English King & Kameko head 17 entries for 241st Investec Derby

Ante-post favourite English King and QIPCO 2000 Guineas winner Kameko headline 17 entries for the 2020 Investec Derby behind closed doors at Epsom Downs this Saturday, 4 July.

Britain's premier Classic has a total prize fund of £500,000 and will be run at the revised time of 4.55pm to encourage a larger TV audience.

ENGLISH KING winning the Betsafe Derby Trial Stakes at Lingfield Park in Lingfield, England.
ENGLISH KING winning the Betsafe Derby Trial Stakes at Lingfield Park in Lingfield, England. Picture: Mark Cranham/Pool via Getty Images

Bjorn Nielsen's English King  (Ed Walker) is the well-supported 5/2 favourite with Unibet, official betting partner of the Investec Derby, following a classy success in the Listed Derby Trial at Lingfield Park on 5 June. 

Anthony Van Dyck followed up his Lingfield success by winning the premier Classic in 2019, following in the footsteps of High-Rise (1998), Kahyasi (1988), Slip Anchor (1985) and Teenoso (1983), Pathia (1959) and Tulyar (1952), who all won both contests in the post-war period. 

KAMEKO parading on 6th Jun, 2020
KAMEKO parading on 6th Jun, 2020 Picture: Pat Healy Photography

Two-time Investec Derby winning jockey Frankie Dettori will take the ride on English King, a son of 2012 Investec Derby hero Camelot, for the first time. 

Classic winner Kameko (Andrew Balding) has stamina to prove as he races beyond a mile for the first time. A total of 37 horses have won the QIPCO 2000 Guineas and Investec Derby, but only two in the last 30 years - Sea The Stars (2009) and Camelot (2012).

Kameko 's stablemate Khalifa Sat  has no such stamina questions after a game victory over Emissary (Hugo Palmer) in the Listed Cocked Hat Stakes over 11 furlongs at Goodwood on 14 June.

Seven of Ireland's eight contenders hail from the all-conquering stable of Aidan O'Brien, who is seeking a record-breaking eighth Investec Derby victory. 

The Ballydoyle challenge is to be spearheaded by the highly regarded Mogul , who was reportedly badly in the need of the run on his comeback at Royal Ascot, G3 Hampton Court Stakes winner Russian Emperor and Irish 2000 Guineas second Vatican City. 

O'Brien's other likely participants include Mythical, who finished third in the G1 Criterium de Saint-Cloud in October, and Amhran Na Bhfiann, a full-brother to 2012 Investec Oaks winner Was. Prix du Jockey Club possible Armory and impressive Curragh maiden victor Serpentine are also engaged.

Pyledriver put himself in the Investec Derby picture with a decisive victory in the G2 King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot, in which Mohican Heights (David Simcock) and Mogul finished third and fourth respectively.

The scopey son of Harbour Watch began the campaign with a staying-on second behind Berlin Tango in the G3 Classic Trial at Kempton Park on 3 June.

Trainer William Muir said: "We could not have been happier with Pyledriver at Ascot and he has come out of the race really well.

"I said from Ascot that he had to come right back to his best at home [if he is to run at Epsom]. That includes putting weight on and he has done that.

"We thought Pyledriver was a good horse at the beginning of the year, although because of the season and how it has turned out, we are able to have an Investec Derby runner, something which might not have happened in an ordinary year because he would have to have been supplemented.

"Martin [Dwyer, jockey] will have a sit on him again on Tuesday morning, but he will just have a normal routine between now and the race. He is fit and healthy, and we will just keep him right.

"There are one or two very strong horses in the Derby, but he has not done anything wrong. His time was good at Royal Ascot and he has come out of the race well.

"Everybody is excited, and we are really looking forward to it."

Highland Chief  (Paul & Oliver Cole) was also in the winner's enclosure at Royal Ascot, after coming with a swooping run under top-weight to land the Golden Gates Handicap over 10 furlongs.

