An Aidan O’Brien onslaught is due in Saturday’s Epsom Derby as the Ballydoyle maestro goes in search of a seventh career success in the world’s premier Classic.
The Irish trainer accounts for seven of the 13 runners, including 11/4 favourite Sir Dragonet, but the value might come down the pecking order – as it has done in the past.
Frankie Dettori gave a masterclass in The Oaks on day one, mugging Ryan Moore late on with Anapurna to deny Pink Dogwood and the veteran Italian ace might just complete the Classic double this weekend.
With O’Brien saddling seven runners, Dettori got the call this week to partner Dee Stakes winner Circus Maximus, seemingly one of the lesser lights in the string behind Sir Dragonet, Broome and Anthony Van Dyck.
Yet there was plenty likely about his effort last time at Chester and his two-year-old form ties in strongly with the likes of 2,000 Guineas winner Magna Grecia. Cheekpieces are tried here for the first time and, while he’s shown a tendency to race quite lazily, Dettori is surely the man to galvanise him for the big one. As we witnessed in The Oaks, there is no better pilot on this grand stage.
O’Brien’s most recent Derby winner came from a rank outsider in Wings Of Eagles and Circus Maximus has the potential to be a key player here under the impressive Dettori.
While O’Brien’s vast team headlines the Irish challenge, don’t overlook Madhmoon running a big race for octogenarian trainer Kevin Prendergast.
He won both starts over a mile at Leopardstown as a two-year-old, including when seeing off Broome, much shorter in the betting for this contest.
He ran on late in the 2,000 Guineas last month at Newmarket, doing his best work after being outpaced at a crucial stage. Certainly, it looked that afternoon on the Rowley Mile as if a step up in trip would bring a bit more from Madhmoon and he could be powering home late on.
Having liked the look of Dante winner Telecaster, it was a bitter blow to find Oisin Murphy’s mount drawn in stall two, a Derby graveyard down the years.
If you like the form of Telecaster then it’s tough not to also give a chance to Bangkok, as Andrew Balding’s colt had the subsequent York winner behind when winning a maiden at Doncaster in April.
Since then he’s won the bet365 Classic Trial at Sandown in good style and has got a positive draw for this biggest of days. He, like Madhmoon and Circus Maximus, is a worthy each-way contender.
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