(Edited press release)
The 2007 Vodafone Derby (Eng-I) has 165 horses standing their ground after the first forfeit stage for England's premier classic (as against 136 last year), which will take place at Epsom Downs June 2.
There are 55 Irish-trained horses remaining (27 more than last year), alongside six from France and one from Italy in Europe's richest race, worth £1,250,000 (about $2,447,945).
European champion juvenile Teofilo heads the list of possible runners. Jim Bolger’s charge ended a spectacular 2-year-old campaign last year when unbeaten in five starts, including twice at the highest level.
The Galileo colt saw off the Aidan O’Brien-trained Holy Roman Emperor to capture both of his group I successes, with the pair engaging in a thrilling duel for the Darley Dewhurst Stakes (Eng-I) at Newmarket, in which Teofilo rallied to deny the late flourish of his rival by a head.
With Holy Roman Emperor recently retired to stud, O’Brien has 38 entries going forward, the largest numerical representation of any trainer.
Ireland’s champion trainer has won the Vodafone Derby twice, with Galileo (2001) and High Chaparral (2002), and his strong hand includes Motivator’s brother Macarthur, an easy winner of a Navan maiden, group I Criterium International victor Mount Nelson, and group II winners Admiralofthefleet and Eagle Mountain.
Peter Chapple-Hyam tasted Vodafone Derby glory with Dr Devious in 1992, and the trainer has Racing Post Trophy stakes (Eng-I) winner Authorized still engaged.
Saeed bin Suroor sent out Lammtarra to win the 1995 Vodafone Derby for Saeed Maktoum Al Maktoum, and the Godolphin trainer has 13 horses still engaged, headed by group I-placed Empire Day and Strobilus.
Godolphin’s contingent also includes Nottingham maiden winner Eastern Anthem, who is by Singspielout of Godolphin’s 2002 Vodafone Oaks (Eng-I) winner Kazzia, as well as UAE 2,000 Guineas third Rallying Cry and easy maiden winners Mofarij, Mariotto, and Truly Royal.
Marcus Tregoning experienced Vodafone Derby success last year with Sir Percy, and this time the Berkshire-based trainer has Lingfield maiden winner Aajel, from the family of 1989 Vodafone Derby hero Nashwan, and Aqaleem. Both colts are owned by Hamdan Al Maktoum, whose colors have been carried to success by Nashwan (1989) and Erhaab (1994), and who has seven horses remaining in the Epsom Downs Classic.
The Maktoum family combined (Godolphin, Sheikh Mohammed, Sheikh Ahmed, Sheikh Hamdan, Gainsborough, and Princess Haya) account for 35 of the remaining entries.
Sir Michael Stoute’s four Vodafone Derby winners are Shergar (1981), Shahrastani (1986), Kris Kin (2003), and North Light(2004), and he will be looking to make it five with one of his dozen hopefuls: Adagio, Al Shemali, Ladies Best, Lang Shining, and Aladdin’s Cave
Henry Cecil, successful in the Vodafone Derby with Slip Anchor (1985), Reference Point (1987), Commander In Chief (1993), and Oath (1999), has the Niarchos family-owned Ajaan, winner of a Windsor maiden and a half-brother to last year’s runner-up Dragon Dancer, along with Many Volumes, who is out of 1997 Vodafone Oaks winner Reams Of Verse.
Strategic Prince was a leading juvenile last season with a brace of group II wins. The colt is one of two entries for Paul Cole, who is chasing his second Vodafone Derby success after Generous’ 1991 triumph.
John Oxx and the Aga Khan teamed up for Vodafone Derby glory in 2000 with Sinndar, and the pair could join forces again with placed runner Mourilyan and the unraced Alarazi. The Aga Khan, the most successful current owner in the Vodafone Derby with four victories, has a total of four horses remaining.
Other Derby-winning trainers with potential runners include William Haggas (1996 Shaamit), who has Eco Centrism and Della Cruscan engaged, while John Dunlop (1978 Shirley Heights, 1994 Erhaab) has Chepstow maiden winner Mutadarrej in the race, and Geoff Wragg (1983 Teenoso) relies on The Carlton Cannes.
Quest For Fame provided Roger Charlton with Vodafone Derby success in 1990, and the trainer is represented by the unbeaten Proponent, while John Gosden, who enjoyed Derby success with Benny The Dip in 1997, has 10 remaining entries headed by Sunshine Kid.
Michael Bell captured the Vodafone Derby with Motivator in 2005, and the trainer is well represented at this stage with six potential contenders, including Goffs Million runner-up Regime and Nottingham maiden winner Metaphoric.
There are two further opportunities for horses to be added to the Vodafone Derby field.
There is an £8,000 second entry stage April 4, before the second forfeit stage May 18, and a £75,000 supplementary entry stage May 28. The confirmation stage is also May 28, and the final declaration deadline is May 31.