Britain's champion trainer John Gosden has sent out two Investec Derby winners, most recently Golden Horn in 2015, and the Newmarket handler has entered the once-raced Newbury maiden scorer Worthily. Worthily is a three-parts sibling to Lucarno, who was fourth in the 2007 Derby before going to take the St Leger. 

The 17 entries are completed by G3 Zetland Stakes winner Max Vega (Ralph Beckett) and G1 Irish Derby sixth Gold Maze (Jessica Harrington IRE).

The Investec Derby is part of the QIPCO British Champions Series. 

Unibet issued its latest odds and specials following this morning's entries. 

Unibet's Ed Nicholson said: "It is unusual not to have an Aidan O'Brien horse vying for Investec Derby favouritism in the week before the great race, but this year is an unusual one full stop, and it's Ed Walker's first Derby runner - English King - who heads our market at 5/2.

"English King's Derby price was smashed in the minutes following his impressive Lingfield victory. We immediately went 20/1 (from 50s) as soon as he past the post - but were quickly forced to cut him again to 10/1 and then 8s as punters clamoured to get on.

"Kameko aims to become just the fifth horse in the last 50 years to complete the 2000 Guineas and Investec Derby double, and is currently 4/1 second favourite with a trio of Ballydoyle contenders (Mogul, Russian Emperor & Vatican City) next in at 8/1.

"Aidan O'Brien saddled the 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th & 8th in last year's Investec Derby and you have to go back to 2008 to find the last time he failed to have a horse in the first four. During that time, he has saddled five winners of the race. Unibet offer 9/4 that the mercurial Irishman is responsible for the 2020 winner, while he is 7/2 to win both the Derby and the Oaks - a feat he has accomplished twice already."

Investec Derby - Unibet prices: 5/2 English King; 4/1 Kameko; 7/1 Russian Emperor; 8/1 Mogul, Vatican City; 14/1 Highland Chief; 16/1 Pyledriver, Serpentine; 20/1 Khalifa Sat; 25/1 Armory, Mohican Heights, Worthily; 33/1 Mythical, Emissary; 40/1 Amhran Na Bhfiann; 50/1 Gold Maze, Max Vega

Each-way 1/5 1,2,3

Unibet specials

9/4 Aidan O'Brien to train winner of the 2020 Investec Derby 

7/2 Aidan O'Brien to win both Investec Derby & Investec Oaks

Latest Going

The going at Epsom Downs is currently: Good, Good to Firm in places. 

GoingStick reading 7.6 at 4.00pm today. 

Andrew Cooper, Head of Racing & Clerk of the Course at Epsom Downs, said today: "We are Good, Good to Firm in places today. There is no great surprise in that as we were Good here yesterday but with dry, breezy days ground doesn't stay Good for long at this time of year.

"The GoingStick reading of 7.6 ties in historically with the mix of Good and Good to Firm. The split at the moment when you walk the track would be around 60 per cent Good and 40 per cent Good to Firm. 

"Yesterday, Sunday, was a predominantly dry day with a half-millimetre shower at around midday. In this sort of weather, with temperatures of around 20 degrees Celsius, the track probably dries at a rate of around 2.5 to 3 millimetres of moisture a day.

"With tracks in the south of England, certainly Epsom Downs, we have never been Soft at any time this year, which means that the moisture profile is not as long lasting as it would otherwise have been. We have never been softer than the slow side of Good all year, even when we were watering during the hot spell, and that just means the ground dries a bit quicker than if you had a deeper, moister soil profile. 

"The forecast is looking rather uncertain at the moment. We are speaking to the Met Office twice a day and it is looking likely to be predominantly dry for the next 24 hours. Nothing in the forecast suggests serious volumes of rain. There are bits and pieces of rain around. There is more clarity in the temperature range, which is set to be around 19 to 21 /22 Celsius all week.

"I am very happy with the condition of the track, as I have been for the last couple of weeks. The track had its last feed a fortnight ago and it caught some rain during Royal Ascot week, although not as much as Ascot saw. It has blossomed in line with the timetable for the Investec Derby this year and is good condition. There is no rail movement this year due to all races taking place on the same day and all distances are as advertised.

