Favourites stand ground for Vodafone Derby

All the leading fancies stood their ground as a total of 25 horses were left at the second forfeit stage for the Vodafone Derby today.

All the leading fancies stood their ground as a total of 25 horses were left at the second forfeit stage for the Vodafone Derby today.

Yeats, ante-post favourite for the premier Classic at Epsom on June 5, heads four entries for Aidan O’Brien.

The master of Ballydoyle is seeking his third success in four years after Galileo (2001) and High Chaparral (2002).

He can also call on Curragh maiden winner Book Of Kings, the highly-regarded Meath and Dante Stakes sixth Moscow Ballet.

Godolphin have a strong hand with UltimateBet.com 2000 Guineas second Snow Ridge, Doncaster conditions race victor Duke Of Venice and Dante runner-up Rule Of Law.

Simon Crisford, Godolphin’s racing manager, said: “We have left three horses in the Vodafone Derby today and it looks like we will have more than one runner.

“Frankie Dettori is confident he will be fit to ride and he will partner Snow Ridge, all being well, while Kerrin McEvoy will be on our second string.

“Rule Of Law ran well at York last week, while Duke Of Venice runs at the weekend.

“We hope to give Kerrin experience of Epsom next Wednesday at the Breakfast With The Stars event at the course – we won’t be working any of our Derby or Oaks contenders then, but hopefully Epsom will allow Kerrin to have a spin on another horse.”

The 2000 Guineas form is further represented by Newmarket third Azamour, trained for the Aga Khan by John Oxx, and the fourth-placed Grey Swallow from Dermot Weld’s Curragh stable.

Both are set to run in the Boylesports Irish 2000 Guineas on Saturday.

Weld is also represented by the progressive Cairdeas, a half-brother to Irish Derby winner Desert King. Desert King won a Navan maiden earlier this month and now carries the colours of Ireland’s president, Mary McAleese.

Michael Stoute, successful 12 months ago with Kris Kin, is represented by the Dante Stakes victor North Light and Almuraad, winner of a Leicester maiden last year.

David Elsworth also has two entries in Michael Tabor’s 2000 Guineas sixth Salford City and the maiden Massif Centrale.

The famous green, blue and white colours of the late Robert Sangster, successful on The Minstrel in 1977 and Golden Fleece in 1982, look set to be carried by Percussionist, an impressive winner of Lingfield’s Derby Trial earlier this month.

Marcus Tregoning is considering the blue riband for Elshadi, twice a winner over a mile last year but yet to make his seasonal debut.

France’s hopes rest with American Post, whose latest success came in the French 2000 Guineas at Longchamp on Sunday, and the Jean de Roualle-trained Return In Style.

Master William, trained by Michael Dickinson in the USA, and the Mick Channon-trained maiden Shaaban are unlikely starters, while the Eddie Lynam-trained Moncrieff is a gelding and therefore not qualified.

Vodafone Derby betting:

Ladbrokes: 9-4 Yeats, 3-1 Snow Ridge, 4-1 North Light, 14-1 Percussionist, Salford City, 16-1 Rule of Law, Ecomium, 20-1 Let The Lion Roar, 33-1 bar.

William Hill: 5-2 Yeats, 7-2 Snow Ridge, 4-1 North Light, 8-1 Day Flight (with a run), 10-1 American Post, 16-1 Antonius Pius, Ecomium, Percussionist, Rule Of Law, Salford City, 20-1 Bago, 25-1 Let The Lion Roar, Wolfe Tone, 33-1 bar.

Coral: 5-2 Yeats, 7-2 Snow Ridge, 11-2 North Light, 10-1 American Post, 12-1 Day Flight, Magritte, 16-1 Antonius Pius, Ecomium, Percussionist, Rule Of Law, 20-1 Always First, Andean, Bull Run, Sussex, Let The Lion Roar, 25-1 Meath, Wolfe Tone, 33-1 bar.

Tote: 5-2 Yeats, 7-2 Snow Ridge, 9-2 North Light, 12-1 American Post, 14-1 Ecomium, Salford City, 16-1 Azamour, Grey Swallow, Rule of Law, 20-1 Percussionist, 25-1 Book of Kings, Cairdeas, Let The Lion Roar, 33-1 Duke of Venice, 40-1 bar.

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