JIM Bolger’s Dawn Approach heads a field of 12 for tomorrow’s Investec Derby at Epsom.
The impressive Qipco 2000 Guineas winner remains unbeaten in his seven-race career and will attempt to follow in the hoofprints of his sire, New Approach, who won the race in 2008. In an attempt to foil Dawn Approach and their big rivals Godolphin, Aidan O’Brien and Coolmore field five – although Irish Guineas winner Magician has been taken out, as expected. Chief Ballydoyle hope appears to be Battle Of Marengo, winner of the Derrinstown Derby Trial and ridden by Joseph O’Brien.
Ruler Of The World, impressive at Chester, will be partnered by Ryan Moore, with Richard Hughes on Mars. Seamie Heffernan receives the leg-up aboard stablemate Festive Cheer, with Colm O’Donoghue on Flying The Flag.
Elaine Burke’s Libertarian is the leading British-trained contender after his win in the Dante at York.
German raider Chopin was supplemented on Monday after being purchased by Sheikh Fahad Al Thani’s Qatar Racing Ltd. Andre Fabre, successful two years ago with Pour Moi, runs the unbeaten Ocovango, with Galileo Rock, Mirsaale and Ocean Applause completing the field.
Trading Leather and First Cornerstone were also taken out at the final declaration stage. Conditions at Epsom have eased considerably throughout the week, with clerk of the course Andrew Cooper now calling the ground good to soft, soft in places.
“We’ve had nearly an inch of rain this week,” said Cooper. “I walked it yesterday evening and called it good to soft, good in places but I’ve walked it this morning and you’d have to call it good to soft, soft in places. The year High Chaparral won (2002) was undoubtedly the softest Derby I’ve had and this year will be similar.
“I can’t see the Derby now being run on anything appreciably better than good to soft.”