Epsom Derby Tips: English King profile

English King is favourite for the 2020 Epsom Derby
English King is favourite for the 2020 Epsom Derby

Steve Chambers profiles English King, who was hugely impressive when winning the Lingfield Derby Trial, and is now a warm order for the 2020 Epsom Derby on Saturday July 4...

  • Trainer: Ed Walker
  • Age: 3
  • Owner: Mr B E Neilsen
  • Races: 3
  • Wins: 2
  • Notable Race Wins: Lingfield Derby Trial (2020)
  • Stall: 1
  • Jockey: Frankie Dettori

Career Record

Sent off at 16/1 on debut at Newmarket in October, English King finished a never nearer seventh at Flat HQ over a mile, but it was to be his next outing that suggested the Ed Walker-trained raider could be a decent performer over middle distances. Stepped up to 1m 2f for his next racecourse appearance on the all-weather at Newcastle, English King catapulted himself into the limelight with a comfortable one and three quarter length victory. Travelling smoothly, English King was switched to the rail in the closing stages of the race and quickly picked up for Tom Marquand's urgings and pushed hands and heels to the line, English King broke his maiden tag in impressive fashion.

With the 2020 Flat season delayed due to the Coronavirus pandemic, English King was forced to wait until early June to make his first start as a three-year-old, but Walker set the son of Camelot's heights high as he sent him to Lingfield Park for the Lingfield Derby Trial. A race won 12 months ago by Anthony Van Dyck, who went on to claim Epsom Derby glory, English King was sent off the 9/4 joint-favourite, but he produced a blistering performance to completely outclass his rivals.

Catching the eye throughout the contest, English King breezed to the front and like his Newcastle success it didn't take much from jockey Marquand to push him clear, and showing a fine turn of foot yet again Walker's charge launched himself into the Derby picture with a facile success. News broke last week that Marquand would have to step aside from the plum ride in the Derby, as owner Bjorn Neilsen has chosen to instead use Frankie Dettori in the Derby. Neilsen and Dettori have had a long-standing relationship with Ascot Gold Cup king Stradivarius and Dettori will be aiming to bag his first Derby success since 2015 when Golden Horn was victorious.

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Positives

Smooth Traveller: The uniqueness of Epsom will give English King a new test, but if he can travel like he has throughout his career in the hustle and bustle of a Derby, then he has to be the one they all have to beat. The idiosyncratic camber of Epsom will challenge English King, but he has shaped like he could be a special talent.

Turn Of Foot: As shown in the Lingfield Derby Trial, English King has a marvellous turn of foot, and with stamina assured for the Derby test, if he can first travel with ease then he has to be a major player. If he can then unleash his customary turn of foot as the race hots up, he could well leave his rivals in his wake.

Bred For Derby Success: Back in 2012 the Aidan O'Brien-trained Camelot claimed Derby success, and the former Ballydoyle inmate will be hoping his progeny can shine in the Epsom Classic once again. A son of Camelot, English King has a multitude of ticks in boxes regarding the Derby test, so it's no surprise to see him at the head of the betting.

Negatives

Form: Prior to Anthony Van Dyck's win in the Lingfield Derby Trial, it was often a race crabbed in terms of producing Derby challengers, and there's a nagging doubt that English King didn't beat top-class horses in the 2020 renewal, and while 2000 Guineas hero Kameko lines up with a Group 1 to his name, English King is yet to show he can produce the goods at the highest level.

How will English King fare in the 2020 Epsom Derby?

Hugely impressive at Lingfield, English King is entitled to be a prominent figure in the betting, and while it's harsh to see Tom Marquand jocked off in favour of former Derby-winning jockey Frankie Dettori, the addition of the enigmatic Italian won't hinder his chances. If he can travel as smoothly as he has done previously, and can unleash his sparkling turn of foot then he has to be the standard-setter, and it's hard to not see him competing for the victory.

Verdict: One to beat

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English King silk

English King

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