The home of intelligent horse racing discussion
The home of intelligent horse racing discussion

2020 Derby Contenders

The 2020 Derby will be run a month later than its usual first Saturday in June date. The late start to the season has meant that the usual preparation routes for the race have been disrupted and the Derby puzzle, certainly at this stage, looks as difficult to solve as any in recent years. The race is a Blue Riband event for racing followers and those who enjoy a bet may also be interested in

We’ll take a look below at the current leading contenders for the world’s most famous classic.


A full brother to his trainer’s very smart middle distance horse Japan, Ralph Beckett’s classy filly Secret Gesture and the useful Sir Isaac Newton, MOGUL had his reputation dented a  bit when only fourth to KA MEKO in the Vertem Futurity on Newcastle’s artificial surface last November. Prior to that he’d been impressive in winning a Group 2 race at Leopardstown. Mogul is from a top yard with a fantastic Derby record but has a little bit to prove following that disappointing run at Newcastle. It is likely that the O’Brien stable will unearth several other contenders but at the minute Mogul is the market’s idea of their leading contender.


Kameko rounded  off a solid enough two year old campaign by holding off three Aidan O’Brien colts to take the rearranged Vertem Futurity. Priot to that he’d been second to Royal Dornoch in the Royal Lodge at Newmarket. The Futurity win marked him as one of the season’s more talented two year olds.

His classic pretensions were tested at Newmarket in the 2,000 Guineas and he answered them in no uncertain style , seeing off Wichita and Pinatubo. By the same sire, Kitten’s Joy, as his owner’s ill-fated star Roaring Lion, the unanswered question over Kameko is whether he will stay. The one mile Futurity which he took as a two year old is usually a decent guide to staying potential and he lasted well there while also doing his best work in the final furlong at Newmarket so the signs are encouraging. A leading contender.


A full brother to Jim Bolger’s useful Clongowes (stayed a mile and a half) this son of New Approach was unbeaten in both his starts at two, impressing in his second win where he out-battled Al Suhail (same ownership) to win the Group 3 Autumn Stakes.

He raced in the 2000 Guineas on his seasonal debut and came in a respectable fourth. That was a fair effort and there is surely better to come over further so he deserves his place a month the more fancied runners.


No three year old has entered the 2020 season with a more ‘could be anything’ profile than Walkondig. He is a Kingman half brother to Arc winner Waldgeist and the Group 2 winning filly Waldlied and he started to live up to his exalted pedigree with a remarkable 9 length win on his debut at Wolverhampton. The startling visual impression he made that day was confirmed by the clock and he certainly whetted the appetite for what might come.

His dark horse reputation took a severe dent on his reappearance as he trailed in behind stablemate Mishriff in the Newmarket Stakes. Conditions that day may not have played to his strengths and he is surely worth giving another chance to although whether you would do that in a race like the Derby is another matter.


English King won the first of the formal Derby Trials when scooting up in the Lingfield Derby Trial in early June. He was the first of the key contenders to confirm he stays the Derby trip and the manner of his victory was really encouraging for his Epsom supporters.

None of his 9 siblings have been rated higher than 109 on Racing Post ratings (the French Group winner Pacifique being highest) but his sire Camelot has been imparting both speed and stamina to his progeny and with his staying ability already proven English King must be high on the shortlist for the premier classic.


Palace Pier was a short price over the winter for the Guineas but swerved that race to line up at Newcastle. He warmed to the task that day, drawing clear in the final furlong, to add a third win to his unbeaten record, his first two wins coming at two years old.

By Kingman out of a Nayef mare, there is enough stamina in the pedigree to suggest he can stay the Epsom trip although it is not a given. At the moment he is unbeaten, relatively unexposed and while the Derby will be the first time he’s faced a major test, it would be no surprise to see him put in a big run.

One thought on “2020 Derby Contenders”

Comments are closed.