"We were envisaging 16 to 20 horses would be entered for the Investec Derby as we planned for this year, but we didn't know quite what would happen. It looks a fabulously interesting contest. 

"There is quality at the top end of the entries for the Investec Oaks, with Classic winners. We were expecting less entries for the Oaks than the Derby, but are pleased the quality is there.

"Investec Derby Day for 2020 is a neatly framed card. The Investec Woodcote EBF Stakes will be run under its usual conditions, with the G3 Princess Elizabeth Stakes (Sponsored by Investec) for three-year-olds only this year as it is serving the purpose of the Distaff race that is usually run on Eclipse Day at Sandown Park but is not being run this year. It is a one off for this year, with the Listed Investec Surrey Stakes opened to older horses this year."

The 241st Investec Derby (Group 1)

4.55pm, Epsom Downs, Saturday, 4 July, 2020. 1m 4f 6y. £500,000 Total Prize Fund. 

1) Amhran Na Bhfiann (IRE) (Derrick Smith, Sue Magnier, Michael Tabor) Aidan O'Brien IRE 3-9-00

2) Armory (IRE) (Sue Magnier, Michael Tabor & Derrick Smith) Aidan O'Brien IRE 3-9-00

3) Emissary (Khalid Abdullah) Hugo Palmer 3-9-00 Jim Crowley

4) English King (FR) (Bjorn Nielsen) Ed Walker 3-9-00 Frankie Dettori

5) Gold Maze (The Long Wait Partnership) Jessica Harrington IRE 3-9-00 

6) Highland Chief (IRE) (Fitri Hay) Paul & Oliver Cole 3-9-00 Ben Curtis

7) Kameko (USA) (Qatar Racing Limited) Andrew Balding 3-9-00 Oisin Murphy

8) Khalifa Sat (IRE) (Ahmad Al Shaikh) Andrew Balding 3-9-00 Tom Marquand

9) Max Vega (IRE) (The Pickford Hill Partnership) Ralph Beckett 3-9-00 Harry Bentley

10) Mogul (Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith & Sue Magnier) Aidan O'Brien IRE 3-9-00

11) Mohican Heights (IRE) (Sun Bloodstock SARL) David Simcock 3-9-00 Andrea Atzeni

12) Mythical (FR) (Sue Magnier, Michael Tabor & Derrick Smith) Aidan O'Brien IRE 3-9-00

13) Pyledriver (K & W Bloodstock Limited & Mr R W Devlin) William Muir 3-9-00 Martin Dwyer

14) Russian Emperor (IRE) (Laurie Macri/Sue Magnier et al) Aidan O'Brien IRE 3-9-00 

15) Serpentine (IRE) (Sue Magnier, Michael Tabor & Derrick Smith) Aidan O'Brien IRE 3-9-00 

16) Vatican City (IRE) (Sue Magnier, Michael Tabor & Derrick Smith) Aidan O'Brien IRE 3-9-00 

17) Worthily (USA) (George Strawbridge) John Gosden 3-9-00 Martin Harley

Investec Derby Behind Closed Doors; The Great British Garden Party

This year, the 241st running of the Investec Derby will take place in an unprecedented way. For the first time in its history the world's greatest Flat race will be staged behind closed doors, due to the current COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. There will be no public access to the racecourse, the outer enclosures or to the Hill.

The event will be equally unprecedented in its format, taking place on just one single day, Saturday 4 July 2020. The day will consist of seven races including the historic fillies' classic the G1 Investec Oaks, and the feature race the G1 Investec Derby.

Race fans can still get involved and enjoy the 'fun of the fair' flavour of the Investec Derby at home with (socially distanced) family and friends; the racecourse today has launched a downloadable 'Great British Garden Party' pack including bunting, games and recipe content. 

What is more, the racecourse is looking for the best home setups and will be sharing favourites on the day with the chance to win the incredible prize of a Private Tour around The Jockey Club's sparkling wine partner, Coates and Seely's vineyard, for up to 12 people! Visit https://www.thejockeyclub.co.uk/epsom/events-tickets/epsom-derby/derby-at-home/garden-party-pack-form/ to learn more about this amazing prize and download your pack now.

