February 4, 2023

111 remaining in Epsom Derby

Last updated: 3/7/13 12:31 PM


The countdown to the Group 1 Derby at Epsom got underway Thursday with the
announcement of the 111 three-year-olds going forward following this week’s
scratchings stage. The 234th running of the Derby, the most valuable race staged
in Britain with a prize fund of £1.325 million, takes place at Epsom Downs on
June 1, and a fantastic renewal looks assured.

Those remaining in the race were all entered as yearlings in December of
2011. There is a second £8,000 entry stage on April 9 and a final £75,000
supplementary entry stage on May 27, five days before the great race.

Ireland’s champion trainer Aidan O’Brien has his customary strong hand with
35 entries looking to add to the success of the brilliant Camelot in 2012.

Kingsbarns, like Camelot the winner of the Group 1 Racing Post Trophy at
Doncaster as a two-year-old, is among the powerful O’Brien entry and is
currently 4-1 favorite with bookmaker Coral.

The highly-touted Mars, runaway winner of a Dundalk maiden on his only start
in July, is another O’Brien entry (priced at 10-1), along with Group 1 Phoenix
Stakes scorer Pedro the Great, Group 2 Beresford Stakes winner Battle of
Marengo and The United States, successful in a Curragh maiden on his only
outing.

While O’Brien has won the Derby three times (he was also successful with
Galileo — sire of Kingsbarns — in 2001 and High Chaparral in 2002), three-time
champion British Flat trainer Richard Hannon has not yet made a big impact in
the Epsom classic during a career spanning more than 40 years.

But Hannon is hoping that the unbeaten Toronado, winner of three races last
year culminating in the Group 2 Champagne Stakes at Doncaster in September, may
be able to put that record straight on June 1.

“We will be looking at the Derby for Toronado after he has run in one of the
Guineas, but we have not decided which one he will go for at the moment,” said
Richard Hannon Jr., assistant to his father.

“He is in great form and he has done very well over the winter so we are very
pleased with him. We always thought he would make a lovely three-year-old.

“We have always liked him from the time he went and won his maiden at Newbury
and he continued to improve all year. In a couple of races last year, they did
not go very fast early and he probably did not look as good as he could have
done.

“It’s exciting for the team as we have not had many Derby runners and we are
looking forward to it.”

Hannon Sr. has had nine runners in the Derby, the first of them in 1973, and
his best placing so far has been sixth with Gran Alba in 1989. Toronado is
priced at 14-1 by Coral to improve on that record.

Sir Alex Ferguson is part of Highclere Thoroughbred Racing’s Wavertree
syndicate that owns 12-1 chance Telescope, who was saddled by Sir Michael Stoute
to win a Newmarket maiden impressively in September, while the Manchester United
manager  is also one of the owners of The Welsh Wizard, trained by Charlie
Hills, who finished runner-up in a Wolverhampton maiden last week on his only
start.

Newmarket trainer Sir Henry Cecil, successful in the Derby four times, has
three entries, including Lingfield maiden winner Mighty Yar.

There are 16 split between Godolphin’s two trainers, Mahmood al Zarooni (11)
and Saeed bin Suroor (5), including Chesham Stakes winner and Champagne Stakes
third Tha’ir with the latter.

The Wildenstein family have recently returned to ownership in Britain, and
their Derby entries include Parker Ridge, a half-brother to Peintre Celebre,
among an unraced trio based with Newmarket-based Luca Cumani, who has twice sent
out winner of the Epsom Downs classic.

There are 12 French-trained entries (compared to six at this stage 12 months
ago) and many have still to show their full potential.

The Aga Khan’s Baradari, trained in Pau by Jean-Claude Rouget, scored at
Toulouse in February.

Andre Fabre, successful with Pour Moi in the 2011 Derby, trains Ocovango, who
won a Saint-Cloud maiden on his debut in November.

Adding to the international theme, there are two entries from Germany, the
Andreas Wohler-trained Saint and Sinner and Superplex, based at Michael Figge’s
Munich stable.

Eye-catching Irish-based entries away from the O’Brien contingent include the
Jim Bolger-trained Trading Leather, winner of the Group 3 Autumn Stakes at
Newmarket in October.

“Camelot continued a run of outstanding recent winners of the Investec Derby
last year,” said Andrew Cooper, head of racing and clerk of the course at Epsom
Downs Racecourse, “and the 2013 renewal is already promising to produce a field
worthy of the richest race run in Britain.

“Proven Group performers remain engaged along with any number of less-exposed
well-bred three-year-olds, and we look forward to the Investec Derby picture
clarifying over the coming weeks as the countdown to June 1 continues.”



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