Despite dominating the trials and having numerous entries already in the race, trainer Aidan O’Brien has said this week that the impressive Chester Vase winner Sir Dragonet could be supplemented into the race next Monday at a cost of £85,000.
Unraced as a two-year-old but unbeaten in two runs this year, Sir Dragonet was thought of as a French Derby type but given that he stays the mile-and-a-half so well it seems he will be rerouted to Epsom.
A decision on the colt’s participation or otherwise in the Derby on June 1st will be made later in the week, but it appears Epsom is now far more likely than Chantilly with the Coolmore team never having shied away from the fact that the horses they breed are pretty much done so to get to the Derby and it remains their number one target.
Along with Anthony Van Dyck, Broome, Cape Of Good Hope and Circus Maximus, Sir Dragonet is part of an enviable Classic team at O’Brien’s disposal with all of the Ballydoyle contenders having done exactly what has been asked of them in the trials at Leopardstown, Chester, Epsom and Lingfield.
What is particularly scary for O’Brien’s rivals is the fact that, despite all these victories, he maintains that he has been easier on the horses in the trials this year and so there should be plenty of improvement to come from his string.
Given that he won the race back in 2017 with 40/1 shot Wings Of Eagles, we can’t ignore the apparent subs either with Norway likely to line-up at Epsom. Japan drifted like a barge before the Dante but apparently only went there to get a run into himself and has come on well since then, making him too another live contender. Mohawk it seems will go to France.
O’Brien’s grip on this race is no secret given the amount of Galileo’s he gets to train. The likes of Camelot and Australia have done the business in recent years but unlike in the 1000 and 2000 Guineas the Tipperary trainer still can’t quite dominate in this race as he does elsewhere.
Godolphin, winning owners last year with Masar, will feel unlucky in having Quorto injured and not seeing a good trial from the likes of Al Hilalee or Line Of Duty, but they will no doubt still be represented.
Dante winner Telecaster is high on many lists while Bangkok and Madhmoon clearly have plenty of ability too. Sir Dragonet is the current favourite at a general 7/2 with Broome and Anthony Van Dyck close behind at 4/1 and 5/1 respectively.
Jockey bookings will be very interesting should O’Brien allow his large team all to run and, despite some notable absentees, this year the race looks strong so keep a good eye on this form when the three-year-olds meet the older horses in the Eclipse and King George Stakes a little later in the summer.