Michael Kinane will attempt to roll back the years when he seeks to emulate Galileo’s success in 2001 on the Aidan O’Brien-trained Oratorio in the Vodafone Derby at Epsom on Saturday.
The jockey has picked up the ride aboard the Irish 2000 Guineas runner-up after Ballydoyle stable jockey Kieren Fallon came down in favour of Dee Stakes winner Gypsy King.
O’Brien is responsible for four of the 14 runners following today’s final declaration stage and will also saddle Almighty (Pat Smullen) and Grand Central (Jimmy Fortune).
Kinane will be having just his second ride for the trainer since the pair ended a successful five-year relationship in November 2003 – he is on Silk And Scarlet in tomorrow’s Vodafone Oaks.
Aside from the Derby glory enjoyed with Galileo in 2001, Kinane also finished runner-up in the blue riband aboard Hawk Wing in 2002 and won the 1993 renewal on Henry Cecil’s Commander In Chief.
Of the parting of the ways with O’Brien, after which Kinane became stable jockey to John Oxx, he told At The Races: “We never fell out, we just had a change of direction.
“We had tremendous success over the years and there is no ill feeling between anybody.
“I was down for either Gypsy King or Oratorio, depending on what Kieren opted for. I didn’t have any decision to make and it was easy for me for a change – I was just waiting to see how he called it.
“I was impressed with Oratorio last year when he beat Democratic Deficit at the Curragh and he has run two good trials. He ran on well at Newmarket and the Curragh, and I think the Irish Guineas is the better of the two Guineas from this year.
“He is out of a Vaguely Noble mare, has loads of experience and if he strays the trip, will give me a very good ride.
“A middle draw is always the best as it gives you more options and I am happy with the 10 draw. I will let the race unfold and probably play my hand later as the sure stayers will be playing theirs early.
“He compares favourably with my past Derby winners in an open year as there are question marks about a lot of the favourites in the race.”
Motivator has headed the market since winning the Dante Stakes at York last month, but Kinane believes a combination of good ground and Epsom’s undulations could be the undoing of the Michael Bell-trained colt.
He said: “There is no doubt that he is a horse with a great deal of ability but if the ground dries out then I would worry about him coming down Epsom – he definitely wants a bit of ease in the ground in my opinion.”
In addition to O’Brien’s quartet, Irish interests will be represented by the David Wachman-trained Fracas, winner of two Classic trials this season.
Godolphin rely on Irish 2000 Guineas winner Dubawi and have taken out French Guineas winner Shamardal, as expected.
He was the only withdrawal at the final declaration stage and is due to run in Sunday’s French Derby instead.
John Dunlop will be double-handed with Lingfield Derby Trial winner Kong and Predominate Stakes winner Unfurled, while David Elsworth runs Dante runner-up The Geezer.
The John Hammond-trained Walk In The Park is the sole French raider, while Clive Brittain has declared Chester Vase winner Hattan.
The latter’s jockey Seb Sanders said: “He can only beat what’s put in front of him, but the horse doesn’t even know he’s a racehorse yet. Whether he’s going to be forward enough for the Derby we will have to wait and see on Saturday.
“He has definitely got that class and he has definitely got the calibre for that type of race. I’m very hopeful, I really don’t think he’s a 40-1 shot.
“You can’t knock Motivator, he’s won a Group One, and Dubawi has great form in the Classics, so I think those two will be the ones to beat.
“I’m very hopeful, though. Hattan is a definite stayer and will go on any ground, I just wouldn’t know how good he is at the moment.”
Outsiders First Row and Kings Quay complete the line-up.
Gypsy King, Dubawi and Motivator have been drawn next to each other in stalls three, four and five, with 250-1 shot Kings Quay getting the rail draw in one.
Unfurled will start widest of all in stall 14, with Fracas next door in 13.
Vodafone Derby betting:
Coral: 9-4 Motivator, 4-1 Gypsy King, 9-2 Dubawi, 8-1 Oratorio, 10-1 The Geezer, 11-1 Fracas, 12-1 Walk In The Park, 14-1 Grand Central, 16-1 Kong, 25-1 Hattan, 33-1 Unfurled, 40-1 Almighty, 100-1 First Row, 150-1 Kings Quay.
William Hill: 5-2 Motivator, 7-2 Gypsy King, 5-1 Dubawi, 8-1 Oratorio, 10-1 The Geezer, 11-1 Fracas, 14-1 Walk In The Park, 16-1 Grand Central, 20-1 Kong, 22-1 Hattan, 33-1 Unfurled, 50--1 Almighty, 150-1 First Row, 200-1 Kings Quay.