Dawn Approach Favorite Among Derby Dozen
Unbeaten Dawn Approach will have 11 challengers as the favorite for the 234th Investec Epsom Derby (Eng-I) June 1.
Trained by Jim Bolger, who co-owns the Irish-bred New Approach colt with Godolphin Racing, Dawn Approach will bid to add a second jewel of the English Triple Crown to his record following his win in the first event, the QIPCO Two Thousand Guineas (Eng-I), May 4 at Newmarket.
The even-money favorite with bookmaker Coral, Dawn Approach is undefeated in seven career outings, including two wins at the group I level as a 2-year-old. In his first start of 2013, his brilliant five-length triumph in the one-mile Guineas over previously undefeated Toronado ensured favoritism for the 1 1/2-mile Derby.
Last year, Camelot won the first two English classics as well as the Irish Derby (Ire-I) for trainer Aidan O'Brien before finishing a heartbreaking second in the final jewel, the St. Leger (Eng-I), while seeking to become the first Triple Crown winner since Nijinsky II in 1970.
O'Brien sends out five this year, including a pair of Galileo colts in group winners Battle of Marengo (5-1) and Ruler of The World (8-1), and maiden winner Mars (14-1) but withdrew Irish Two Thousand Guineas (Ire-I) winner Magician.
Andreas Wohler-trained Chopin, (10-1) who was supplemented to Derby at a cost of £75,000 May 27, will become the first German-trained horse to start in the classic.
The Santiago colt was purchased by Qatar Racing after his easy eight-length romp in a group II race at Krefeld April 21.
Qatar Racing enjoyed a breakthrough classic win with Just The Judge in the Irish One Thousand Guineas (Ire-I) May 26 and recently acquired a half-interest Secret Gesture, the favorite in the Investec Epsom Oaks (Eng-I) May 31.
Sheikh Fahad, who partners with his brothers brothers Sheikh Suhaim and Sheikh Hamad in Qatar Racing, told the Gloucestershire Echo he thinks Chopin will be competitive in the Derby.
"The horse has a proper chance of finishing in the first four although it's a different thing to say that he could win," he said.
"The Derby is the number one race in the world, the race you want to have a runner in."
No woman has ever trained a Derby winner, and trainer Elaine Burke will become only the seventh woman ever to have a runner in the race when she sends out English-bred Libertarian (16-1), also by Bolger's 2008 Derby winner New Approach.
Libertarian was a 33-1 upset winner of the Betfred Dante Stakes (Eng-II), a Derby prep, May 16 at York, scoring by 1 1/4 lengths after snatching the lead in the last 100 yards and staying on strongly. He has two wins from three starts.
Ocovango (15-2) would be the 11th French-trained runner to capture the Derby. Conditioned by Andre Fabre, the Monsun colt won the Prix Greffulhe (Fr-II) May 4 at Saint-Cloud for his third win in as many career starts.
John Ryan-trained Ocean Applause, winless in 16 career outings, is a 500-1 shot. A win would make the Royal Applause colt the longest-priced winner in the history of the race.
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