Would it be wise to follow the Crystal Ocean Derby money?
Andrew Scutts, news editor
Slight preference for ‘wise’. The Sir Michael Stoute team know what it takes to win the Dante and Derby, and, let’s face it, not a single horse from any trial anywhere has thrust himself forward as an ignorable Derby-winning prospect.
Churchill remains favourite for good reason, although who knows if he’ll show up at Epsom. Plenty of decent horses have graced Nottingham as youngsters so no-one should get too sniffy about that, while as a son of Sea The Stars he has the pedigree. It’s a question of balancing backing him at 12-1 for the Derby or waiting for the Dante, after which chances are he’ll either be shorter or ruled out entirely. I’d take the 12-1 now.
Graeme Rodway, The Edge
I'm not one to follow the market blind and the support wouldn't affect the way I assess Crystal Ocean's chance, although it's clearly not a negative. He obviously has a bit to find purely on form, but was impressive when winning at Nottingham and the well-beaten runner-up franked the form when winning at that track last week. Crystal Ocean has the potential to make the progress required but, if the money continues to pour in, he's unlikely to offer much value to do so.
Zoe Vicarage, bloodstock reporter
Wise. In a wide-open year where an outstanding Derby candidate has yet to emerge and there's no decision on Churchill's participation, Crystal Ocean is certainly more than capable of staying the trip.
The Rothschild homebred is a son of Derby hero Sea The Stars, who sired last year's scorer Harzand, and his three-parts sister Crystal Capella and half-brother Hillstar, winner of the Grade 1 Canadian International, have both won over the Derby distance. Sir Michael Stoute is no stranger to Derby success and given the manner of this colt's reappearance in April there's certainly plenty of improvement to come from him – 12-1 ahead of the Dante is a price I'd take.
Tony McFadden, reporter
Perhaps most of the value has dried up but I certainly think it would be unwise to try convincing someone not to back a regally-bred, unexposed colt hailing from a leading yard at a double-figure price for a race in which the clear form pick, Churchill, is an uncertain runner and the remainder set a far-from-exacting standard.
Unless Churchill takes his chance, or we see something special in the Dante, whoever wins the Derby will need to have improved significantly on the form they had previously shown. And Crystal Ocean, who is sure to stay and created a fantastic visual impression when winning at Nottingham, has more potential than most.
James Hill, The Edge
It really depends what you think will happen in the Dante as if he were to win that then he could halve in price for Epsom. However it's looking like being a pretty hot event at York on Thursday, one which could take some winning, and for a colt who landed only a Class 5 maiden last time he's clearly got his work cut out.
I wouldn't go near his Derby odds right now. The trainer's a genius at enabling his horses to step up several levels, but he's still got a lot to do just to earn his place in the field next month.