Saturday 17 March 2018

Aidan O'Brien's US Army Ranger heads 16 runners in Derby at Epsom

US Army Ranger with Aidan O'Brien. Photo: Healy Racing
US Army Ranger with Aidan O'Brien. Photo: Healy Racing

A field of 16 is set to go to post for Saturday's Investec Derby at Epsom.

Aidan O'Brien has the strongest numerical hand with five runners, headed by Chester Vase winner US Army Ranger.

Dante runner-up Deauville, Derrinstown Derby Trial third Idaho, Port Douglas, who was beaten just a short head by US Army Ranger at Chester, and Irish 2,000 Guineas fifth Shogun complete the Ballydoyle team.

Godolphin are double-handed this year with the Jim Bolger-trained Derrinstown winner Moonlight Magic and Andre Fabre's Cloth Of Stars both wearing the famous blue silks after the latter was supplemented.

John Gosden's Dante winner Wings Of Desire was also supplemented for the race on Monday, having originally been entered but taken out at an earlier forfeit stage. Gosden and jockey Frankie Dettori are going for successive wins after Golden Horn last year.

Michael Stoute, last successful with Workforce in 2010, teams up with Andrea Atzeni for Ulysses, who is by a Derby winner in Galileo and out of an Oaks winner in Light Shift.

Stoute also runs Across The Stars, who will be ridden by his old ally Kieren Fallon.

The Owen Burrows-trained Massaat, who finished second to Galileo Gold in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket, has a second bite at Classic glory stepping up in trip.

Richard Hannon's Humphrey Bogart was another to be supplemented after winning Lingfield's Derby Trial with Ed Dunlop also taking the bold move with his progressive Red Verdon after he easily won two handicaps.

Champion jockey Silvestre De Sousa has been booked for what will be only his second ride in the race.

"I think stepping up in trip has helped, but we've only won handicaps and now we are in a Group One. It's only the last three or four weeks he's started to work like a decent horse," Dunlop told At The Races.

"The vibes have been right, he had a breeze this morning and went very well and we're looking forward to it.

"Silvestre has ridden a lot of winners for me this season, particularly for Mr (Ronnie) Arculli (owner) and Ronnie likes to chose his jockeys, so I hope we prove him right."

Two soft-ground lovers, David Simcock's Algometer and Dermot Weld's Harzand, along with Karl Burke's Biodynamic complete the field.

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