart level when winning the Dante at York with plenty in hand, and he may well have the talent to win the Derby on just his third career start. Aidan O’Brien has a typically strong hand as he bids for a record-extending ninth win and his impressive Derby Trial winner Stone Age is a solid alternative, while Changingoftheguard shouldn’t be underestimated, either.

Ruby Walsh: This is a guessers race. If you’re looking at the trials, there’s nothing that’s run out of the Dante so how do you contextualise that form? I was half thinking of coming down on the side of Changingoftheguard but I’ll go with STONE AGE as he got to the line well at Leopardstown. I’m a Derby fan and would gladly watch this race for the spectacle of a horse race.

*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change

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