Connect with us

Horse Racing

Epsom Derby 2024: When is today’s race, how to watch it on TV and the odds



In the modern era, when the big trainers have 250-plus horses, small yards with fewer than 50 horses winning the Derby are a rarity; in the past half century maybe only Peter Chapple-Hyam, twice, has achieved it.

But today Roger Teal, who trains 45 horses in Lambourn, is set to play David against training’s behemoth Goliaths when he saddles Dancing Gemini in the Epsom Classic. Aidan O’Brien probably set out for this Derby with that many entries.

This is not, however, some no hoper tilting at windmills. The colt, who was giving Teal butterflies before he made his debut a year ago, arguably has the best three-year-old form of any horse in the race having finished staying-on second in the Group One French 2,000 Guineas on his last start.

Teal, who turned 57 this week and shares a birthday with Dancing Gemini’s owner-breeder David Fish, has always punched above his weight; Tip Two Win was second in a 2,000 Guineas and his sprinter Oxted, who is still in the yard, has won the Group One July Cup and King’s Stand Stakes.

“I don’t know if I feel out of place when I look at the names (of the other trainers) on the list but you could start doubting yourself and asking yourself whether you should be there,” he says. “But I said to my wife, Sue, ‘can we win the Derby?’ And she replied ‘Why not?’ Everyone wants to train a horse like this, it’s just they don’t come along very often in a stable our size.”

Having finished second in a Classic over a mile there are those questioning whether Dancing Gemini is showing too much speed to truly get a mile and a half but as Teal points out, his sire Camelot won a Guineas and a Derby and was only just beaten in a St Leger and there is no shortage of stamina on the dam’s side.

“A Derby winner has to have a turn of foot, it doesn’t get won by plodders,” he says. “He acts on soft ground but if it continues to rain it might test his stamina a bit more. If he stays relaxed, like he normally is, I think he’ll get it.”

When he worked as an amateur rider for Philip Mitchell, who was based at Epsom’s Downs House a quarter of a mile from the Derby start, he saw plenty of horses going past which had become revved up by the occasion.

“We’d lean over the rails two furlongs after the start, watch them go past and then run inside to watch the rest of the race on television in the house,” he recalls.

Having ridden in the amateur Derby there, ironically he has more experience of riding the course than Dancing Gemini’s jockey Dylan Browne Monagle, one of the rising stars of Irish racing, though Teal does not see it as a problem. “He’s very talented and he has a lot of confidence which I like,” he says.

Having started training in 2007, the last four which have been at Windsor House, one of Lambourn’s luckiest yards if you believe in that sort of stuff, the man who learned to ride playing the Lone Ranger on his Shetland pony, is happy he has done all he can in preparing Dancing Gemini. That included taking him for a spin round the course last week.

His biggest worry would be that his colt gets knocked over by one of the inexperienced horses that, despite the openness of the race, probably should not be there. But winning? He dare not even think about winning.

“I’ll start worrying about that if it happens,” he says. But, it is a fair assumption that if he does, besides the horse there will be at least two other dancing geminis.

Continue Reading