The Derby and The Oaks are two of British racing’s truly great races and, because they demand that three-year-old thoroughbreds run over virgin distances, sometimes they throw up winners and placegetters at long odds.
One way to assess the ability of lightly raced thoroughbreds to run 12 furlongs at Group One level is to analyse their pedigrees dosage profiling. Dosage profiles are a series of five numbers that summarise the aptitudinal contributions from chefs-de-race in the first four generations of a pedigree. From dosage profiles one is able to calculate dosage indices and centres of distribution and it is these numbers that have proven particularly useful in forecasting the winners of classic races such as The Derby and The Oaks.
Australia, the latest colt that Aidan O’Brien has anointed as the best that he has trained, is The Derby favourite at odds of 2.25 with several bookmakers, including 888sport, Paddy Power and Unibet. Australia has won two of his four starts and he was a running-on third in the English 2,000 Guineas over eight furlongs last month. Australia may well win The Derby but he does not represent a value bet given the way that his dosage profile stacks up compared to previous winners and some of his 2014 opponents.
Most recent winners of The Derby have had dosage profiles with upwards of 30 points – Australia’s tally is just 16. Australia’s dosage index of 1.00 and his 0.19 centre of distribution are in line with most recent winners of The Derby and, obviously, O’Brien thinks the world of them so one is not willing to write off his chance. However, one prefers the dosage profile of Australia’s stablemate, Geoffrey Chaucer, and one should remember that O’Brien second string, Ruler Of The World, won last year’s race.
Geoffrey Chaucer‘s dosage profile adds up to 40 points, his dosage index is 0.82 and his centre of distribution is 0.08. Perhaps his dosage index is a little on the low side – one would prefer it to be around the 1.00 mark – but he is the right odds at 9.00 with many bookmakers, including Betfred, Sky Bet and Totesport, to have an each-way flutter against Australia and other less credentialed runners in The Derby.
The Oaks is run over the same trip as The Derby but one day earlier. Marvellous looks set to exit the Epsom stalls as The Oaks favourite, although some bookmakers are leaning towards Taghrooda. When one compares the dosage profiles of Marvellous and Taghrooda with regards to The Oaks, it is the former that appeals more of the two. Marvellous’ dosage profile totals 22 points, her dosage index is 1.22 and her centre of distribution is 0.32. Taghrooda’s dosage profile contains 20 points, her dosage index is 0.74 and her centre of distribution is -0.15. But there is a better option.
Ihtimal is The Oaks fourth favourite at odds of 9.00 with several bookmakers, including BetVictor, Coral and William Hill. Third in the English 1,000 Guineas last month, she has a dosage profile that features 22 points, her dosage index is 1.10 and her centre of distribution is 0.18. She ticks more boxes than any of the other fancied runners in The Oaks, plus her career-best performance was when she won by 10 lengths over 10 lengths so one can expect her to hold or improve her current rating over Epsom’s extra two furlongs.
Dosage profiling is not something that one should use to analyse every thoroughbred race but it comes into its own at this time of the British racing season because it provides the best guide to The Derby and The Oaks guessing games.
Read our Epsom Derby betting guide for more information on the UK’s richest flat race.