Derby 2021 runners: whose in the field?

All eyes will be on Epsom on Saturday afternoon as 12 runners head to post for the 2021 Derby. In what looks a hot renewal, we’ve taken a closer look at every runner as they try to hunt down Derby success.


Derby 2021 runners


Adayar – 40/1

Trained by Charlie Appleby, Adayar has finished runner-up in both the Classic Trial at Sandown and the Lingfield Derby Trial.

He stayed on well in both races so undoubtedly has stamina but could well be more of a St Ledger type horse than a Derby one.


Bolshoi Ballet – 5/4

For the first time since 2004, trainer Aidan O’Brien saddles just the one runner in the Derby, and this year he’s represented by the current favourite Bolshoi Ballet.

This son of Galileo has been all the rage for Epsom success since winning both the Ballysax and Derrinstown and he’s now short-odds to give O’Brien a ninth Derby success. Of all the 2021 Derby runners, this is the one to beat.


Gear Up – 50/1

Trained by Mark Johnston, Gear Up won the Group 1 Criterium de Saint-Cloud last season and then was 5th in the Dante at York last month, doing his best work at the finish.

The trip at Epsom should suit and he could well be staying on up the straight when others have cried enough – he looks a huge price based on what he’s shown so far.


Hurricane Lane – 9/1

Another Charlie Appleby runner, Hurricane Lane put down a marker in the Dante at York in May, seeing off some classy horses.

He stayed on well that day so the Derby trip should hold no fears and he looks the best of the UK-based runners – whether he can beat the Irish representatives is another question entirely though.


John Leeper – 15/2

John Leeper is two from two this season including success in the Listed Fairway Stakes at Newmarket last time out.

He has plenty to find on form but Frankie Dettori now takes the ride and connections know what it takes to win a Classic having tasted success with Snow Fairy in the 2010 Oaks. One of the 2021 Derby runners to watch.


Mac Swiney – 8/1

Another Irish raider who arrives here having won the Futurity Stakes and the Irish 2000 Guineas before a below-par effort behind Bolshoi Ballet in the Derrinstown, where he scoped dirty after the race.

Sired by New Approach, who won the Derby in 2008, he looks an excellent each-way bet this year if returning to the best of his form.


Mohaafeth – 7/1

He’s improved with every run so far this season, winning three on the bounce including slamming his rivals in the Newmarket Stakes at the Guineas meeting.

The form of that race might not have been the strongest but Mohaafeth could still have more to offer and will have plenty of fans as he looks to give William Haggas his first Derby winner since Shaamit in 1996.


Mojo Star – 150/1

Trained by Richard Hannon, Mojo Star has shown promise in both his runs to date, placing 2nd in each – including in a hot Newbury Maiden last time out.

He’s bound to win races but it would be a huge shock if he was to taste success in the Derby, and his triple-figure odds tell you all you need to know about his chances. The biggest current price of all the 2021 Derby runners.


One Ruler – 28/1

Charlie Appleby and Godolphin’s third runner in this year’s race, One Ruler won the Autumn Stakes before placing 2nd behind Mac Swiney in the Futurity.

He could only muster 6th in the 2000 Guineas though and with his sire Dubawi only managing 3rd in the 2005 Derby, he has stamina questions to answer.


Southern Lights – 22/1

Trained by Donnacha O’Brien, Southern Lights only has a Maiden win to his name from three starts and was 6th behind Bolshoi Ballet in the Derrinstown.

He struggled for a clear run in that race so should have more to offer but it’s a tough ask to see him winning in this line-up of runners in the 2021 Derby.


Third Realm – 14/1

He returned to action with victory in a Maiden at Nottingham in April before putting in an excellent performance to win the Lingfield Derby Trial last time out.

The undulations at Lingfield seemed to suit so Epsom should as well and with no concerns over ground conditions, he looks primed to run a big race.


Youth Spirit – 40/1

Success in the Chester Vase saw Youth Spirit take a huge step forward in form and he’s certainly entitled to his place in this year’s Derby field.

However, he’s a horse that appears to go better on softer ground – his two runs on quick ground saw him out the places – which is a massive concern with fast ground expected at Epsom.



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