Permian looks the value call in a wide-open renewal of the Investec Derby at Epsom.
Mark Johnston’s colt might not be your orthodox contender for the world’s most famous Flat race, but there is no doubt he has plenty going for him.
The son of Teofilo won three times from six starts as a juvenile, but looked to have his limitations exposed at the back-end of the season and after suffering defeat in a Bath handicap on his three-year-old debut, he hardly looked like a legitimate Derby hope.
However, he has made giant strides forward since, with his narrow defeat to Cracksman at this track in April followed by a dominant win at Newmarket and victory in the Dante Stakes, which has long been considered Britain’s best Derby trial. Permian might not have the X-factor of some of his opponents, but what he does have is bags of experience, which could prove crucial in this big field.
His Dante success just about sets the standard and while the likes of Cracksman, Cliffs Of Moher and Eminent could improve past him, Permian is a solid bet to place at least at double-figure odds.
John Gosden, meanwhile, is more hopeful than confident about the chances of Cracksman providing him with a third Investec Derby success at Epsom on Saturday.
It is 20 years since the Clarehaven maestro broke his Derby duck with Benny The Dip and he added to his tally with the brilliant Golden Horn in 2015. Like Golden Horn, the unbeaten Cracksman carries the colours of owner-breeder Anthony Oppenheimer, but Gosden said: “I think it’s a terribly open race. When Golden Horn came here he was a legitimate favourite. The only thing that was going to beat him was the trip but he saw it out well.
“We like this horse a lot but he is a different type altogether to Golden Horn.”
Aidan O’Brien’s hopes lie with Cliffs Of Moher.
The Galileo colt, who slammed talented stablemate Orderofthegarter on his final juvenile appearance at Leopardstown and warmed up for Epsom with victory in the Dee Stakes at Chester, is the chosen mount of dual Derby-winning jockey Ryan Moore.