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O'Brien excited by rich pickings

It's kind of hard to believe that Aidan O'Brien has failed to win the Epsom Derby since High Chaparral in 2002, seven runnings including the superstar that was Sea The Stars have gone by since, but this year O'Brien has the pick that everyone is jealous of.

In truth, if it's kind of hard to believe that O'Brien hasn't won the race since, then it would be even harder to believe it if he didn't win this year's with the ammunition that he has behind him.

St Nicholas Abbey, despite a slightly disappointing run in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket, remains the talking horse around Ballydoyle and, for now at least, the leading hope of their contingent.


The unbeaten Cape Blanco put his cards on the table in the Dante Stakes at York, while, in a scintillating display at the Curragh last weekend, Jan Vermeer did his best to make Johnny Murtagh's choice of ride a lot harder.

It's easy to see why the subtle Aidan O'Brien is excited about the prospects of tomorrow week's showpiece.

"It is hard to put them all into an order; they are all very exciting horses in their own right," he said.

With four of O'Brien's string currently dominating the betting for Epsom's 1m4f Classic, one thing that is for sure is that the Coolmore powers will not be pitching the quartet against each other and will instead earmark the French Derby 24 hours later for at least one of their colts.

"Everybody wants to breed a Derby winner," continued O'Brien. "There is only one Epsom Derby every year and we are in the lucky position this year in that we have a nice team of horses and that we also have the French Derby the following day.

"St Nicholas Abbey was always going to the Guineas and the Derby and that has not changed. Midas Touch was always down for the Derrinstown and then the intention was to go to the Derby, while Cape Blanco and Jan Vermeer have the option of either France or Epsom."

O'Brien confirmed that St Nicholas Abbey and Midas Touch are Epsom-bound, but a third candidate is yet to be confirmed.

"St Nicholas Abbey and Midas Touch are the two definites at the moment so long as all is well. Cape Blanco and Jan Vermeer are both possible.

"Cape Blanco was just ready to start when he went to York for the Dante where they went an even gallop on fast ground. He won very easily and idled a bit on front.

"He was very sore after the race but that was just a superficial cut really."