Three-time Derby-winning former jockey Johnny Murtagh expects Saxon Warrior to overcome a seemingly unfavourable draw and claim victory in the Epsom showpiece on Saturday.
Murtagh won the premier Classic aboard Sinndar (2000), High Chaparral (2002) and Motivator (2005), so is better qualified than most to assess what it takes to win the race.
Aidan O’Brien’s Saxon Warrior is all the rage to follow up his 2000 Guineas triumph and set up a potential bid for Triple Crown glory in the St Leger at Doncaster, but was eased in the Derby betting after being handed stall one of 12.
Just three horses have won from the inside draw since starting stalls were introduced in 1967, those being Blakeney (1967), Roberto (1972) and Oath (1999).
But Murtagh, who is now a trainer, expects Saxon Warrior’s class to shine through.
He told Press Association Sport: “It’s a small field, I don’t think it will be a problem.
“There are 12 runners, he’s the outstanding horse in the race and I think he’ll be very hard to beat.”
Mick Kinane also won the Derby on three occasions, aboard Commander In Chief (1993), Galileo (2001) and Sea The Stars (2009).
He, too, does not think Saxon Warrior’s draw will be a major factor.
“There aren’t many runners and Aidan has five. I’m sure they’ll make sure there’s plenty of pace and he gets the gaps,” he said.
“I wouldn’t have thought the draw would be too much of a concern. It’s more about the calibre of the horse and he looks to have very strong credentials, obviously.
“He was an impressive winner of the Guineas. The ground being on the slow side of good might be a slight concern, but it’s the same for them all.
“I would say John Gosden’s horse (Roaring Lion) is a creditable challenger. There isn’t much between them on ratings and he appears to be improving with racing.”