O'Brien dominates Derby field

Aidan O’Brien is responsible for 36 of the 138 horses remaining in the Derby after the first forfeit stage as the Ballydoyle trainer looks to capture the £1.25m (€1.4m) Classic for a third time at Epsom on June 6.

Aidan O’Brien is responsible for 36 of the 138 horses remaining in the Derby after the first forfeit stage as the Ballydoyle trainer looks to capture the £1.25m (€1.4m) Classic for a third time at Epsom on June 6.

His team includes dual Group One scorer Mastercraftsman, Group Three winner Rip Van Winkle, and Westphalia, runner-up in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf after winning the Champagne Stakes at Doncaster.

Fame And Glory, Drumbeat and Age Of Aquarius – respectively first, second and fourth in last season’s Criterium de Saint-Cloud – are also engaged.

The Irish presence totals 51 with Jim Bolger, successful in 2008 with New Approach, accounting for six, among them Darley Dewhurst Stakes winner Intense Focus and the highly-regarded Gan Amhras.

Trainer John Oxx, who won the 2000 Derby with Sinndar, has a five-strong entry that includes Beresford Stakes winner Sea The Stars and runner-up Mourayan as well as Futurity Stakes victor Arazan.

The domestic team includes Group One Racing Post Trophy hero Crowded House, trained by Brian Meehan, the Marcus Tregoning-trained Taameer and Lingfield maiden winner Sans Frontieres, who could bid to give leading jump owner Robert Ogden a flat success at the highest level.

The Galileo colt cost 450,000 guineas as a yearling and is in training with Jeremy Noseda.

“It’s obviously early days but we have kept Sans Frontieres in the Derby and hopefully he will reappear at the Craven meeting at Newmarket in mid April,” said Ogden’s racing manager Barry Simpson.

“He had entries in some of the leading juvenile races last season but we decided not to run him because of the ground. There seemed little point in running him on soft ground at that point of the season and we decided to wait with him.

“The form of his Lingfield maiden didn’t work out particularly well but he won despite everything going wrong for him. I think that is the sign of a reasonable horse and he’s pleased us enough over the winter.

“We have always thought that he was a decent horse and he has been given time to develop. The plan is to see how he gets on at Newmarket and then see where we can go from there.”

This could be an exciting year on the racecourse for the Queen, who is represented in next week’s totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup by Barbers Shop.

She also owns a leading Oaks candidate in Enlightenment and two colts with live Derby hopes in Free Agent, winner of the Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot, and Autumn Stakes third Four Winds.

Godolphin have nine entries including several new recruits such as Kite Wood, winner of the Autumn Stakes when with Michael Jarvis, La De Two, who was formerly trained by Barry Hills and Racing Post Trophy third Skanky Biscuit, who has been recruited from the Meehan stable.

There are also five French-trained possibles, the Italian-trained Maimonides and three from Rashid Bouresly’s Middle-East stable adding further interest.

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