Seven is the magic number for Aidan O’Brien at Epsom today as he sends out seven runners in search of his seventh victory in the Investec Derby.
Three trainers have saddled a septet of winners in the race’s 238-year history, so O’Brien would be joining an elite club.
Chester Vase winner Sir Dragonet spearheads this year’s challenge in the hands of Ryan Moore, as he tries to continue what has been a rapid upward trajectory over the last month.
The Camelot colt did not make his racecourse debut until 25 April and O’Brien is hoping that patience can pay dividends after the Coolmore team paid the £85,000 required to supplement him for the race on Monday.
O’Brien said: “He was always a very easy horse at home and does what is asked of him. He was kind of a reserved type of horse. He didn’t run last year, so we just minded him. The reason he ran first time at Tipperary was just in case there was something special in there. Sir Dragonet’s work has been lovely since he last ran and he shows he gets a mile and a half well.”
Broome has followed O’Brien’s traditional Ballysax-Derrinstown Derby Trial route and will be ridden by his son, Donnacha, with Seamie Heffernan on Lingfield winner Anthony Van Dyck.
Frankie Dettori has been called up for the ride on Circus Maximus, with Wayne Lordan on Japan and Norway partnered by Jamie Spencer. Sovereign also runs for the team and will be ridden by Padraig Beggy, who gave O’Brien his last win when causing a 40-1 shock on Wings Of Eagles in 2017.
“We think Circus Maximus will come forward a good deal from Chester and Japan went to the Dante just to have a run. You would imagine he’ll get the trip well,” said O’Brien.
Hughie Morrison came close to winning the Oaks in 2012 with Shirocco Star and it is her son, Telecaster, who gives him a real chance of Derby glory, after his victory in the Dante over Too Darn Hot prompted connections to supplement him back into the race after taking him out in March.
Another who did not run at two, he was second to Andrew Balding’s Bangkok on his debut at Doncaster.
“Charlie Bennett rode him at Doncaster on his debut and gave him a very sensible ride,” said Morrison. “We’ve had three races in a short space of time and that is hard on a horse.
“He’s bred to stay this far and hopefully he’s got more improvement in him.”