Derby festival

How City Of Troy has gone from Guineas disaster to short-priced favourite for the Derby

In the build-up to the Qipco 2,000 Guineas, when City Of Troy was expected by some to put up a Frankel-like performance, Aidan O'Brien's star two-year-old from last season was available at 7-4 for the Betfred Derby.

However, he crawled over the line in the Guineas at Newmarket, finishing a tired and beaten horse, some 17 lengths behind the winner Notable Speech. Yet, with just over a week to go till the Epsom Classic, City Of Troy is back where he was, 7-4 favourite for the 1m4f showpiece.

We take a look at how his price has changed over the past year and look at how and why he enters the Derby at such short odds on the back of his lacklustre performance at Newmarket.

Price timeline

June 6 – Enters the Derby market
Best price: 40-1

First installed to the market by Unibet at 40-1. He was cut to 33-1 when declared in a maiden at the Curragh.

July 1 – Racecourse debut
Best price: 20-1

Introduced at a best-priced 20-1 by bet365 after an impressive maiden win at the Curragh at 6-4 over 7f. The 20-1 held for a couple of days before being cut to a best-priced 16-1.

July 15 – Superlative Stakes
Best price: 5-1

After bolting up in scintillating fashion, City Of Troy is cut to a best-price 5-1 with William Hill, with the majority of the other firms going 4-1. Hills held this price for a week before cutting to 4-1.

October 14 – Dewhurst Stakes
Best price: 5-2

Having not been seen for three months, City Of Troy was cut to a best-priced 5-2 (from 4-1) after a comfortable first Group 1 success in the Dewhurst Stakes. He stayed at that best price throughout the winter months, but some firms cut him to as short as 6-4 as focus began to switch to the Flat in March.

May 4 – pre-2,000 Guineas
Best price: 7-4

Aidan O'Brien mapped out his plans for City Of Troy and spoke in glowing terms of the son of Justify in the build-up to the 2,000 Guineas. His price for the Derby shortened further as a consequence, and he was no bigger than 7-4 for the Epsom Classic as he headed to post at Newmarket, with some firms as short as 5-4.

May 4 – post-2,000 Guineas
Best price: 8-1

Bet365 went a standout 8-1 after City Of Troy's laboured run in the 2,000 Guineas. He was a general 7-1 with most firms.

May 9 – Chester May meeting
Best price: 4-1

A few days of Classic trials at Chester failed to yield any standout contenders following Hidden Law's unfortunate fatal injury after his impressive win in the Chester Vase. City Of Troy is shortened to 4-1 as a result.

May 16 – Economics wins the Dante
Best price: 3-1

Economics puts up a huge performance to win the Dante at York, but trainer William Haggas is not keen on the idea of supplementing his son of Night Of Thunder for Epsom, and given how easy he beat the opposition, City Of Troy hardens to 3-1 favourite for the Derby.

May 17 – Arabian Crown ruled out
Best price: 5-2

Another blow for Godolphin and Charlie Appleby as stylish Classic Trial winner and 7-2 shot Arabian Crown is ruled out of the Derby after suffering a setback. Bookies cut City Of Troy to 5-2 (2-1 generally) on the back of the news.

May 23 – Haggas rules Economics out of the Derby
Best price: 2-1

Connections of Economics confirm they will not be supplementing their runaway Dante winner for the Derby. City Of Troy hardens further to a best-priced 2-1 with most firms going 7-4.

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What the bookies say

Matt Hulmes, Betfred
It's not so much the money coming in for him that has shortened his price, it's about what has happened since the trials. With the saga regarding Economics, together with the hard luck Godolphin have had, City Of Troy seems the only viable alternative. It's been a weird old market. Punters have latched on to the fact Aidan O'Brien has bounced back after the Guineas before, having done it with Auguste Rodin last year, while he said this is the horse with the most ability.

Nicola McGeady, Ladbrokes
We have actually pushed City Of Troy out to 2-1 [from 7-4] due to support for his rivals and we are happy to be competitive about him. We are starting to see opposition to the Derby favourite with the likes of Ambiente Friendly coming into 9-2 [from 12-1] since winning his Lingfield trial, while Dancing Gemini and Macduff have also been big movers in recent days.

Paul Binfield, Paddy Power
We’ve seen really steady support for City Of Troy over the last few days and he’s nearly been backed to the exclusion of everything else in the race. Our odds boffins have described it as the 'Auguste Rodin factor' with punters clinging to the champion juvenile because of what Aidan managed to conjure with Auguste last year together with a combination of the trial winners not really capturing punters' imagination in the way that they have in previous seasons.

Betfred Derby (4.30 Epsom, June 1)

Paddy Power: 2 City Of Troy, 9-2 Ambiente Friendly, 13-2 Los Angeles, 12 Ancient Wisdom, Dancing Gemini, 14 Diego Velazquez, Macduff, 16 Bellum Justum, 25 bar

Expert view

By Tom Park, audience editor

City Of Troy has fallen into Derby favouritism as a result of some of the race's key players falling out of the picture. But on the back of his 2,000 Guineas run, I could not back him at 4-1, never mind 7-4.

On his two-year-old form he would have an outstanding chance in what looks a weak Derby, but his Newmarket run screamed of a colt who has not trained on.

His effort on the Rowley Mile seemed too bad to be true, which is why he is the price he is. If he had finished fourth and run his race at Newmarket he would arguably be bigger odds for Epsom.

I am sure there will be plenty of forgiving people out there, and clearly there is given he is 2-1, but I am more than happy to let him win at that price.

I'd rather take a chance on Ancient Wisdom each-way at 14-1, who looked like he needed his run in the Dante.

Ancient Wisdom16:30 Epsom
View Racecard
Jky: Tnr: Charlie Appleby

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Read these next:

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Audience editor

Published on inDerby festival

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