A total of 17 runners could bid for Classic glory in the Investec Derby over a mile and a half at Epsom Downs on Saturday, June 7, following today’s five-day confirmation stage.
Chester Vase runner-up Romsdal, trained by John Gosden and owned by Princess Haya of Jordan, was supplemented at a cost of £75,000, with the total prize fund for Britain’s richest race now standing at £1,379,500.
Romsdal was a fast-finishing nose second to Orchestra (Aidan O’Brien) at Chester and is 16/1 chance with Boylesports.com
Orchestra’s well-touted stablemate Australia topped ante-post lists through the winter and is the even-money favourite with Coral following a fine third to Night Of Thunder in the QIPCO 2000 Guineas at Newmarket on May 3.
Ireland’s champion trainer Aidan O’Brien is also responsible for second favourite Geoffrey Chaucer (7/1) and Dee Stakes victor Kingfisher (50/1). If successful, O’Brien will become the first handler to send out three consecutive Investec Derby winners, following on from Camelot (2012) and Ruler Of The World (2013).
The Irish challenge is also likely to feature the first two home from the Derrinstown Derby Trial at Leopardstown on May 11. Ebanoran (John Oxx, 16/1) got the better of Fascinating Rock (Dermot Weld, 12/1) by a head in the 10-furlong contest, but the placings were reversed after a stewards’ inquiry.
Last season’s Racing Post Trophy winner Kingston Hill (Roger Varian) and impressive Feilden Stakes victorTrue Story (Saeed bin Suroor) are both 10/1 shots with Coral. The former stayed on to be eighth in the QIPCO 2000 Guineas on his seasonal return, while True Story was third behind subsequent Prix du Jockey Club hero The Grey Gatsby and Arod (Peter Chapple-Hyam, 16/1) in the Dante Stakes at York on May 15.
John Gosden, successful with Benny The Dip in 1997, is responsible for Western Hymn (14/1) as well as Romsdal. The son of High Chaparral is unbeaten in three starts and got the better of Impulsive Moment(Andrew Balding, 100/1) by a length and three quarters in the bet365 Classic Trial at Sandown Park on April 25.
Other trial winners going forward include Lingfield scorer Snow Sky (20/1), trained by five-time Investec Derby-winning handler Sir Michael Stoute, and Our Channel (66/1), who gained an entry when winning the Investec Derby Trial at Epsom Downs on April 23. His trainer William Haggas has a 100 per cent record in the Investec Derby, having scored with his sole starter Shaamit back in 1996.
Bruce Raymond, racing manager to Our Channel’s owner Abdulla Al Mansoori, said: “Silvestre de Sousa will ride Our Channel who did his final piece of work on Thursday and William (Haggas) was very happy with him.
“We know he handles the track – there’s no problem there – and we are hoping he gets the trip.
“If we finish in the money, we will be absolutely delighted. I can’t see him beating the front two favourites but the fact he handles the track is a huge positive.
“I was second on 150/1 shot Blue Judge and there were a few good ones behind me. It’s possible in the Derby because horses who act on the track have a huge advantage. You might think a horse will act, but, until you try, you never know.”
The Investec Derby confirmations are completed by the Charlie Appleby-trained Godolphin pair of Pinzolo(50/1), who captured the Fairway Stakes on May 17, and Tattersalls Millions Trophy victor Sudden Wonder(66/1), as well as the Ed Dunlop’s Red Galileo (125/1).