Irish trainer Aidan O'Brien well placed for record-equalling seventh success in Epsom Classic

Irish trainer Aidan O'Brien well placed for record-equalling seventh success in Epsom Classic

AIDAN O’BRIEN could be on course for yet more success in Saturday’s Investec Derby.

The Irish trainer is set to saddle seven of the 13 runners in Saturday's Investec Derby (4.30) as he seeks a record-equalling seventh success in the Epsom Classic.

The Ballydoyle trainer possesses an extremely strong hand going into the race with favourite Sir Dragonet, the mount of Ryan Moore, leading a team including Broome, Anthony Van Dyck and Japan.

Ashe did in Authorized's Derby in 2007, O'Brien could have saddled eight runners, but Cape Of Good Hope will go for Sunday's Prix du Jockey Club, with the Roger Varian-trained Surfman also heading for Chantilly over Epsom.

Completing the O'Brien septet are Circus Maximus, Norway and Sovereign as the trainer looks to join Robert Robson, John Porter and Fred Darling as a seven-time Derby winner. Circus Maximus and Godolphin's Line Of Duty will be equipped with first-time cheekpieces.

Sir Dragonet, an impressive winner of the Chester Vase on just his second start, shades the favouritism at a general 11-4. Broome (9-2) and Telecaster (5-1) are next best in the market with Anthony Van Dyck (7-1) and Bangkok (8-1) the others quoted at single figures.

The Derby is a race with a rich history dating back to Diomed's win in 1780.

Like all of the other Classics in Britain, the race is restricted to three-year-olds, so, unlike other prestigious races such as the Arc or Melbourne Cup, you only get one shot at the Derby.

It is a unique test of the thoroughbred, requiring a rare blend of speed, stamina and good balance to negotiate the undulating terrain and camber in the home straight.

It is also the most illustrious prize in British racing and perhaps even the world when you take into account the value of the winner from a breeding perspective. Geldings cannot run, so victory at Epsom launches a future stallion career to breed the next generation of Derby prospects.

Tipster Verdict

The Derby declarations did not tell us a great deal; the big day was Monday when Sir Dragonet and Telecaster were supplemented.

In truth, without that pair it would have looked a weak Derby, but they have the star quality to elevate the race. Neither raced before this turf season and, while Sir Dragonet looks a Group 1 winner waiting to happen, the way he went through the early stages at Chester laid his inexperience a bit too bare.

Telecaster, on the other hand, looks battle-hardened already as he showed when fending off Too Darn Hot in the Dante. A prominent racer, strong traveller and willing scrapper who won a major trial on his third start is a solid option in any year, and in this field,  he looks a good bet at 5-1.

Investec Derby line-up – 4:30 Epsom

1 Anthony Van Dyck (stall 7) Seamie Heffernan 15/2

2 Bangkok (stall 12) Silvestre de Sousa 9/1

3 Broome (stall 8) Donnacha O'Brien 4/1

4 Circus Maximus (stall 5) Frankie Dettori 20/1

5 Hiroshima (stall 3) Brett Doyle 100/1

6 Humanitarian (stall 9) Robert Havlin 100/1

7 Japan (stall 11) Wayne Lordan 10/1

8 Line Of Duty (stall 1) James Doyle 50/1

9 Madhmoon (stall 6) Chris Hayes 14/1

10 Norway (stall 10) Jamie Spencer 40/1

11 Sir Dragonet (stall 13) Ryan Moore 3/1 favourite

12 Sovereign (stall 4) Padraig Beggy 100/1

13 Telecaster (stall 2) Oisin Murphy 5/1

*Aidan O'Brien-trained runners

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