Only six Derby rivals for Camelot

Camelot will face just six rivals in his bid to become the 16th horse tocomplete the Epsom and Irish Derby double at the Curragh tomorrow.

Aidan O’Brien’s unbeaten colt, who will be ridden by the trainer’s son, Joseph, will be joined by Ballydoyle duo Astrology (Seamie Heffernan) and Imperial Monarch (Colm O’Donoghue), with stablemates Daddy Long Legs, Father Of Science and Learn not declared.

There was only one other defection, John Oxx’s Call To Battle, but the Currabeg trainer will still have two runners in the race.

Stable jockey Johnny Murtagh is aboard Born To Sea, with William Buick taking an excellent spare on Akeed Mofeed.

Last year’s Beresford Stakes runner-up Akeed Mofeed will behaving his first start of the season in the Dubai Duty Free-sponsored Classic.

Completing the field, as expected, are Jim Bolger’s Ballysax and Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial Stakes winner Light Heavy, and the Dermot Weld-trained Speaking Of Which, who took the Gallinule Stakes at the course last month in impressive fashion.

The Curragh was hit by substantial rain on Wednesday night, but general manager Paul Hensey expects the weather for the rest of the week to be good enough to prevent testingconditions.

“We had a lot of rain overnight – 20mm fell – and the ground is now soft, heavy in places,” Hensey said yesterday morning.

“It is only a couple of spots which are heavy. It was the band of rain which we thought earlier in the week would come on Thursday, but it stopped by 6.30am.

“I have spoken to the Met Office and the forecast looks good for the next few days. It’s bright and breezy at the moment and the course should start to dry up.

“I’d expect the ground to start up as soft for the start of the Derby meeting on Friday and hopefully be good to soft by the weekend.

“To have Camelot in the field is fantastic and we’re all looking forward to it.”

Hensey later reported further positive news on ground conditions.

He tweeted: “It has been a good drying day here @curraghrace. Brendan Sheridan walked the track PM and was delighted how the course has taken the rain.”

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