A field of 13 is set to go to post for the premier Classic, the £1.625-million G1 Investec Derby, which is staged at Epsom Downs Racecourse at 4.30pm on Saturday, June 1, 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 on May 8, having captured a Tipperary maiden on debut on April 25, Sir Dragonet is sired by 2012 Investec Derby victor Camelot and is the 11/4 favourite with Unibet, official betting partner of the Investec Derby Festival.
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, 9/2, stall 8), who has captured two G3 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 on May 12.
His team are completed by impressive Lingfield Listed Derby Trial victor Anthony Van Dyck (Seamie Heffernan, 15/2, stall 7), Dante Stakes fourth Japan (Wayne Lordan, 10/1, stall 11), Listed Dee stakes scorer Circus Maximus (Frankie Dettori, 20/1, stall 5), Chester Vase second Norway (Jamie Spencer, 40/1, stall 10) and Sovereign(100/1, 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, 11/2). 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 G2 Dante Stakes at York on May 16, his third start, having previously captured a 10-furlong maiden at Windsor on April 15. 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 (9/1, stall 12), owned by King Power Racing, in a Doncaster maiden on March 30. Trained by Andrew Balding and ridden by Silvestre de Sousa, Bangkok went on to capture the G3 bet365 Classic Trial at Sandown Park on April 26. 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, 10/1, stall 6), who finished a creditable fourth to Magna Grecia in the QIPCO 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket on May 4. 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 (66/1, 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, 40/1, stall 1), a disappointing seventh in the Dante Stakes at York on his seasonal reappearance and Hiroshima (John Ryan/Brett Doyle, 250/1, stall 3), successful in a Southwell maiden on May 1.
Investec Derby – Unibet prices: 11/4 Sir Dragonet; 9/2 Broome; 11/2 Telecaster; 15/2 Anthony Van Dyck; 9/1 Bangkok; 10/1 Japan, Madhmoon; 20/1 Circus Maximus; 40/1 Line Of Duty, Norway; 66/1 Humanitarian; 100/1 Sovereign; 250/1 Hiroshima
Each-way ¼ 1,2,3
SIR DRAGONET REMAINS TOP OF THE TABLE WITH BOOKMAKERS
Ante-post favourite Sir Dragonet continues to head the market as the build-up to this year’s £1.625 million G1 Investec Derby gathers pace.
Britain’s premier Classic takes place at 4.30pm on Saturday, June 1 at Epsom Downs Racecourse and Sir Dragonet, one of seven runners in the 13-strong field for Ballydoyle handler Aidan O’Brien, is the 10/3 favourite with Unibet, official betting partner of the Investec Derby Festival.
The son of 2012 Investec Derby scorer Australia is unbeaten in two starts, both of which came this season. An emphatic winner of a Tipperary maiden in April, Sir Dragonet recorded a taking success in the Chester Vase, a recognised Derby trial, on his latest start on May 8. O’Brien’s charge was supplemented for Saturday’s contest at a cost of £85,000 earlier this week. Sir Dragonet was pushed out to 11/4 this morning from 5/2 after being drawn in stall 13 of 13 at the Investec Derby Draw, which took place at the track at 11.00am and featured Derby winning jockeys Michael Hills and Willie Carson.
The other notable mover after today’s draw was Telecaster, who like Sir Dragonet, was supplemented for £85,000 at Monday’s supplementary stage. Also unraced as a two-year-old, he chased home fellow Investec Derby entry Bangkok on his debut at Doncaster in March, before plundering a 10-furlong maiden at Windsor on April 15. The son of 2008 Investec Derby winner New Approach entered the reckoning for Britain’s richest race when capturing the G2 Dante stakes at York on May 16, defeating subsequent Irish 2000 Guineas second Too Darn Hot. He was assigned stall 2. No winner of the Investec Derby has ever emerged from that berth. Unibet pushed Telecaster out to 11/2 from 5/1 as a result.
