The Derby (Saturday 4.30pm), or the Epsom Derby as it is more commonly referred to nowadays, was reputedly so called because of the outcome of a successful toss of a coin by Lord Derby over Sir Bunbury, and is Britain’s most lucrative and prestigious race.
The inaugural running was won by Diomed, after whom there is still a group-3 race named after at the meeting, and the race is run over 12-furlongs.
Aidan O’Brien has trained the winner of 3 of the last 4 renewals, whilst Ryan Moore and Frankie Dettori have both ridden 2 of the last 9 renewals.
16 Runners are set to go to post for the 2016 Derby.
Across The Stars
Only third behind Humphrey Bogart in a Derby Trial, but the connections won the 2003 Derby with Kris Kin, and have booked Kieron Fallon to ride as he did then.
His second to Midterm in the Sandown Classic Trial looked good as that horse was favourite for this then, however Midterm has flopped since and misses the race through injury.
Nine-lengths fourth behind US Army Ranger in the Chester Vase, and hard to see him playing a leading role.
Cloth of Stars
Connections supplemented him for £75,000 on Monday, and they’ll be hoping to at least get their money back from this winner who has already proved his stamina.
First-time tongue tie seemed to do the trick when second in the Dante, but the lightly-raced winner Wings Of Desire looks likely to improve again. Not considered the O’Brien first string.
Won the Ballysax Stakes at Leopardstown in April and looks sure to stay, though both wins have been on heavy ground.
His neck second to So Mi Dar in the Derby Trial looks better form now, and he won the Lingfield Derby Trial afterwards. Another supplementary entry, but needs to find extra to win.
Another O’Brien inmate, and he looks sure to appreciate step-up in trip as he’s a Brother of Highland Reel. Only third behind Moonlight Magic in the Derrinstown though, and needs to have improved in the interim.
The 2,000 Guineas winner isn’t bred to relish the Derby trip, but connections have little to lose by trying. Danger to all if he stays.
Out of Irish Oaks runner-up Melikah, who was in turn sired by Derby winner Lammtara, and looked impressive in the Derrinstown Derby trial. Definite Chance.
More exposed than some, but only a neck behind US Ranger at Chester when trying to concede odds-on stablemate 4lb.
Connections have decided to use the money from winning handicaps at Chester and Haydock to supplement him, but this is a serious step-up in class.
His sister Qualify was a shock winner of last year’s Oaks, so could outrun his odds now he steps-up to a trip he should relish.
Trainer Michael Stoute has won the Derby five-times, and this one has been well-backed since winning at Newbury by 8-lengths. Fancied to run well.
US Army Ranger
Ryan Moore rides him in preference to the other Ballydoyle inmates, and he’s bred to do the job. Can’t rule out, especially if the money comes for him before the race.
Wings of Desire
Last year’s winning trainer/jockey combination John Gosden and Frankie Dettori knew he was good, as Frankie preferred him to Foundation in the Dante. Lightly raced, well-related, and looks sure to give connections a run for their money.
The Derby Summary
Aidan O’Brien fires loads of bullets, and it may be that there’s no star in the middle-distance division at Balydoyle this year. If that’s the case, Wings Of Desire and Ulysses are expected to close, though Moonlight Magic may be the best value.