Thirteen horses will line up for the 2019 Epsom Derby – the 240th renewal of the worlds most famous horse race, with the winner receiving just short of £1 million prize money, and the name etched into the racing history books.
The race is for three year olds only – so past winners cannot defend or there be multiple winners. But some of the most famous racehorses of all time are known simply because they are Derby winners – Sir Ivor, Mill Reef, Nijinsky and of course arguably the most famous of them all, the ill fated Shergar (pictured above) – amongst countless others that will forever be remembered as winners of Britain’s richest horse race.
In recent times, the Epsom Derby has been synonymous with one name…Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien. O’Brien operates the Ballydoyle stables and has trained four of the last seven winners of the Derby, including three winners in three years (Camelot 2012, Ruler of the World 2013 & Australia 2014) and this year saddles seven of the thirteen runners that will go into the stalls for the race. He has won the race 6 times overall – and in 2019 will be looking to make it a magnificent seven.
Of the seven who go to post, O’Brien has the two jollies – starting favourite is highly likely to be Sir Dragonet – winner of the Derby trial Chester Vase and unbeaten in his two starts. It is very notably that principal jockey Ryan Moore has chosen Sir Dragonet over the other O’Brien entries – including Norway, whom finished second behind Sir Dragonet in the Vase. He was beaten eight lengths however and that form seems enough to give O’Brien confidence enough to supplement the horse into the Derby and to give Sir Dragonet favouritism. Stable companion Broome is currently second favourite – he showed nothing special in his 2 year old campaign, but has won each of his two starts as three year old – both wins coming at Leopardstown where his last race was capturing the Derrinstown Stud Derby trial, holding off stablemates Blenheim Palace and Sovereign – with the latter taking his chance in the Derby also, though is likely to be the pacesetter for Sir Dragonet.
Of the rest, Telecaster makes significant appeal. Hughie Morrison’s colt lowered the colours of ante post favourite Too Darn Hot in the Dante Stakes race at the recent York meeting – so much so that Too Darn Hot was taken out of the Derby field – and Telecaster was supplemented into it – costing the owners £85,000. The form looks strong – although only two weeks have passed since the Dante. Bangkok, trained by Andrew Balding, has to be respected also. He won the Sandown Classic Trial in decisive fashion – showing a good turn of pace and finishing strongly under Silvestre De Sousa, who rides him again in the Derby. These would seem to be the main two players to challenge the O’Brien raiding party.
But we cannot see past Sir Dragonet in becoming the next Derby – and Aidan O’Brien – champion.
INVESTEC EPSOM DERBY – FULL FIELD (HORSE, JOCKEY, TRAINER)
- Anthony Van Dyck – J Heffernan – A O’Brien
- Bangkok – S De Sousa – A Balding
- Broome – D O’Brien – A O’Brien
- Circus Maximus – L Dettori – A O’Brien
- Hiroshima – B Doyle – J Ryan
- Humanitarian – R Havlin – J Gosden
- Japan – J Lordan – A O’Brien
- Line of Duty – J Doyle – C Appleby
- Madhmoon – C Hayes – K Prendergast
- Norway – J Spencer – A O’Brien
- Sir Dragonet – R Moore – A O’Brien
- Sovereign – P Beggy – A O’Brien
- Telecaster – O Murphy – H Morrison
- Sir Dragonet
- Circus Maximus