Horse racing Aidan O'Brien

Less than a dozen likely to face Warrior in The Derby

1 year ago

Following Monday’s five-day declaration stage 14 horses have stood their ground for Saturday’s Group 1 Investec Derby at Epsom, no less than seven of them trained by Aidan O’Brien whose Saxon Warrior is 8/11 favourite with Bet365.

O’Brien (pictured above) has won the most famous Classic of them all a remarkable four times in the last six years, including 12 months ago when his 40/1 shot Wings of Eagles collared his better fancied stable companion Cliffs of Moher to land a shock victory. The master trainer was out of luck in the Irish 1000 and 2000 Guineas last weekend but holds a very strong Derby hand with brilliant Qipco 2000 Guineas winner Saxon Warrior looking hard to oppose having always given the impression he would be more of a middle-distance horse than a miler.

O’Brien’s other entries include likely starters Delano Roosevelt (14/1 with Boylesports) and The Pentagon, while he has also left Nelson, Rostropovich, Kew Gardens and Zabriskie in the race, giving himself and his owners until the final declaration stage on Thursday morning to come to a decision on which horses will take their chance at Epsom.

Against the Balldoyle battalion John Gosden’s Roaring Lion (6/1 with William Hill) is the biggest hope for British-based trainers having impressed when landing the Group 2 Dante Stakes at York by a wide margin (see video below). He may well be joined by stable companion Sevenna Star, winner of the Classic Trial at Sandown.

Group 3 Chester Vase winner Young Rascal (12/1 with 188Bet), trained by William Haggas, has also been given the green light and James Doyle has been confirmed as his big-race jockey. Godolphin’s Masar (16/1 with 10Bet), third in the 2000 Guineas, will represent Charlie Appleby, while Mark Johnston’s tough Dee Ex Bee, runner-up to Young Rascal at Chester, is also expected to head to post.

The field is currently completed by Dermot Weld’s very progressive Group 3 Derrinstown Stud Stakes winner Hazapour (14/1 with Paddy Power), the mount of Frankie Dettori, and Harry Dunlop’s Lingfield Derby Trial winner Knight To Behold.

Paul Alster

Written by Paul Alster

Paul Alster has been part of the British and international racing media for more than three decades working as a race commentator, TV/radio presenter, journalist, betting correspondent, SP returner, and form analyst. He’s always sought out overpriced runners in handicap races, a quest that excites him as much now as it did at the start of his career.