Richard Hughes will partner Aidan O’Brien’s Mars in the Derby. Crockford asks will the colt provide sweet success for his rider and connections in the Derby?

Mars finished sixth in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket, which was only his second appearance on a racecourse after a facile win at Dundalk last season. Highly regarded and touted the one time Derby favourite  he will have his opportunity to show his true potential on the Epsom Downs this afternoon. With the Classic looking the preserve of foreign raiders Mars looks to be the only real challenger to the unbeaten 2000 Guineas winner Dawn Approach. However, if Dawn Approach can handle the step up in distance the Bolger colt will take all the beating.

Crockford considers the field for the Investec Derby 2013:

Battle Of Marengo – The choice of Joseph O’Brien has to be respected. Winner of his last five starts including the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial Stakes at Leopardstown he will certainly last out the distance. His last win was not the most impressive though.

Chopin – The German challenger may be overlooked by many punters, but at their peril. Purchased by Qatar Racing after his last win in Germany his connections certainly have confidence in a big run. The question is, will the German form translate here?

Dawn Approach – Unbeaten and stylish winner of the 2000 Guineas. He could be set to join recent Irish winners Camelot and Sea The Stars in doing the Classic double. The Bolger colt looks short at odds on prices.

Festive Cheer – Running on when finishing third in a Group Two at Longchamp. Could be useful but other O’Brien stablemates are preferred.

Flying The Flag – This colt will be blazing the pace for the O’Brien team and is worthy of his long odds.

Galileo Rock – This Irish entry finished ahead of Libertarian at Sandown in the Classic Trial but seems outclassed here.

Libertarian – The leading contender out of the three English trained runners. Game winner of the Dante at York but does not look to be the strongest winner of that trial. If things go right for this Mrs Burke horse he may have place claims.

Mars – If he handles the course and shows his true potential he has excellent claims. Touted as a possible winner even before his win at Dundalk. The 2000 Guineas run would have freshened him up and this distance should suit him better. Excellent booking in the shape of Richard Hughes.

Mirsaale – Winner of the Investec Derby Trial at the Epsom Spring Meeting. He clearly handles the course and should not have a problem with the extra two furlongs. Probably outclassed but overpriced at his three figure odds.

Ocean Applause – Hasn’t won in sixteen starts, this maiden will not lose that tag here in the Derby.

Ocovango – Interesting unbeaten French colt who is highly regarded. Andre Fabre has to be respected when he sends one over especially given he could have taken his chance in the French Derby on Sunday. Certainly a contender.

Ruler Of The World – Progressive O’Brien colt. Winner of the Chester Vase and at the Curragh. With Ryan Moore booked he certainly has place claims.

Crockford’s Investec Derby 2013 prediction:




Mars to provide sweet success for O’Brien and a third Classic win for Richard Hughes as Dawn Approach just fails to last home


(Featured Photography – Richard Hughes at Goodwood by Stuart Rice)










Richard Hughes