Magician set to sidestep Derby date

Irish 2000 Guineas winner Magician is set to sidestep Saturday’s Investec Derby at Epsom, according to owners Coolmore Stud.

Trainer Aidan O’Brien raised the possibility of the Galileo colt bidding for a quickfire Classic double when leaving his Curragh hero in the Derby field at Monday’s five-day stage.

However, with Coolmore having a further five runners in the mile-and-a-half contest, including long-time leading fancy Battle Of Marengo, Dee Stakes winner Magician is set to be saved for another day.

Coolmore tweeted: “At the moment Ballydoyle has 5 intended Epsom Derby runners (Battle Of Marengo, Festive Cheer, Flying The Flag, Ruler Of The World & Mars).

“It’s possible this could change depending on how the horses are in the morning prior to declaration.”

Another who is set to bypass Epsom is First Cornerstone, with trainer Andrew Oliver opting to wait for a day and head for Sunday’s French Derby at Chantilly instead.

The colt finished fifth on his seasonal reappearance behind Magician last week.

Barry Irwin, head of owners Team Valor, said: “The trainer called me this morning and said he wanted to go for the French Derby. The trainer is no dummy, so I’ll indulge him. The English Derby looked very tough anyway.”

One horse who is firmly on course for the race is Andreas Wohler’s German raider Chopin.

Wohler has won Group One races all over the world, but he is breaking new ground this weekend as he saddles the first German runner in the premier Classic.

Chopin was supplemented for the race after he was bought by Sheikh Fahad Al Thani’s Qatar Racing organisation on the back of an eight-length win in a German Group Three.

“I always watch the race every year,” Wohler told At The Races.

“Chopin is a very good horse, he’s the best three-year-old by far in Germany. His form is working out as the horse who was second to him last time was second in the German Guineas (Global Bang), so hopefully the form is good enough to run a very good race at Epsom.

“We thought about taking him to Epsom last week but it’s a long journey for the horse so we took him to Dusseldorf two weeks ago, the most undulating track in Germany, and he handled it very well.

“Jamie Spencer rode him and said he wouldn’t be worried about Epsom.

“He doesn’t mind what ground he has, but we believe he’s better on softer so we are happy it has rained.

“Sheikh Fahad became interested two days after his last race. He worked very well on Sunday, everything was fine afterwards and there was no reason not to supplement him.

“I rode in a race at Epsom 28 years ago, it was an amateur race and a great experience. I tried to take up the running going around Tattenham Corner, but we weren’t fast enough.

“I’ll leave tactics to Jamie as he has far more experience of Epsom than me.

“There is pressure as the first German runner, but you have to keep it as normal as you can.

“The main danger is Dawn Approach, for sure. I was there Guineas day and saw him live and he’s a really impressive horse. I watched the other trials and there were some other nice horses as well.

“I don’t think there will be a stamina problem, I think he’ll get the trip as he’s a very relaxed horse and you can ride him as you want to.”


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