Punters waging war with Saxon Warrior as favourite goes odds-on
The early signs on Saturday morning are that punters think Saxon Warrior will be crossing the line first shortly after 4.30pm to hand Aidan O'Brien a record-equalling seventh Investec Derby.
Although the son of Deep Impact does need to prove he stays the 1m4f trip, there is a lot of faith in the unbeaten 2,000 Guineas winner, and his price has been shortening accordingly.
Saxon Warrior was available at odds-against on Friday, but those prices have disappeared, and he is now a general 5-6 shot, and the only horse punters want to side with in the Classic.
Paddy Power spokesman Paul Binfield said: "Saxon Warrior is shortening and he's now 5-6 from 10-11 and if I had to predict his starting price I'd go for 4-5. He's going to be extremely hard to beat."
Coral's Dave Stevens told a similar tale, saying: "This year's Investec Derby market was always going to revolve around Saxon Warrior, and having eased the favourite to evens overnight, that proved to be the biggest price available about the Guineas winner this morning, and as a result proved extremely popular.
"We cut his odds to 10-11 originally, and following continued support, made a further cut to 5-6, and there's no doubt the colt will be sent off the first odds-on market leader since Camelot six years ago."
William Hill were the first firm to go 8-11 on Saturday morning and their representative Rupert Adams said: "The rain we were praying for, though I suppose [the bookmakers] were the only ones, never came and it's a complete one-horse book now.
"The biggest bet we've taken today was £24,000 at 5-6 and we've shortened him to 8-11 just to try to turn the tap off. We're 10-1 bar, just to try and get some money for other runners. We'd expect more money near the off, too."
Ladbrokes' Nicola McGeady reported: "It all went quiet during the week, but with the ground drying out punters are coming for Saxon Warrior in a big way and, while we were one of the firms who tried to keep him onside earlier, he'd still be a terrible result for us.
"It doesn't help that the other big runners, like Hazapour and Roaring Lion, are friendless. Young Rascal has been the each-way alternative and he's 7s, the only other runner at single figures."
With Saxon Warrior accounting for the majority of the early action, each-way backers could make hay, with the other 11 runners all available at double-figure prices with various firms.
Young Rascal, who is 7-1 with some bookmakers, is 10-1 with other firms, while Dante winner Roaring Lion is weak and has been allowed to drift to 11-1.