Blanco to bypass Epsom

Aidan O'Brien has confirmed Cape Blanco is to miss the Investec Derby in favour of the French version 24 hours later.

Aidan O'Brien has confirmed Cape Blanco is to miss the Investec Derby in favour of the French version 24 hours later.

Since winning the Dante Stakes at York, O'Brien had mooted the possibility that the unbeaten colt could miss the Epsom Classic in favour of the Prix du Jockey Club and that decision has now been confirmed.

Cape Blanco will be joined in France by Viscount Nelson.

The Ballydoyle handler also stated, as expected, that stable number one jockey Johnny Murtagh will ride new Derby favourite Jan Vermeer at Epsom, with Colm O'Donoghue on Midas Touch and Seamie Heffernan aboard At First Sight.

John Gosden's sole Derby success to date came in the shape of Benny The Dip in 1997 and this year's representative is Azmeel, winner of the Dee Stakes at Chester.

"He's a progressive horse. He ran three times last year but we probably shouldn't have run him the third time," Gosden told At The Races.

"Fortunately he was ridden by Mick Kinane who looked after the horse properly as he was still at the weak stage.

"I think the experience of running round Chester helps a horse grow up a lot and we think he has come on mentally since then and his work has been pleasing."

Godolphin moved to book Kieren Fallon for Al Zir on Tuesday and trainer Saeed bin Suroor expects a big improvement from his run in the Guineas.

"We're happy to use Kieren, he's a very good jockey. It's great to use him and he rides Epsom very well. He's won many races there," said Bin Suroor.

"He's a great jockey and he's in good form now. We've talked to him and he's happy to ride for us.

"I've liked this horse since last year. He's a good looking animal and his work always showed some class. He won at Newmarket and Doncaster and was third in the Racing Post Trophy.

"I was disappointed with him in the Guineas, but he's come back from the race very well.

"He's the best he's ever been and if he's good enough, he'll win. I'm so happy with the horse, he's running over the right distance, is in good condition and good form and we are looking to see a good run from him."

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