Saxon Warrior heads up Derby field

Ante-post favourite Saxon Warrior is one of 16 horses going forward for the 2018 Investec Derby at Epsom Downs on Saturday, June 2, following Tuesday’s scratchings deadline.

Saxon Warrior, one of seven remaining contenders for Britain and Ireland’s reigning champion Flat trainer Aidan O’Brien, maintained his unbeaten record in style when powering to victory in Britain’s first Classic, the G1 QIPCO 2000 Guineas, over a mile at Newmarket on May 5.

The son of Japanese stallion sensation Deep Impact is the 8/11 market leader with Unibet, official betting partner of the Investec Derby Festival, as he bids to become just the third horse this century to complete the QIPCO 2000 Guineas/Investec Derby double after Sea The Stars (2009) and Camelot (2012).

Godolphin’s Masar (Charlie Appleby) and Qatar Racing’s Roaring Lion (John Gosden), third and fifth respectively to Saxon Warrior at Newmarket, are due to re-oppose in Britain’s premier Classic and richest race worth at least £1.5 million at 4.30pm on June 2.

Roaring Lion has since posted an impressive four and a half-length victory in the G2 Dante Stakes at York on May 17. Trainer John Gosden’s previous two Investec Derby heroes, Benny The Dip (1997) and Golden Horn (2015), both won the extended 10-furlong trial on route to Epsom Downs.

Aidan O’Brien’s septet for the 12-furlong Investec Derby also features Delano Roosevelt and The Pentagon, who had to settle for minor honours behind Hazapour (Dermot Weld IRE) in a bunched finish to the G3 Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial at Leopardstown on May 13.

Rostropovich, winner of the Listed Dee Stakes at Chester, Listed Lingfield Derby Trial second Kew Gardens, G3 Ballysax Stakes winner Nelson and Dante Stakes third Zabriskie complete the O’Brien acceptors as the trainer chases a record-equalling seventh Investec Derby victory.

William Haggas has G3 Chester Vase victor Young Rascal, who had his first experience of Epsom Downs this morning when working at the Breakfast With The Stars event (more information to follow), and Newbury maiden scorer Al Muffrih going forward. The Newmarket handler won the world’s greatest Flat race at his first attempt with Shaamit in 1996 and saddled the 2015 third Storm The Stars from just three Investec Derby runners to date. Young Rascal is owned by Bernard Kantor, Managing Director of Investec, sponsor of the Investec Derby Festival.

Lambourn trainer Harry Dunlop is looking forward to saddling his first Investec Derby runner in Knight To Behold, who readily defeated Kew Gardens in the Listed Derby Trial at Lingfield Park on May 12, for owner/breeder Neil Jones.

Study Of Man (Pascal Bary FR), another son of Deep Impact, could fly the flag for France following his dominant victory in the G2 Prix Greffulhe at Saint-Cloud on May 8. Pour Moi, the last French-trained winner of the Investec Derby, won both races in 2011. Study of Man and Zabriskie are both owned by the Niarchos Family’s Flaxman Stables.

G3 Sandown Classic Trial scorer Sevenna Star (John Gosden) together with G3 Chester Vase runner-up and Listed Investec Blue Riband Trial second Dee Ex Bee (Mark Johnston), a winner at Epsom Downs last season, complete the 16 acceptors.

Latest odds from Unibet, official betting partner of the Investec Derby Festival:
8/11 Saxon Warrior
6/1 Roaring Lion
12/1 Young Rascal
14/1 Hazapour
16/1 Delano Roosevelt, Masar
20/1 The Pentagon, Knight To Behold, Rostropovich
22/1 Study Of Man
25/1 Kew Gardens, Dee Ex Bee, Sevenna Star
33/1 Nelson
50/1 Zabriskie, Al Muffrih

Horse Owner Trainer
AL MUFFRIH (IRE) Sheikh Juma Dalmook Al Maktoum William Haggas
DEE EX BEE Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Al Maktoum Mark Johnston
DELANO ROOSEVELT (IRE) Derrick Smith, Sue Magnier, Michael Tabor Aidan O’Brien IRE
HAZAPOUR (IRE) HH Aga Khan Dermot Weld IRE
KEW GARDENS (IRE) Derrick Smith, Sue Magnier, Michael Tabor Aidan O’Brien IRE
KNIGHT TO BEHOLD (IRE) L Neil Jones Harry Dunlop
MASAR (IRE) Godolphin Charlie Appleby
NELSON (IRE) Sue Magnier, Michael Tabor & Derrick Smith Aidan O’Brien IRE
ROARING LION (USA) Qatar Racing Limited John Gosden
ROSTROPOVICH (IRE) Michael Tabor/Derrick Smith/Sue Magnier/Markus Jooste Aidan O’Brien IRE
SAXON WARRIOR (JPN) Derrick Smith, Sue Magnier, Michael Tabor Aidan O’Brien IRE
SEVENNA STAR (IRE) Gestut Ammerland John Gosden
STUDY OF MAN (IRE) Flaxman Stables Ireland Ltd Pascal Bary FR
THE PENTAGON (IRE) Derrick Smith, Sue Magnier, Michael Tabor Aidan O’Brien IRE
YOUNG RASCAL (FR) Bernard Kantor William Haggas
ZABRISKIE (IRE) Flaxman Stables Ireland Ltd Aidan O’Brien IRE


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