General Manager of Epsom Downs Racecourse, Simon Durrant said:

"We are delighted that the Investec Derby can go ahead at its unique home course. Indeed, this will be the first time both the Oaks and Derby races take place on the same day, with both set to feature highly competitive fields.

"Whilst we are sad not to be able to welcome the usual thousands of spectators to the racecourse in person, we invite the community and wider audience to get involved via our website and social media channels, and to enjoy the historic event on ITV on Saturday 4th July." 

Councillor Eber Kington, Chairman of Epsom & Ewell Borough Council's Strategy & Resources Committee, said: 

"With the Government's decision to encourage the return of national sporting events we welcome the innovative approach being adopted by the racing industry in order to ensure a safe Investec Derby and associated day of racing in these exceptional times.

"Racing is a part of our borough's proud heritage, but we recognise that, this year, the only way to support and celebrate this day of racing is to enjoy it from home."

Below Epsom Downs Racecourse looks to answer questions about how this unique version of the event will take place and the ways the community and wider public can continue to engage with and enjoy the spectacle that is Investec Derby Day, albeit in an alternative way.


What date is Investec Derby 2020?

Investec Derby Day will take place on a single day in 2020 - Saturday, 4 July. 

What races will take place:

The day will feature seven races including the Investec Oaks and the feature race, the Investec Derby. This is the first time the fillies' classic has ever taken place on the same day as the Derby.

Investec Derby Day race programme:

1.50pm Investec Woodcote EBF Stakes 6f

2.25pm Investec Surrey Stakes (Listed) 7f

3.00pm Investec Handicap 1m 2f

3.40pm Investec Oaks (Group 1) 1m 4f

4.15pm Princess Elizabeth Stakes (sponsored by Investec) (Group 3) 1m 113y

4.55pm The Investec Derby (Group 1) 1m 4f

5.35pm The Investec Zebra Handicap 7f

Who has authorised the meeting to go ahead behind closed doors (BCD)?

The UK Government approved the resumption of elite sport behind closed doors from 1 June, provided a range of important health and safety protocols were adhered to. British Racing had worked collaboratively to prepare for this return and has been staging events since that resumption date, all overseen by the sport's independent governing body, the British Horseracing Authority (BHA).

The Jockey Club, which runs Epsom Downs Racecourse, has worked in conjunction with the BHA, the Epsom & Walton Down Conservators, who govern access to the Downs, and Epsom & Ewell Borough Council to enable the meeting to go ahead at the racecourse without a crowd present, on the rescheduled date of Saturday, 4 July 2020.


For the first time in its history, the event will sadly not be open to the public in response to the government's restrictions on mass gatherings due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the racing will be televised live for all to enjoy on free-to-air television on ITV main channel or subscription channel, Racing TV.

Who is allowed to be at the event?

Only a very limited number of pre-approved key operational staff, equine personnel and the racehorses themselves will be permitted onsite. They will follow the specific requirements as outlined by the BHA and agreed with the Government, including health screening. Social distancing and PPE (personal protective equipment) will be implemented to minimise any risk of transmission of the virus.

Why has it been permitted to go ahead?

Consent for the sport was given by the Government to resume behind closed doors from 1 June 2020. The racecourse has duly satisfied the governing bodies that it can meet all safety requirements in order to go ahead.

The Investec Derby and the Investec Oaks are of vital importance to the sport of horseracing as they form part of the 2020 Classic programme that also includes the 1000/2000 Guineas at Newmarket, which were also postponed and run in June. These races are significant to the entire racing and breeding industries, which support tens of thousands of livelihoods in the UK alone. A racehorse only gets one chance in its lifetime - at the age of three - to race in either the Investec Derby or the Investec Oaks, so it is pleasing this was not lost from the current generation.

Why did the race need to be staged at Epsom Downs?

The Derby Course is unique and running the race at its rightful home provides all horses with the same historic and supreme test of the Thoroughbred that every generation has enjoyed since 1780 - other than during both World Wars.


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