The Kentucky Derby is on the horizon as trainers are fine-tuning their preparations for the event at the Churchill Downs. Always Dreaming secured the win last season with a fine run for trainer Todd Pletcher, delivering a second win at the race for the Texan.

There are a number of strong competitors vying for the crown this term. Justify, Magnum Moon and Bolt D’Oro all have the credentials to triumph but it will still take a brilliant performance to get over the line. The three horses are among the leading contenders, although the meet does not always go to form, therefore, it’s worth monitoring the best horse racing tips online before delving into a punt. We’ll now break down the trio’s form ahead of the meet to see whether they are worthy candidates.

Justify

Source: TheTDN via Twitter

The horse does not have a great deal of experience heading into the contest, although he has known nothing other than victory in his career. All three of his races have come in 2018, beginning at the Maiden Special Weight at Santa Anita. Bob Baffert’s charge delivered a dominant performance to claim the victory by nine-and-a-half lengths, highlighting his potential.

He was the overwhelming favourite for his next outing at Santa Anita and was once again on form to claim the victory with relative ease. The three-year-old was tested in the Santa Anita Derby with Bolt D’Oro in the field but, once again, he had no issue rising to the occasion. He found the speed down the stretch to beat out his three lengths. Justify’s lack of experience outside of Santa Anita could be an issue, although he has the talent to overcome that problem.

Bolt D’Oro

The bay colt looked the strongest contender at the end of last season for a charge at the event, although the emergence of Justify has given him stiff competition. He recorded a victory on his debut at Del Mar with ease and then followed up with another triumph, this time by a closer margin in the Del Mar Futurity, edging out Zatter by three-quarters of a length.

Mike Ruis’ charge put forward a dominant performance in the FrontRunner Stakes, defeating Solomini with ease. However, his winning streak was ended in his final race of 2017, finishing third at the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. At the start of the new term, he had finished behind Mckinzie by a head, only for his rival to be disqualified in the San Felipe Stakes. The pace of Justify beat him out in the Santa Anita Derby, stressing the need for a flawless outing at the Churchill Downs.

Magnum Moon

Source: Thoroinsider via Twitter

The horse is Pletcher’s best shot at back-to-back crowns at the Kentucky Derby. He has form on his side, winning all three races thus far in the campaign. Magnum Moon made his debut at Tampa Bay Downs in February and was the overwhelming favourite for the win. He delivered with a composed finish to claim a two-length victory without having to break out of first gear.

Pletcher’s charge announced himself on the big stage with a brilliant performance at the Rebel Stakes, defeating Solomini with a surge down the stretch at Oaklawn Park. With Luis Saez in the saddle, Magnum Moon was on form once again in the Arkansas Derby, finishing four lengths ahead of his nearest rival. Pletcher has a strong chance to reel off successive wins at the event.