Unibet’s spokesman Ed Nicholson commented: “Sir Dragonet and Telecaster have both been pushed out in the Investec Derby betting after this morning’s draw. Telecaster has been drawn in stall 2 and no has ever won the Investec Derby from that stall since starting stalls were introduced in 1967. We’ve pushed out Telecaster to 11/2 from 5/1.
“Sir Dragonet was drawn in stall 13 which again is a little bit of a negative, so we’ve gone 11/4 from 5/2.
“Sir Dragonet has been the one in the past few days who has been the focal point of the betting market. He was 25/1 and bigger before he won the Chester Vase. We immediately cut him to 7/1 after the race, but before the day was out, we trimmed his price again to 4/1. We have seen more money in the past few days since he has been supplemented and he is the biggest loser in the book.
“There has also been money for Broome who is the second-favourite for the race.”
Investec Derby – Unibet prices: 11/4 Sir Dragonet; 9/2 Broome; 11/2 Telecaster; 15/2 Anthony Van Dyck; 9/1 Bangkok; 10/1 Japan, Madhmoon; 20/1 Circus Maximus; 40/1 Line Of Duty, Norway; 66/1 Humanitarian; 100/1 Sovereign; 250/1 Hiroshima Each-way ¼ 1,2,3
COOPER TALKS GROUND, WEATHER & INVESTEC DERBY FESTIVAL
Andrew Cooper, Clerk of the Course
Andrew Cooper: “I don’t think that there is any doubt now that we are going to stay dry and gradually get warmer over the next couple of days.
“Today is forecast to be 21 degrees, around that sort of temperature, and yet it was actually only 13 degrees here yesterday. There has been a little bit more in the way of sunny spells here this morning than we were forecast – we thought it was going to be overcast and a bit clammy for most of the day. There have been slight breaks in it and I think that is going to continue throughout the day.
“Tomorrow I am thinking something similar, though it will probably be a degree or so warmer with a brightening afternoon picture. I think we may start off with a bit of cloud cover in the morning, which should then clear away, and that heralds what should be a clear start and hot day here on Saturday, with temperatures in the mid-20s.
“We are obviously mindful that the Investec Derby is run as the fifth of seven races at 4.30pm on Saturday afternoon. Our preparations to a large degree work backwards from there, but that is not to say that we should overdo things for the first day of the meeting, which I don’t think we have.
“We have got to a situation where I would call the going here today, Good. We did our last bit of watering – which we always had in mind – on Wednesday morning. Then we had a bit of rain that amounted to about 3mm, and walking it both after the rain and first thing this morning, I would have no hesitation in calling it good Flat racing ground. But with that forecast, it is only going to dry over the next 48 hours.
“Watering is an option that is very much at the back of our minds. We can wait until after the last race tomorrow and see what conditions are like before making a decision. This is my 24th Derby and I think we have only irrigated on the Friday night for three of those. The first time we did it was in 2010, Workforce’s year. We will take stock of that and if we were to water, it would only be in the region of two and half to three millimetres, which is what you lose here on a warm day. It would be standing still from whatever point we reach at decision time tomorrow afternoon.
“We have saved a fresh strip of ground for the Saturday, which has been common practice here for many years. We save from basically the eight-furlong pole all the way to the winning line. It is basically four yards in width and adds 14 yards to the longer distance races tomorrow. That fresh would obviously hold its moisture that bit longer because it will not have been opened up through racing on Friday.”
Since 1967, 10 Derby winners have come from stall 10, whereas stall 11 has drawn a blank.
Cooper said: “You cannot deny the statistic, can you? But I think it is one of those staggering ones. You can understand why in a big field Derby that a low or high number has perhaps struggled, but for stall 10 to have as many winners as it’s had and 11 to have had none since stalls were introduced is inexplicable.
“I put the stalls for the mile and a half races in the centre of the course. Before 1996, the stalls were on the inside, which meant stall one had even further to go across to get over to that first dog-leg turn. I just took the view that were causing an unnecessary issue, so we put the stalls in the middle because they then have less of an angle to go at.
“Although I can’t work out the discrepancy between stall 10 and 11, you do tend to think that being drawn somewhere in the middle of a 16 to 18 runner Derby would give you the clearest run to that first point.”