Betting Week in Review: The Epsom Derby & England Features
Bookmakers had a profitable Epsom Derby with the first two placings going to outsiders. Operators were also happy with the narrow margin of England’s victory in the football against Romania. A 1-0 scoreline ensured no winners in the multiple goalscorer market.
Adam Kirby Wins With 16/1 Adayar
Britain’s richest flat race, the Derby, took place at Surrey’s Epsom Downs Racecourse on Saturday, and it was a race to remember for bookmakers with Adayar winning. Some lucky punters managed to back the horse earlier in the week @50/1 before a flurry of late betting pushed the odds down to a starting price of 16/1.
Operators were also celebrating Mojo Star claiming second, making the odds of a 1,2 a remarkable 9,3528/1.
For jockey Adam Kirby it was a fairy tale ending to a week filled with disappointment as he had been removed from riding on John Leeper. A much stronger horse on paper, Kirby was “jocked off” and replaced by Frankie Dettori, who has won the Derby on two occasions, in 2007 with Authorized and again in 2015 with Golden Horn. Dettori’s first win in 2007 was his fourteenth attempt to win the prestigious race.
Due to the shuffling of jockeys, The Oaks winner Dettori took John Leeper. Kirby was offered Adayar, replacing Oisin Murphy, who was originally scheduled to ride the three-year-old.
It turned out to be a fortunate turn of events for Kirby as John Leeper never looked in contention to give Dettori his third win. Adayar, by contrast, was never that far off the pace, despite surviving a scare after a slight stumble from the off from stall one. Racing on the inside, he made easy progress and went clear in the final furlong, reaching the post four-and-a-half lengths clear of rank outsider Mojo Star who was priced @50/1.
The best news for bookies was the poor showing of 11/8 favourite Bolshoi Ballet. Trained by Aidan O’Brien, who was searching for a record-breaking 41st British Classic. However, the horse offered very little and came home in seventh place. Although O’Brien said Bolshoi Ballet had run a “lifeless race”, the course’s veterinary officer revealed that the horse had been struck into on his right leg in the early stages of the race.
A punter, among the spectators, said of the race: “Brilliant for Adam Kirby, a fine jockey and a grafter getting his reward for all those dues he’s paid. I think that might go down as one of the worst Derbys in the last 30 years, though, with a maiden in second and a winner that had few obvious pretensions for glory. Not every Derby winner can be a superstar, that’s for sure.”
It isn’t the first time that Kirby has defied the odds. In last year’s Royal Ascot, Kirby triumphed on 150-1 outsider Nando Parrado, the biggest-priced winner in the history of the race. Four years previous, he claimed a Group One double, ridding Profitable and My Dream Boat to success, just 24 hours after the birth of his son. There were other surprises in the two-day meet over Friday and Saturday.
In the Coral ‘Beaten By A Length’ Free Bet Handicap on Friday, Corazon Espinado ridden by Hollie Doyle won @ 12/1, with 11/8f favourite Irish Admiral well beaten into fifth. There was also a surprise in the Coral Coronation Cup, part of the British Champions Series, with Pyledriver @8/1 winning by a neck over 7/4 Fav Al Aasy Saturday’s action was highly profitable for the bookies with plenty of high priced winners. Solent Gateway won the first race of the day, the World Pool At The tote Handicap, while priced @28/1. 15/8f Patient Dream finished in fourth.
Other upsets include Oh This Is Us (18/1) in the Group 3 Cazoo Diomed Stakes. Mokaatil (25/1) in the Heritage Handicap and Midnights Legacy (12/1) in the Northern Dancer Handicap.
Punters finally got a break in the last race of the day when 3/1f Ejtilaab, ridden by David Egan, took the Cazoo Handicap. The five-year-old won the race by a neck over 25/1 shot Muscika, trained by D O’Meara and ridden by S De Sousa.
Experimental England Scrape Romania Win
The Euros start this Friday, and England continued their preparations for the tournament by playing a friendly against Romania at Middlesbrough’s Riverside Stadium. It was a chance for Gareth Southgate to play an experimental side with one eye on who would replace injured Trent Alexander-Arnold in the England squad for the competition. Romania is ranked 43rd in FIFA world rankings and @308/25; the bookmakers felt there was little chance that the eastern Europeans would trouble England, who were priced @21/100 to win.
In the game itself, it was England that was the more attacking side. Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Jadon Sancho both hit the woodwork before captain Marcus Rashford converted from the spot in the 68th minute. Tiberiu Capusa fouled the ever-dangerous Jack Grealish in the box, allowing 23-year-old Rashford to score his 77th career goal.
England almost paid the price for not making the most of their chances shortly after. Sam Johnstone, who plays for West Bromwich Albion, made a fantastic reaction save from Andre Ivan to make an impression on his first appearance for the national team.
The Three Lions should have made it 2-0. However, Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson saw his penalty saved late on after a spot-kick was awarded after Vlad Chiriches fouled Calvert-Lewin. Henderson was introduced at half-time, his first game since February, due to surgery on a groin injury. Henderson appeared to pull rank on Calvert-Lewin, who was ready to take the kick, a poor decision as the Liverpool captain hit a tame penalty that Florin Nita easily saved in the Romanian goal.
Although England won the game 1-0, it was a rather underwhelming performance, but probably understandable. The Chelsea and Manchester City players were still absent from the squad after participating in the Champions League final. In addition, the Premier League’s Golden Boot winner and top assist provider, Harry Kane, was on the bench but did not get onto the pitch.
This morning Gareth Southgate announced that Ben White would replace Trent Alexander-Arnold in the squad. It wouldn’t have been a surprise if Manchester United’s Jesse Lingard had made the squad thanks to some great performances at West Ham, where he was on loan last season, but with Harry Maguire still a doubt, the England manager went with White, who plays at centre-back.
England’s first game in the Euros is on Sunday; they face Croatia at Wembley, and Southgate is likely to field a much stronger side than the one that he fielded against Romania. The bookies have England as second-favourites to win the competition @ 5/1, just behind France @ 9/2.
We will be previewing all the games for Euro 2020, sharing our betting tips for the matches, so make sure you bookmark the page and check back often.