Over 100 entries for most expensive Derby ever

The initial entries for the Derby have been confirmed and it is little surprise that Aidan O’Brien’s brilliant Churchill is the talk of the town.

Churchill was the champion two-year old and the Coolmore star is heading for the Derby – which is Britain’s richest race worth £1.5million.

This is the first acceptance stage for the 2017 Investec Derby since horses were entered as yearlings on December 1, 2015.

There are three other ways three-year-olds can be added to the line-up on June 3 – at the £9,000 second entry stage on April 4, at the £85,000 supplementary entry stage on May 29, or by succeeding in the £50,000 Investec Derby Trial at the Investec Spring Meeting, which is staged at Epsom Downs on Wednesday, April 26.

Last year’s winner was Harzand and his half-brother Haripour is in contention and could offer owner Aga Khan back-to-back successes.

But the Ballydoyle based contingent look strong with 27 entries made by O’Brien including Churchill.

Aidan O’Brien’s son Joseph – who has won the Derby twice on board Australia and Camelot – could have his first runners as a trainer as he has three entries in Druids Cross, Rekindling and Renaissance Man.

Godolphin and the Maktoum family’s racing operation have 21 horses entered.

The Investec Derby is the only Classic not to have seen The Queen’s famous silks carried to success and there are two Royal-owned contenders going forward – Call To Mind (William Haggas) and Frontispiece (Sir Michael Stoute).

Andrew Cooper, Head of Racing and Clerk of the Course at Epsom Downs Racecourse, said: “It is very pleasing to see 129 horses going forward for the 2017 Investec Derby at this stage.

“There are no surprise defections, with strong representation from Ireland and France, while last year’s champion two-year-old Churchill heads the main contenders as Aidan O’Brien seeks a sixth Investec Derby success.

“We are delighted to be staging the race with the richest prize fund ever in Britain, as the Investec Derby is worth £1.5 million at Epsom Downs on June 3.”

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