Sport Horse Racing

Monday 20 November 2017

Bookmakers expecting huge turnover in 'wide-open' Epsom Derby

Frankie Dettori, riding Enable, celebrates winning the Investec Oaks race during Ladies Day of the 2017 Investec Derby Festival at The Jockey Club's Epsom Downs Racecourse at Epsom Racecourse on June 2, 2017 in Epsom, England. (Photo by David M Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for The Jockey Club)
Frankie Dettori, riding Enable, celebrates winning the Investec Oaks race during Ladies Day of the 2017 Investec Derby Festival at The Jockey Club's Epsom Downs Racecourse at Epsom Racecourse on June 2, 2017 in Epsom, England. (Photo by David M Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for The Jockey Club)

Keith Hamer

Bookmakers are anticipating a punter frenzy in the Investec Derby with such an open look to the world famous Classic at Epsom on Saturday.

As much as £20million could be wagered throughout the industry as punters go in search of the winner.

While the always-popular Frankie Dettori and Ryan Moore will ensure plenty of support for their respective mounts, Cracksman and Cliffs Of Moher, it is the massive outsider, Diore Lia, that would be the biggest payout, albeit a highly unlikely one.

"The Derby is the biggest turnover race in the Flat season by some way, so it's a huge day," said Coral spokesman David Stevens.

"It is a wide-open Derby. Nothing stood out in the trials. Having an open look can only be positive in terms of interest in the race. Nothing will frighten punters off and there's no football to clash with the Derby this year, so that's good for the race.

"I cannot genuinely say which horses will be backed. Frankie (Dettori) and John Gosden have just won the Oaks, so that could make Cracksman popular. Equally, as in the past, we could see support for Ballydoyle and Ryan Moore with Cliffs Of Moher.

"I can't say with certainty which of those two will go off favourite.

"This outsider Diore Lia, although she has got no chance, she will be the worst result in the book just because at 500-1 it doesn't take a lot to build up liabilities.

"There has been plenty of coverage about her so there will be fivers and tenners on her. There will be a big red number by her name.

"She would be a big loser, but we're not concerned. Surely she can't win - famous last words.

"Outsiders always get backed which is what made Leicester City such a great story.

"A couple of quid taken on her in every Coral betting shop would add up to a million pounds. It's that great British tradition of supporting the underdog. We do love an underdog.

"Though she is the biggest loser in the book, we will be far more concerned with those towards the head of the betting, particularly Cracksman with Frankie and Cliffs Of Moher and Ryan Moore.

"After the Oaks, I'm not sure who will start favourite."

Ladbrokes have had Cliffs Of Moher and Cracksman as joint-favourites at 4-1 and have an inkling the former, trained by Aidan O'Brien, may end up heading the market.

Ladbrokes' Nicola McGeady said: "Not only is the Derby the biggest betting Flat race of the season, but this year's renewal looks like one of the most open.

"There has been no consistent gamble on one horse at this stage as we continue to lay a spread of runners. However, come the race tomorrow we suspect Cliffs Of Moher will go off favourite."

With the race attracting the largest field since Kris Kin beat 19 rivals in 2003, and no horse dominating the market, bookmakers are as much in the dark as punters are.

"It's promising to be the most open running of the Investec Derby for years with not only a large field going to post but also with no middle-distance colt having really stamped his authority on the season so far," said Michael Shinners, racing PR manager for Sky Bet.

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