Saxon Warrior drawn 1 as 12 declared for the Derby

Filed on 31 May 2018 @ 14:54

A field of 12 horses has been declared to run in the 2018 £1.5 million Investec Derby over a mile and a half at Epsom Downs on Saturday.

Saxon Warrior, pushed out to 11/10 favourite this morning by Unibet, official betting partner of the Investec Derby Festival, heads five contenders for Britain and Ireland's champion Flat trainer, Aidan O'Brien.

The Japanese-bred Deep Impact colt is unbeaten in four starts and returned to action this year with a decisive success in the first British Classic of the season, the QIPCO 2000 Guineas over a mile at Newmarket on May 5.

The Ryan Moore-ridden Saxon Warrior bids to become the third horse this century to complete the QIPCO 2000 Guineas/Investec Derby double after Sea The Stars (2009) and Camelot (2012) and 38th in total.

O'Brien has won the Investec Derby on six occasions, courtesy of Galileo (2001), High Chaparral (2002), Camelot (2012), Ruler Of The World (2013), Australia (2014) and Wings Of Eagles (2017). He will become the joint winning-most trainer in the Classic's 239th renewal alongside Robert Robson, John Porter and Fred Darling, were he to succeed again this year.

Saxon Warrior was drawn in stall one at today's Investec Derby Draw hosted by Nick Luck and featuring Investec Derby winning jockeys Geoff Lewis (Mill Reef, 1971) and John Reid (Dr Devious, 1992). Three horses have won the Investec Derby from the inside berth (Blakeney 1969, Roberto 1972 and Oath 1999) since starting stalls were introduced in 1967.

O'Brien's charge is set to be joined by stable companions Delano Roosevelt (Seamie Heffernan, 12/1, 4)and The Pentagon (Wayne Lordan, 20/1, 11), who finished second and third to the Dermot Weld-trained Hazapour (Frankie Dettori, 10/1, 3), in the G3 Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial at Leopardstown on May 13. Hazapour is from the same family as 2016 victor Harzand, who was also owned by the Aga Khan and trained by Weld.

Kew Gardens (Donnacha O'Brien, 33/1, 11), second in the Listed Lingfield Derby Trial to the Harry Dunlop-trained Knight To Behold (Richard Kingscote, 20/1, 2) and Dante Stakes third Zabriskie (66/1, 8) complete the master of Ballydoyle's quintet. Zabriskie will be ridden by Padraig Beggy, who captured the 2017 Investec Derby aboard 40/1 outsider Wings Of Eagles, his first attempt at the Classic.

Newmarket trainer John Gosden, is double-handed in this year's Investec Derby as he seeks a third win in the premier Classic, following the successes of Benny The Dip (1997) and Golden Horn (2015). He saddles Roaring Lion (Oisin Murphy, 7/1, 5), a facile winner of the G2 Dante Stakes at York on May 17 and Sevenna Star (25/1, 7), who annexed the G3 bet365 Classic Trial at Sandown Park on April 27, having bolted up in a 10-furlong maiden by 14 lengths on heavy ground at Windsor on April 16.

Owner Godolphin has yet to win the Investec Derby and this year saddles Masar (Charlie Appleby, William Buick, 20/1, 10), who finished third to Saxon Warrior in the QIPCO 2000 Guineas, having previously annexed the Craven Stakes over the straight mile at Newmarket on April 19.

William Haggas, successful with Shaamit in 1996, is represented by G3 Chester Vase winner Young Rascal (James Doyle, 9/1, 9)in this year's renewal, who is owned by Investec Managing Director Bernard Kantor. Dee Ex Bee (Mark Johnston, Silvestre De Sousa, 18/1, 6), a half-length second behind Young Rascal at Chester and a winner at Epsom Downs last season, completes the field of 12 for the 2018 Investec Derby.

Filed on 31 May 2018 @ 14:54