Rome all the rage for Derby after Murtagh gives him the nod

KING Of Rome has been all the rage for the Vodafone Derby following news that he will be Johnny Murtagh’s mount at Epsom on Saturday.

Trainer Aidan O’Brien is set to have five runners in the Premier Classic with Murtagh, in his first season as retained jockey at Ballydoyle, aboard the Lingfield Derby Trial runner-up.

King Of Rome was slashed at all rates down from 20-1 to 12-1 with William Hill to give Murtagh a fourth Derby triumph as the news circulated.

Hills spokeswoman Kate Miller said: “With Aidan having five in the field, Johnny Murtagh’s ride selection was always going to be extremely telling and while other Ballydoyle runners are currently friendless in the betting, King of Rome is all the rage.

“Murtagh has proven three times that he’s capable of nursing a runner around the Epsom undulations and, despite his mount not having the best of form coming into the race, it perhaps gives you an idea of who is setting the gallops alight.”

Mick Kinane will be aboard Dante runner-up Frozen Fire in other confirmed jockey plans from the Ballydoyle camp.

“Johnny will be on King Of Rome. Mick rides Frozen Fire and David McCabe will be on Bashkirov,” O’Brien told www.racingpost.co.uk.

“Seamie Heffernan and Colm O’Donoghue will be our other Derby jockeys but it will be tomorrow before we decide which of them rides which – Washington Irving or Alessandro Volta.”

Tajaaweed is all set to take his chance after the Dee Stakes winner pulled off a shoe earlier in the week.

“As far as I know he’s fine. I gather they’ve now got a shoe back on him and it’s so far so good,” said Angus Gold, racing manager to owner Hamdan Al Maktoum.

“As long as everything is all right in the next 24 hours he’ll run.”

Bronze Cannon has virtually been ruled out of the race due to the current easy ground, with connections preferring to save him for the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot.

“There’s a good chance he’s not going to run in the Derby and will wait for the King Edward,” said Hugo Lascelles, racing advisor to owner Anthony Oppenheimer.

“It’s due to the ground conditions, I think.

“That was the chat this morning. They will make a definite decision in the morning but that is the way they are leaning now.”

Vodafone Derby betting:

Coral: 7-2 Casual Conquest, 9-2 Curtain Call, 5-1 New Approach, 11-2 Tartan Bearer, 7-1 Tajaaweed, 10-1 Doctor Fremantle, 14-1 Frozen Fire, King Of Rome, 16-1 Rio De La Plata, 20-1 Kandahar Run, 25-1 bar.

William Hill: 7-2 Casual Conquest, 4-1 Curtain Call, 9-2 New Approach, 7-1 Tajaaweed, Tartan Bearer, 10-1 Doctor Fremantle, 12-1 King Of Rome, 16-1 Frozen Fire, 20-1 Bar

Ladbrokes: 7-2 Casual Conquest, 4-1 Curtain Call, 9-2 New Approach, 7-1 Tartan Bearer, 8-1 Doctor Fremantle, Tajaaweed, 14-1 King Of Rome, 16-1 Frozen Fire, Kandahar Run, 20-1 Bar.

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