With just over a fortnight to go, the field for the Derby is beginning to take shape with several classy sorts planning their trip to the Epsom Downs.
The clash of the colts headlines the second day’s racing, with the Oaks and the Coronation Cup featuring on the opening day’s card.
Aidan O’Brien once again holds the favourite for the Grade 1 contest, but it’s not the three-year-old that many were expecting.
The colt destroyed his opponents a month later in the Derrinstown Derby Trial, quickening clear in the final two furlongs to claim victory by six lengths.
The son of Galileo has shown steady improvement this season and has established himself as the one to beat at the Derby this season.
Stablemate HIGH DEFINITION (4/1) launched to ante-post favouritism when landing the Grade 2 Beresford Stakes back in September.
The Ballydoyle trainer sang his praises of the colt back in January, stating “he’s a big, rangy horse with an unbelievably long stride.”
His unbeaten record came to an end in the Dante Stakes, as he left it too late to challenge Charlie Appleby’s HURRICANE LANE (7/1) but he showed a good turn of foot to narrow the advantage in the final stages.
O’Brien holds two more entries in the contest, with French Group 1 winner VAN GOGH (14/1) and progressing sort SIR LAMORAK (20/1) likely to join the leading pair.
Rapid improver MOHAAFETH (8/1) has been impressive so far this season, winning all three of his starts under William Haggas.
The son of Frankel is bred for the middle distances and he could show further progress when stepped up into Group company.
However, the soft ground currently is a concern and it is unlikely that Haggas’ colt will run in the Derby if the wet weather does not ease up.
Futurity Trophy Stakes MAC SWINEY (20/1) will be aiming to give Jim Bolger his second Classic success of the season, while Andrew Balding’s YOUTH SPIRIT (20/1) will need to show further progress from his Chester Vase success earlier this month.
An exciting renewal of the Derby lies in wait on the Epsom Downs.