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Bookies confident Sea The Stars will start favourite unless there's heavy rain.

Byline: Tony Elves

THE MAJOR bookmaking firms yesterday appeared united in their opinion that Sea The Stars will go off favourite for this afternoon's Investec Derby, with Ladbrokes believing the Stanjames.com 2,000 Guineas winner could go off as short as 2-1 favourite to become the first horse since Nashwan in 1989 to complete the double.

David Williams, Ladbrokes spokesman, said: "We've been rock bottom about Sea The Stars's price ever since the Guineas.

We are very sweet on the horse and think he's a very solid favourite.

"Something extraordinary is going to have to happen for Sea The Stars to be displaced as favourite. Thunderstorms and real lousy weather are the only things that could do that and he could go off at 2-1.

"If there was only one main rival to him from Ballydoyle then that could be different, but the public look like they are going to be divided between their support for Rip Van Winkle or Fame And Glory." Coral have little doubt that John Oxx's colt will head the market, Simon Clare, spokesman for the Barking firm, said: "I think Sea The Stars will go off favourite.

He's the Guineas winner and he will be the focus of a huge amount of public money. The O'Brien team will divide the betting public's support and I can see Sea The Stars going off at around 5-2."

However, should rain arrive then William Hill believe the identity of the favourite will be difficult to predict.

Hills' director of racing David Hood: "I think a lot will depend overnight on the weather and if we don't get rain then Sea The Stars could just edge it as favourite.

"If we get rain then it would be feasible that anyone of Rip Van Winkle, Sea The Stars or Fame And Glory could go off favourite and it wouldn't be a surprise if they went off 3-1 co-favourites."
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Jun 6, 2009
Words:319
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