May 24, 2021

Epsom Derby Festival – “The fastest five furlongs in the world”

Another article looking at some of the big British & Irish handicap races in the flat racing calendar. Highlighting some key race trends and possible contenders. Today it’s a race from the Epsom Derby Festival – The Epsom ‘Dash’

Last month’s look at the Chester Cup highlighted this year’s winner the Dermot Weld trained Falcon Eight. Hopefully this one will help you short list horses to be interested in the Epsom Dash.

The first Saturday in June is synonymous with the most famous race in the flat racing calendar the Epsom Derby. The eyes of the racing world will of course be focused on the Derby but there are plenty of other interesting races over the two days of the Epsom Derby Festival. None more so than the cavalry charge known as the Epsom ‘Dash’.

The ‘Dash’ is a handicap for horses aged 3-year-old or older and it’s raced over 5f. Epsom’s 5 furlongs is downhill all the way until the final half furlong. Not surprising then that it’s considered to be fastest 5f in the world.

The current world record for 5 furlongs was set by Stone Of Folca (53.69s) when winning the race in 2012.  Ornate also set a fast time (54:00s) when winning the race in 2019.

You can watch Ornate’s 2019 win in the video below.

Although the Derby took place last year due to problems over field sizes the Dash wasn’t run on the card.  The meeting was also held behind closed doors although with government’s Covid restrictions being lifted this year’s Derby Festival will see a limited number of paying spectators.

Since 1988, three horses have won the race more than once. To The Roof was successful in 1996 & 1999. Whilst Bishop’s Court won the race in 1998 & 2001. In recent seasons Caspian Prince bettered those two sprinters by winning the race on three occasions in 2014, 2016 & 2017. Incredibly all three wins for three different trainers.

Epsom Dash Trends

The big betting race of the three days and an interesting race from a trend’s perspective.  Looking at the 10-year trends on the ever-reliable

The results below contain 10 winners from 186 runners 40 placed.

As the results show we are dealing with a big field of handicap sprinters. An average field size of 19 in the past decade can make the race a difficult puzzle to solve.

Epsom Dash Trainer Records

Northern based trainers have saddled four of the five winners of the race. The leading trainer is Paul Midgley who won the race in 2018 with Tanasoq (12/1) and 2015 with Desert Law (16/1). That year he also trained the runner-up Monsieur Joe.

Besides Paul Midgley another trainer worth noting is Tim Easterby, He saddled the first two home Captain Dunne & Confessional in 2011 and the 4th in 2019.

Three notable trainers with poor recent records in the race are:

Robert Cowell – 0 winners from 11 runners 2 placed

Kevin Ryan – 0 winners from 11 runners 1 placed

Richard Fahey – 0 winners from 7 runners 0 placed.


Let’s begin by looking at the draw by segment.

Digging a bit deeper into those draw stats reveals that the four winners in the first quarter were all drawn in either stall 1 or 2.

If you had backed all horse’s drawn in stall 1 & 2 in the past ten years you would have made a profit of £109 to a £1 level stake and an even bigger profit to Betfair SP (BSP) of +176.94. Backing all qualifiers each way would have netted you £140.

This is an eye catching set of results and those drawn in stalls 1 or 2 must be the first horses you consider.

Horse’s drawn in the middle have markedly underperformed.

Meanwhile those drawn more towards the stand side have produced the greatest number of winners.

Interestingly those drawn closest to the stands rail in stalls 18 to 20 are 1 winner from 26 runners 5 placed. They have also performed 61% below market expectations.

A high draw near to the stand rail in 18 to 20 hasn’t been as useful as you might expect over this fast 5f. Although it’s worth noting 4 winners from 37 runners +32 11 placed have been drawn in stalls 14 to 17.

Advice: Take note horses drawn in stall 1 or 2 or 14 to 17.

Running Styles

In a big field like the ‘Dash’ those held up need plenty of luck in the run to win and despite the normally strong pace it often pays to go with prominent runners over Epsom’s 5f.

With this in mind. I have looked at the last 17 races over Epsom 5f trip.  Horseracebase has a new feature which looks at running styles.

Front runners have an excellent record over the trip and have been profitable to back.

N.B. These results don’t consider whether the race is a handicap or not or field sizes.

Apart from the draw stats what are the other interesting race trends?

Official Rating:

Those runners with an Official Rating (OR) above 97 have the best recent record in the race.

Those with an OR below 97 are:

Nothing really too significant there although the classier handicappers just have the edge.

Last Time Out Placing:

Although those runners who finished in the first four on their last start have only provided 4 winners, they do have a decent win/place strike rate.

Highest Class Run:

Those horse’s that have had a run in Group 1 or Group 2 race have been favoured in recent years.

Runs In The Season:

Race fit runners, those with three plus races that season are always worth a second look.

Last Race Track: Epsom, Goodwood, Haydock, Lingfield & Newmarket Rowley

One of the negative trends is horse’s whose last race was at these five tracks.

In conclusion there aren’t too many strong trends to work with in the Dash but the draw is I think the key one.

Epsom Dash Micro Angle:

For those looking for Epsom Dash micro angle you could probably do worse than look for horse with the following traits.

Those two simple filters have produced 90% of the winners from just 31% of the total runners.

Epsom Dash 2021

Unlike last month’s Chester Cup, race entries haven’t been published at the time of writing and nor have any of the firms put up an ante post market.

I mentioned earlier that any Tim Easterby runners are worth noting. He could have a couple of runners in the race.

Count D'orsay who had ran run well when 2nd of 9 at Chester’s May Meeting couldn’t back that up on better ground at York just 7-days later. He’s better judged on his Chester run and when returning to good to soft/soft ground where his form figures are 1121122.

The other possible Easterby runner is Eeh Bah Gum. The 6-year-old was a ¾ length 4th of 19 in the 2019 race. Last season was a disappointing one and he only posted one piece of worthwhile form when 4th of 13 at Thirsk last September. However, there may have excuses for his poor form as the trainer told the Racing Post. “We had problems with his feet last year”.  He shaped with more encouragement when 7th of 10 at Thirsk on his seasonal return shaping like he would come on for the run. He’s dropped to 15lb below the mark he raced off here in 2019. However, unless he was to win a race before, he will struggle to get into the race off his new mark. Unlike his stablemate he wants quick ground with five of his career wins have come on good or quicker going.

Other possible runners are Glory Fighter who ran well down the unfavoured stands side when 5th of 17 in a Class 2 handicap at York at the Dante Meeting. He seems to be working his way into form and seems at his best over a sharp 5f. Two places behind him in 7th was Jawwaal. The 6-year-old won twice over 5f last season. He travelled powerfully through the York race and only faded inside the final furlong. He’s well suited to good ground and a very strong pace to chase down and it seems like trainer Michael Dods is preparing him for a big pot.

Like most of these big race trend articles. The above figures are based on historic data and whilst history has a good habit of repeating itself, it often doesn’t.

Well, I hope you found this article informative and hopefully it will enable you to find this year’s winner of the Epsom ‘Dash’.

Until next time. 

John Burke

If you like a high strike rate and regular profits join John Burke at his Consistent Profits tipping service – Click Here

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Steve Carter

Steve Carter is the Associate Editor of On Course Profits magazine. He has relied on his betting skills and knowledge for his income for the past 15+ years. He specialises in horse racing and football betting & trading and knows what it takes to make a living from betting. He is always looking for new angles for himself and On Course Profits readers.

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