The first Saturday in June is always a special day for horse racing fans. The Derby is traditionally run on this day and in 2022, that means the race will take place on Saturday the 4thof June at Epsom Downs Racecourse. This is the biggest flat race in the United Kingdom and perhaps the world and is sometimes known as the Derby Stakes or Epsom Derby.
A race with an illustrious history
The Derby has a long history, having first been run back in 1780. The name of the race has originated from previous sponsorship by the Earl of Derby and has since been used for other big horse races across the world. The Kentucky Derby, Hong Kong Derby, Australian Derby, and French Derby have all been named after the Epsom Derby, which is the richest horse race in the UK. The Derby is one of the five classics and the middle race of the Triple Crown in British horse racing, preceded by the 2000 Guineas and followed by the St Leger.
Due to the changes in racing and breeding, it has become extremely difficult for the same horse to win the Triple Crown. The demands placed on horses in modern racing mean going for all three takes a monumental effort and the last horse to achieve the feat was Nijinsky in 1970, with the late Lester Piggott as jockey. Camelot was the most recent horse to make a strong attempt at winning the Triple Crown but having won The Derby and the 2000 Guineas, it came second in the St Leger.
Looking ahead to the 2022 Derby and Desert Crown is many peoples favourite to win the race. Desert Crown is the most impressive trial winner in the UK to enter the race. The horse won the Dante Stakes at York by three-and-a-half lengths and is trained by Sir Michael Stoute, who last won The Derby in 2010 with Workforce. Stoute can train winners and Desert Crown has multiple previous victories going into this race, making him the clear favourite with the bookmakers to come out on top.
Is repeat success on the horizon?
Trainer Aidan O’Brien has plenty of recent success in The Derby and will be confident of more of the same in 2022. O’Brien has saddled six of the last ten winners of this race, which is an incredible record and his best hope for the 2022 Derby is Stone Age, who won the major trial at Leopardstown. He has multiple victories this year and has proven he can comfortably succeed over 2,000 meters.
In terms of the betting odds, this is a gap between Desert Crown and Stone Age, making them the clear favourites to battle it out for first place. However, Piz Badile is worth a look, and he is one of the horses in the group behind Desert Crown and Stone Age in the betting. Frankie Dettori will be in the saddle and that immediately makes Piz Badile a contender for the 2022 Derby. Having defeated Buckaroo to win the Ballysax Stakes at Leopardstown, Piz Badile could repeat the feat of Harzand, who won both the Ballysax Stakes and Epsom Derby in 2016.
Changingoftheguard is another potential winner of the 2022 Derby. Aidan O’Brien has produced winners from less fancied runners in recent years and that is what makes Changingoftheguard an interesting proposition. All eyes will be on Stone Age, but Changing of the guard has the potential to win at bigger odds.
The excitement will continue to build ahead of the 2022 Derby, on what is one of the biggest days in the UK horse racing calendar. Will Desert Crown live up to the billing of favourite or can an outsider spring a surprise?