A field of 13 is due to go to post in Saturday’s £1.25 million Investec Derby (Eng-I) at Epsom Downs following the final declaration stage June 4.
All the five-day confirmations remain in the premier classic, meaning that trainer Aidan O’Brien will have six of the 13 contenders for the 230th running of the Derby, which takes place at Epsom Downs at 3.45 p.m. local time.
O’Brien is bidding for a third success in the 1 1/2-mile English Derby, following Galileo (2001) and High Chaparral (2002). He saddled eight horses in 2007 and five in 2008. He had four runners in 2003, 2005, and 2006 and three in 1998 and 2002.
Stable jockey Johnny Murtagh is confirmed on board Two Thousand Guineas (Eng-I)-fourth Rip Van Winkle, with Seamus Heffernan riding Fame And Glory, who has followed the same path as Galileo and High Chaparral by winning the Ballysax Stakes and the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial this season.
O’Brien’s team is completed by Dante Stakes (Eng-II) winner Black Bear Island (jockey Ryan Moore), Lingfield Derby Trail (Eng-III) scorer Age Of Aquarius (Pat Smullen) and the first two horses home in the Chester Vase (Eng-III)--Golden Sword (Colm O’Donoghue) and Masterofthehorse (Richard Hughes).
There are eight Irish-trained contenders in total with the John Oxx-trained Sea The Stars (Mick Kinane) bidding to become the first Two Thousand Guineas winner since Nashwan in 1989 to win the English Derby.
Trainer Jim Bolger, who saddled New Approach to win the Derby last year, will run Two Thousand Guineas-third Gan Amhras (Kevin Manning) in this year’s race.
Last season’s group I Racing Post Trophy winner Crowded House, who was ante-post favourite for the Investec Derby through the winter, was given the go-ahead to run on Saturday by his trainer Brian Meehan this week. The Rainbow Quest colt, the mount of Jamie Spencer, is bidding to bounce back from a below par run in the Dante Stakes at York.
William Haggas is the only current trainer with a 100% record in the Investec Derby, having not had a runner since winning with Shaamit in 1996. He will put that record to the test on Saturday with the Neil Callan-ridden South Easter, jointly owned by Bernard Kantor, managing director of sponsor Investec.
Frankie Dettori will ride the Godolphin-owned Kite Wood, who finished a close fifth in the Dante Stakes for trainer Saeed bin Suroor, while last year’s winning owner, Princess Haya of Jordan, will be bidding for more glory via the John Gosden-trained Debussy (Jimmy Fortune), who won the Weatherbys Bank Blue Riband Trial Stakes at Epsom Downs April 22.
The Mick Channon-trained Montaff, who was beaten a neck in the Lingfield Derby Trial, completes the field and will be ridden by Richard Hills.
Channon and Crowded House’s handler Brian Meehan are the only two trainers in this year’s Investec Derby who have not won the race before.
Totesport, the official betting partner of the Investec Derby Festival, has Sea The Stars as the 11/4 favourite for the Investec Derby.
George Primarolo, the totesport spokesman, said today: “Fame And Glory is the 7/2 second favorite despite Ballydoyle stable jockey Johnny Murtagh opting to ride Rip Van Winkle, who is behind his stablemate in the market at 9/2. Last year’s Derby-winning trainer Jim Bolger relies on Guineas third Gan Ahmras who has been well supported in the past few days and is now a 6/1 shot.
“Punters seem to think Fame And Glory and Rip Van Winkle have a similar sort of chance in the Derby and this spread of money should ensure that Sea The Stars holds his position at the head of the market until Saturday at least.”
Investec Derby - totesport bet: 11/4 Sea The Stars, 7/2 Fame And Glory, 9/2 Rip Van Winkle, 6 Gan Amhras, 8 Black Bear Island, 14 Masterofthehorse, 25 Age Of Aquarius, Crowded House, Kite Wood, 33 Golden Sword, South Easter, 40 Montaff, 50 Debussy.
A quarter the odds1-2-3. Non-runner, no bet. All Quoted.
No. Horse Owner Trainer/Jockey
1 AGE OF AQUARIUS (IRE) Sue Magnier, Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith & Eduard Mordukhovitch Aidan O'Brien IRE/Pat Smullen
2 BLACK BEAR ISLAND (IRE) Sue Magnier & Michael Tabor Aidan O'Brien IRE/Ryan Moore
3 CROWDED HOUSE Paul Reddam, Carmen Burrell & Jonathan Harvey Brian Meehan/Jamie Spencer
4 DEBUSSY (IRE) HRH Princess Haya of Jordan John Gosden/Jimmy Fortune
5 FAME AND GLORY Derrick Smith, Sue Magnier & Michael Tabor Aidan O'Brien IRE/Seamus Heffernan
6 GAN AMHRAS (IRE) Jackie Bolger Jim Bolger IRE/Kevin Manning
7 GOLDEN SWORD Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith & Sue Magnier Aidan O'Brien IRE/Colm O’Donoghue
8 KITE WOOD (IRE) Godolphin Saeed bin Suroor/Frankie Dettori
9 MASTEROFTHEHORSE (IRE) Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith &Sue Magnier Aidan O'Brien IRE/Richard Hughes
10 MONTAFF Barry Walters Catering Mick Channon/Richard Hills
11 RIP VAN WINKLE (IRE) Sue Magnier, Michael Tabor & Derrick Smith Aidan O'Brien IRE/Johnny Murtagh
12 SEA THE STARS (IRE) Christopher Tsui John Oxx IRE/Michael Kinane
13 SOUTH EASTER (IRE) Markus Jooste & Bernard Kantor William Haggas/Neil Callan