Ken and Sarah Ramsey's Master William, upset winner of the $250,000 Cup and Saucer Stakes at Canada's Woodbine Racecourse last fall, is among 140 horses still being considered for the £1.25 million Vodafone Derby (Eng-I) after the first forfeit stage. The classic will be renewed June 5 at England's Epsom Downs.
Trained by Michael Dickinson, who achieved success as a steeplechase trainer in Europe before relocating to the U. S., where he has gained a solid reputation for training top flat runners, Master William is the sole U. S. 3-year-old still nominated for the Derby. The nominees include 39 from Ireland, 16 Godolphin Racing horses being trained in the United Arab Emirates, seven from France, and three trained in Germany
Aidan O'Brien, who saddled Galileo and High Chaparral to Derby victories in 2001 and 2002, respectively, has 25 entered, including One Cool Cat, a dual Group 1 winner as a 2-year-old, three-time winner Anchor, and Yeats, winner of his only start in a Curragh maiden in September.
The 16 Derby contenders from the Maktoum family's Godolphin stable include stakes winner Snow Ridge and Matloob, a dual winner in 2003.
Other Irish representatives include undefeated Grey Swallow, trained by Dermot Weld, and Azamour, representing John Oxx, who trained 2000 Vodafone Derby winner Sinndar.
The French horses include American Post, winner of the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere and Racing Post Trophy, both group I stakes, and Bago, whose unbeaten run of four juvenile victories included the Criterium International (Fr-I).
Sir Michael Stoute, who trained 2003 Derby winner Kris Kin, has 14 entries, including dual winner Imperial Stride and the Queen's Magnetic Pole.
"The Vodafone Derby represents the ultimate test for the thoroughbred and it's pleasing to see a strong domestic entry joined by contenders from Ireland, France, Germany and the United States all dreaming of victory at Epsom Downs on the first Saturday in June," said Stephen Wallis, managing director at Epsom Downs Racecourse.
For horses not nominated to the Vodafone Derby as yearlings, there is a £8,000 second entry stage on April 7.