Sir Michael Stoute, Aidan O’Brien Holding Aces For June 4 Epsom Derby

There have been twists at every turn in the build-up to the Cazoo Derby, but it is two trainers who know best how to win the great race, Sir Michael Stoute and Aidan O’Brien, who have emerged holding the aces.

Between them, the pair have won the premier Classic on 13 occasions and few would bet against one of them again taking the plaudits at Epsom on June 4. Stoute is responsible for Desert Crown, the general 9/4 favorite, owned by Saeed Suhail. O’Brien, as ever, seems likely to be mob-handed with Stone Age and Changingoftheguard spearheading the challengers from Ballydoyle.

Ten-time champion trainer Stoute, 76, first took out a license 50 years ago. What better way for him to celebrate the milestone than with a sixth Derby triumph in front of Her Majesty The Queen as part of The Platinum Jubilee Central Weekend?

Shergar (1981) was memorably Stoute’s first winner, sauntering home by a record ten lengths, with Shahrastani (1986), Kris Kin (2003), North Light (2004) and Workforce (2010) also hitting the jackpot. Like Desert Crown each of them was lightly raced heading to Epsom. Unlike Desert Crown, they had all tasted defeat beforehand.

The son of Nathaniel, in the same ownership as Kris Kin, was an impressive winner on his debut over a mile at Leicester in early November but the performance largely slipped under the radar. He headed into winter quarters 40-1 for the Derby.

Those odds had shrunk to single figures by the time Desert Crown reappeared in the Al Basti Equiworld Dante Stakes at York this month. His supporters had few anxious moments as he travelled fluently before accelerating clear of Royal Patronage. It perhaps wasn’t a deep renewal but the runner-up had run creditably in the QIPCO 2,000 Guineas, having won the Royal Lodge last year.

The manner in which Desert Crown finished under Richard Kingscote suggests he will not be betrayed by a lack of staying power, and his pedigree also lends encouragement. His sire, Nathaniel, is a strong influence for stamina, while his grandsire is Galileo, the 1991 Derby hero who has already fathered a record five winners of the race.

Kingscote will be having only his second Derby ride but he’s a cool character with more than 1300 winners to his name.

O’Brien’s five challengers are all sons of Galileo, whose presence will tower over the race despite his death last year at the age of 23. He’s the grandfather of eight other possible runners, and great-grandfather of another.

Luxembourg’s untimely setback has robbed O’Brien of a leading contender but Stone Age was an emphatic all-the-way winner of the Derby Trial at Leopardstown, while Changingoftheguard routed his rivals in the Boodles Chester Vase.

O’Brien also has Star Of India, winner of the Homeserve Dee Stakes at Chester; United Nations, the SBK Derby Trial winner at Lingfield; plus two-time winner Ivy League to juggle. Ryan Moore, the stable’s No 1 jockey, is expected to ride Stone Age but keep in mind that he has not been on O’Brien’s past three Derby winners, despite having first choice each time.

Of course, it is not all about Stoute and O’Brien. It would be folly to ignore Eydon (Roger Varian), a keeping-on fourth in the QIPCO 2,000 Guineas, while Westover (Ralph Beckett) impressed when scooping the bet365 Classic Trial at Sandown Park. a race that Adayar used as a stepping stone to Derby glory last year.

Charlie Appleby, the trainer of Adayar, has said he intends running Nahanni, winner of the Cazoo Blue Riband Trial at the main expense of Grand Alliance (Charlie Fellowes), and Walk Of Stars, runner-up to United Nations at Lingfield.

Piz Badile, trained by Donnacha O’Brien, was a tenacious winner of the P.W. McGrath Memorial Ballysax Stakes at Leopardstown and Frankie Dettori, seeking a third Derby victory, has been booked to ride.

It was only two years ago that the first three home were returned at 25/1, 50/1 and 66/1, while Wings Of Eagles won at 40/1 in 2017. Perhaps that will trigger interest in West Wind Blows, who is trading at chunky odds despite having won both of his races in taking style.

The post Sir Michael Stoute, Aidan O’Brien Holding Aces For June 4 Epsom Derby appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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