Epsom Derby Festival | Pressure mounts on City of Troy

Horse racing, City of Troy

As Derby Weekend at Epsom approaches, all eyes are on the Betfred Derby and City of Troy.

The second classic of season, the pressure is on Aidan O’Brien’s colt after a no-show as red-hot favourite in the Qipco 2000 Guineas earlier this month.

From fluffing his lines at Newmarket, can the 3yo return to winning ways on the Downs?


Guineas no-show

What quite went wrong with City of Troy in the 2000 Guineas, remains a mystery.

For a Newmarket pro, a performance so lacking in prowess left both punters and pundits alike shrugging their shoulders.

On Guineas Day is Suffolk, City of Troy was a little more sweaty in the parade ring, and ultimately things were just not ‘right’ on the Rowley Mile.

So this weekend, the question will again be poised whether he can handle the pressure.


Challengers poised

City of Troy is under the pump this weekend, pressure made no easier by stablemate, Los Angeles.

And he could very well be the Trojan horse to Troy.

Unbeaten in three, AP O’Brien’s second of six entries has been nibbled away in the markets and could go off close to, if not jf.

Making his UK debut, like Troy, the son of Camelot has won on differing ground to date.

Not only that, Los Angeles has travelled 2f further than Troy in all career races, and just a further 2f less than the Derby trip.

Meanwhile, Godolphin seek a third Derby winner in Ancient Wisdom, but perhaps, Ambiente Friendly, is the form horse of the bunch.

Bolting up to win the Derby Trial Stakes at Lingfield a few weeks back, trainer James Fanshawe has big hopes.

Ambiente Friendly needs too find another half furlong, but his chances look strong.

He may just however, be let down by the juicier ground.


Long punts

Below the top four in the market, there is some decent value to be had.

Not least in Bellum Justum, who comes here seeking a third win on the spin.

Trainer Andrew Balding has won two classics to date but not since the 2003 Oaks with Casual Look.

Yet, his chances look healthy here at a lofty price, after taking victory in the Blue Riband Trial on the Downs last month.

Bellum Justum looks a decent shout at 25/1 with William Hill.

Meanwhile, Dallas Star looks an even bigger punt, but has won two of the last three.

Coming here with a win in the Ballysax Stakes, the ground won’t be quite as heavy as to his liking.

However, if the going remains soft enough at Epsom, he can fall back on his Stayers’ Novice Stakes win over 1m on soft at Bath last October.

There is no reason Dallas cannot be the Star at Epsom, at a monster punt of 40/1 with 888sport.


The 2024 Betfred Derby takes place on Saturday 1 June at 4:30pm UK time.

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