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O'Brien shows his Derby hand


Jockey Joseph O'Brien with his father, trainer Aidan O'Brien. Picture: Ray McManus/SPORTSFILE

Jockey Joseph O'Brien with his father, trainer Aidan O'Brien. Picture: Ray McManus/SPORTSFILE

Jockey Joseph O'Brien with his father, trainer Aidan O'Brien. Picture: Ray McManus/SPORTSFILE

TRAINER Aidan O'Brien this morning declared five runners in Saturday's Investec Derby which, as revealed last night, didn't include Irish 2,000 Guineas winner Magician or the still unlicensed Frankie Dettori.

Dettori had been widely expected to be part of the Ballydoyle riding team for the Epsom showpiece after the Italian had made several trips to ride out at the famous County Tipperary training base, but following the delay by France Galop to re-licence Dettori, he will now have to look elsewhere, should he be given the go ahead as expected later today.

Declarations for Epsom had to be made by 10am today which means that Dettori could not be declared on any runner at Saturday's fixture, however, a BHA ruling will allow Dettori to be switched on to horses on Saturday should he get cleared by France Galop in the meantime.

Dettori was in Ballydoyle last Saturday morning, the day that O'Brien won the Irish 2,000 Guineas with Magician, and despite appearing as though he would make a quick reappearance and run at Epsom, O'Brien also revealed last night that he would not be lining up and will instead go to Royal Ascot where he will stay over a mile.

As expected, Joseph O'Brien has opted with Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial winner Battle Of Marengo, the general second favourite for the race, while Ryan Moore's winning partnership with Ruler Of The World will be restored after the pair won the Chester Vase earlier in the month.

The horse Dettori was expected to ride was English 2,000 Guineas sixth Mars who ran a notable race at Newmarket on what was just his second career start and he will now be ridden by champion jockey Richard Hughes who is rarely employed by Ballydoyle, but has rode for O'Brien before at big meetings including last years Breeders' Cup and previously in the Epsom Derby.

Coolmore's official twitter account tweeted last night; "At the moment Ballydoyle has five intended Epsom Derby runners (Battle Of Marengo, Festive Cheer, Flying The Flag, Ruler Of The World & Mars.) It's possible this could change depending on how the horses are in the morning prior to declaration."

O'Brien's other two runners, Festive Cheer and Flying The Flag will be ridden by Seamie Heffernan and Colm O'Donoughe respectively.

A total of 12 colts remain in the Derby field for Saturday with seven Irish runners, Jim Bolger's Dawn Approach heads the dozen with David Wachman's Galileo Rock joining the Ballydoyle quintet.

There is just three British trained runners in the Derby, with Libertarian the only realistic chance of that trio and Germany are represented for the first time with Chopin, while Andre Fabre's Ocovango is the sole French runner.