Moore gets nod for Chaucer in Derby

Aidan O’Brien has finalised his jockey bookings for Saturday’s Investec Derby with Ryan Moore picking up the mount on Geoffrey Chaucer.

Moore gets nod  for Chaucer in Derby

Coolmore confirmed that Moore would be riding Geoffrey Chaucer, who finished a promising third on his comeback in the Derrinstown Derby Trial and has been well-backed in recent weeks.

As expected, Joseph O’Brien maintains his partnership with the favourite Australia, while Seamie Heffernan is aboard the Chester Vase winner Orchestra and Colm O’Donoghue is on Dee Stakes winner Kingfisher.

Michael Stoute’s Snow Sky has suffered a scare ahead of Saturday’s race after banging a joint in his box overnight.

The Khalid Abdullah-owned colt booked his place in the Epsom line-up with an impressive display in the Lingfield Derby Trial, after which connections decided to let him take his chance in the blue riband.

After a smooth preparation, Abdullah’s racing manager Teddy Grimthorpe issued a statement reporting that the colt’s participation is now under threat.

He said: “Michael Stoute has reported that the above colt (Snow Sky) banged a joint overnight. He will be kept monitored over the next 24 hours and a decision on his participation in the Investec Derby will be made thereafter.”

One horse who remains on target for the Classic is Dermot Weld’s Fascinating Rock, who has done everything asked of him this season.

The colt progressed from winning a Leopardstown maiden to claim the Ballysax at Navan and was then awarded the Derrinstown in the stewards’ room after being touched off by Ebanoran.

While Weld’s Oaks hopeful Tarfasha would be unsuited by any rain that falls before the meeting gets underway, jockey Pat Smullen is unconcerned what the weather does before the Derby as Fascinating Rock has already shown his versatility.

“I think nice ground would be his ideal thing, as it would for most horses, but if the weather broke and it came up soft, he has handled bad ground twice so far this year which is a plus, but I’ve always felt he will be a better horse on nicer ground,” Smullen told At The Races.

“Whatever the weather does it won’t inconvenience him.”

Meanwhile Epsom clerk of the course Andrew Cooper believes the going for tomorrow’s Investec Oaks will “not be far off good”.

A total of six millimetres of rain had fallen overnight and into yesterday afternoon, with more forecast in the evening.

However, a dry and warm day is expected today which Copper feels will negate any further rainfall leaving the ground almost as it is now.

“We had been dry since 7am up until having a shower about 3pm,” said Cooper.

“That will have amounted to about a millimetre and we had five overnight. There’s the possibility of more tonight but it should have cleared by midnight.

“We’re calling it good, good to soft in places.

“Tomorrow is supposed to be dry and fresh, around 20C, and Friday day will be dry and humid. There’s a risk of thunder on Friday night, however.

“I think for the Oaks, we’ll be looking at ground that will not be far off good.”

A total of 17 fillies have been declared for the Classic, including Dermot Weld’s Tarfasha, a proven good ground performer, so connections will be pleased the heavier rain is not due until after the race

Her jockey Pat Smullen told At The Races: “I just hope they don’t have much more rain and it dries out as she’s a very good moving filly.

“If it did come down, she wouldn’t be a certain runner.

“She’s done well from two to three. She was a weak little filly last year, she wasn’t over-raced and she was given plenty of time over the winter. She developed well.”

Tarfasha is owned by Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, as is one of the favourites, John Gosden’s Taghrooda.

Aidan O’Brien’s Marvellous has overtaken Taghrooda at the top of the market with some bookmakers after a brilliant display in the Irish 1,000 Guineas.

She is the choice of Joseph O’Brien, with Ryan Moore riding stablemate Palace and Seamie Heffernan on Dazzling.

David Simcock is one of a number of trainers with more than one chance.

He runs the Musidora winner Madame Chiang and Momentus, who finished third in the Lingfield Oaks Trial behind Ralph Beckett’s supplemented Honor Bound, the choice of Jim Crowley over stablemate Regardez.

Crowley chose Beckett’s Secret Gesture last year rather than Talent, with the latter beating her stable companion.

“Both Regardez and Honor Bound are in good shape and I am very happy with their wide draws (13 and 15) on the basis that Secret Gesture was compromised by her inside draw last year,” said Beckett.

“They would handle more give in the ground than is likely to be the case – I think it will be good ground which means there are no excuses for anybody. They would both appreciate a downpour but that does not look as if it is going to happen.

“Honor Bound’s work last week was good and although I doubt that her Lingfield Oaks win represents strong form, she was very keen through the race and did not exactly get a charmed trip.

“She did not have the rub of the green yet she still won, so you could rate her a bit better than the bare result.

“She did not look where she was going coming round the bend at Lingfield) yet still came around it as if she was on rails, so her handling the track at Epsom is the least of my worries.

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