A field of 13 is set to go to phost for the premier Classic, the Investec Derby, which is staged at Epsom Downs Racecourse at 4.30pm on Saturday, the highlight of the Investec Derby Festival.
Ireland’s 21-times champion Flat trainer Aidan O’Brien is seeking a record-equalling seventh Investec Derby win as he launches a seven-pronged attack on the 240th running of the Investec Derby over 12 furlongs and six yards.
The master of Ballydoyle’s septet are spearheaded by Sir Dragonet, the mount of Ryan Moore, who was the supplemented for the Classic on Monday at a cost of £85,000. An impressive winner of the Chester Vase, having captured a Tipperary maiden on debut, Sir Dragonet is sired by 2012 Investec Derby victor Camelot.
Sir Dragonet was drawn in stall 13 of 13 at this morning’s Investec Derby Draw, which was hosted by Racing TV’s Tom Stanley and featured Derby-winning jockeys Michael Hills and Willie Carson at Epsom Downs.
O’Brien’s other six Investec Derby contenders are headed by Broome (Donnacha O’Brien, stall 8), who has captured two Group Three Derby trials at Leopardstown so far this season. The three-year-old son of Australia, the 2014 Derby victor, backed up a convincing eight-length win in the Ballysax Stakes in April with a smooth victory in the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial.
His team are completed by impressive Lingfield Listed Derby Trial victor Anthony Van Dyck (Seamie Heffernan, stall 7), Dante Stakes fourth Japan (Wayne Lordan, stall 11), Listed Dee stakes scorer Circus Maximus (Frankie Dettori, stall 5), Chester Vase second Norway (Jamie Spencer, stall 10) and Sovereign (stall 4), twice placed behind Broome in 2019, the mount of 2017 Investec Derby-winning jockey Padraig Beggy. The Ballydoyle handler’s seven runners in this year’s Investec Derby account for over half of the field and is his largest team since 2007 (eight runners).
Also supplemented on Monday was the Hughie Morrison-trained Telecaster (Oisin Murphy). The three-year-old is a son of 2008 Investec Derby winner New Approach, whilst his dam Shirocco Star was second in the 2012 renewal of the Investec Oaks. Unraced at two, Telecaster landed the Dante Stakes at York, his third start, having previously captured a 10-furlong maiden at Windsor. At today’s Investec Derby Draw, he was assigned to stall 2. No horse has ever won the Investec Derby from that berth, since starting stalls were introduced in 1967.
Telecaster chased home fellow Investec Derby entry Bangkok (stall 12), owned by King Power Racing, in a Doncaster maiden. Trained by Andrew Balding and ridden by Silvestre de Sousa, Bangkok went on to capture the bet365 Classic Trial at Sandown Park. He will break from the same stall his Derby-winning sire Australia broke from in the 2014 Investec Derby.
Veteran Irish trainer Kevin Prendergast saddles Madhmoon (Chris Hayes, stall 6), who finished a creditable fourth to Magna Grecia in the QIPCO 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket. Owned by Hamdan Al Maktoum, connections are optimistic that the son of Dawn Approach will stay the extra half-mile at Epsom.
The unexposed Humanitarian (stall 9) has won his last two starts, latterly capturing a 10-furlong novice event at Salisbury and he represents dual Derby winner John Gosden in Britain’s premier Classic. He is partnered by Rab Havlin.
Completing the field are Godolphin’s Line Of Duty (Charlie Appleby/James Doyle, stall 1), a disappointing seventh in the Dante Stakes at York on his seasonal reappearance and Hiroshima (John Ryan/Brett Doyle, stall 3), successful in a Southwell maiden.