Welcomes to the official Epsom Derby betting guide! The Derby Festival is one of the most important horse racing betting meetings in British flat racing. The Oaks and the Coronation Cup are the other two Group 1s on the menu but there are a host of other fine races including the 'Dash' which takes place over the fastest five-furlong (1000m) course in the world.
Epsom's undulations – it is downhill for at least half a mile before an uphill finish – make specific demands of a racehorse with good balance vital. The Oaks and the Derby are the third and fourth English Classics of the season with thousands of spectators from London and beyond coming to see the action.
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When is the Epsom Derby Festival in 2020?
What are the main races at the Epsom Derby Festival?
How to watch the Epsom Derby Festival in 2020
Where does the Epsom Derby Festival take place?
How much is Epsom Derby Festival 2020 prize money?
You can ﬁnd Epsom Derby Festival odds at all the best online bookmakers, with betting markets available on the Derby and Oaks as far in advance as the previous season.
More and more races and scenarios are priced up as the meeting approaches, with the handicaps chalked up at the five-day declaration stage, and individual race markets can change dramatically with a stunning performance - or a complete flop, from a likely Epsom Derby contender, especially if he is trained at one of the big yards.
New contenders are added to ante-post markets as we progress through the season, as candidates begin to show their credentials. Take this in to account when plotting your horse racing betting strategy.
Derby horses start attracting ante-post bets in their two-year-old careers with the winner of October's Group 1 Vertem Futurity Trophy (formerly the Racing Post Trophy) at Doncaster almost always becoming favourite for the Epsom classic.
In their three-year-old campaigns, there are numerous trials including the Craven Stakes at Newmarket, the Chester Vase, York's Dante Stakes and the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial at Leopardstown. But the race which most affects betting for the Derby is the first Classic of the year, the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket.
The Guineas winner is often installed as favourite for the Derby but there is a stamina doubt with one mile at Newmarket a very different test from one and a half miles at Epsom.
Betting a long time in advance on the Oaks is less commonplace although the Fillies' Mile at Newmarket is a useful guide from the two-year-old season. Like the 2000 Guineas, the 1000 Guineas is a strong trial for the Oaks although winners have also come from the Pretty Polly held on the same day at Newmarket. The Cheshire Oaks at Chester and York's Musidora Stakes are also sources of recent Oaks victors.
You can bet in-play on all Epsom Derby Festival races on the exchanges. There are a number of betting exchange sites available for punters. Most top bookies also update their prices whilst the race is being run.
There are a number of advantages to betting in-running, for example, a fancy of yours might have a history of breaking slowly from the stalls, so you want to make sure they break on terms before making an investment. Of course, once that happens, that horse’s odds are likely to be significantly shorter.
However, the downside is that often the best odds are available before the start of the race, particularly for outsiders, who will often be huge prices on exchanges pre-race. While they won’t offer in-running race prices, spread betting companies like Sporting Index will allow you to bet in-running on longer-term markets like top jockey and trainer.
Win or Each-Way I It's the most common horse racing bet there is, putting your money on a horse to win the race. But if you're not sure, and the odds are big enough, place an each-way bet: that means you will get a return if the horse wins and if it places. TOP TIP: Look out for Cheltenham betting sites that offer extra places beyond the standard 1, 2, 3.
Placepot I Run by the Tote and now available on at all good horse racing betting sites, the Placepot is the classic 'small-stakes-to-win-big' bet that gives you an interest in almost every race on the card. Read our guide to playing the Placepot.
Lucky 15 I The Lucky 15 is a bet consisting of 15 bets placed on four horses. Within the bet is 4 singles, 6 doubles, 4 trebles, and a four-fold accumulator. You only need one of the horses to win (or place, if you've had an Each-Way Lucky 15) to get a return.
Top Epsom Derby Festival Jockey I This is a popular bet for punters who fancy several mounts of one particular jockey, often from their retained connections, like Ryan Moore who would be on board fancied runners from the powerful Aidan O’Brien yard, who often have a number of challengers in the Derby and Oaks. This market gets updated at the close of play on the Friday evening.
Top Epsom Derby Festival Trainer I This market is normally dominated by big guns like Aidan O’Brien and John Gosden, who would both have some big guns to fire over the two days, although the powerful Newmarket yards like Charlie Appleby and Roger Varian could also have a big say. Mark Johnston and Richard Fahey would be the most likely northern raiders to have a say in this market. Like the top trainer market, prices are updated close of play on the Friday evening.
Friday June 5 – Ladies' Day
Saturday June 6 – Derby Day
"Diarmuid is a published horse racing journalist and creator of the #racehour twitter community which produces a weekly podcast and a home for all things horse racing throughout the flat and jumps season across the UK and Ireland."
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