Bobby Zen

Following Monday’s confirmation stage, there remains the possibility of a maximum field going to post for Saturday’s G1 Betfred Derby at Epsom, with City Of Troy (Justify) the standout name among 20 colts still in contention for the Classic.

Unbeaten in three starts as a two-year-old, City Of Troy is a short-priced favourite to provide trainer Aidan O’Brien with a record-extending tenth success in the Derby, despite disappointing on his return to action in the G1 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket. O’Brien could field up to six runners at Epsom, with the G1 Criterium de Saint-Cloud and G3 Derby Trial S. winner Los Angeles (Ire) (Camelot {GB}) also featuring in the first three in the ante-post betting. Diego Velazquez (Ire) (Frankel {GB}), Euphoric (GB) (Frankel {GB}), Illinois (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) and Portland (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}) make up the list of possible runners from Ballydoyle.

Last month’s G3 Ballysax S. winner Dallas Star (Fr) (Cloth Of Stars {Ire}) is the only other Irish-trained entry. He sports the familiar purple silks of Amo Racing–along with the Dominic Ffrench Davis trainees Mr Hampstead (Galileo {Ire}) and Padesha (Fr) (Wootton Bassett {GB})–and is set to be a first runner in the Derby for trainer Adrian Murray, who confirmed that he couldn’t be happier with his charge ahead of the big day on Saturday.

“Dallas Star is doing very well,” Murray said on a Zoom call organised by The Jockey Club. “The plan after he won the Ballysax was to go straight to the Derby. I have been very happy with him since Leopardstown–he is improving all the time and we are hoping for a big run.

“He had a racecourse gallop at Naas last week and we were very happy with how he went. We don’t really know much about him on quicker ground, although he handled it okay at Naas last week. If I had the chance, I would maybe be looking for a bit of ease in the ground.

“For me, it’s unbelievable to have a runner in the Derby and I’m very excited. It is a race I have been watching all my life and I’m sure it’s going to be a huge experience. We are not going over as favourite but we are delighted to be in the race and hopefully he has an each-way chance.”

The James Fanshawe-trained Ambiente Friendly (Ire) (Gleneagles {Ire}) is the bookmakers’ second favourite following his four-and-a-half-length victory in the Listed Lingfield Derby Trial S. last time, while last year’s G1 Futurity Trophy winner Ancient Wisdom (Fr) (Dubawi {Ire}) is the only other horse currently trading at single-figure odds behind City Of Troy, Ambiente Friendly and Los Angeles, having reappeared with an encouraging second in the G2 Dante S. at York.

Dancing Gemini (Ire) (Camelot {GB}), runner-up in the G1 Poule d’Essai des Poulains at Longchamp on his most recent start, and Macduff (GB) (Sea The Stars {Ire}), who filled the same position in the G3 Classic Trial, warmed up for the Derby by getting a feel for the track on a press morning last week, along with last-time-out novice winners, Deira Mile (Ire) (Camelot {GB}) and Voyage (GB) (Golden Horn {GB}).

One horse who already has winning form at Epsom is last month’s Listed Blue Riband Trial hero Bellum Justum (Ire) (Sea The Stars {Ire}), who represents Andrew Balding and King Power Racing and will be ridden by multiple champion jockey Oisin Murphy as he seeks a first victory in the Classic.

“The Derby and Oaks are incredibly prestigious races that I haven’t been fortunate enough to win yet,” said Murphy. “I dreamt of being part of them as a child and one day I’d like to get my name on the roll of honour. I missed out on the ride on Adayar in 2021 when Adam Kirby became available but hopefully luck will be on my side one day and it can happen.

“Bellum Justum won the trial at Epsom over a mile and a quarter. He’s a beautiful horse with a lot of quality. We don’t know how good he is, but we’ll find out on Derby Day. Andrew has had horses placed in the Derby and won an Oaks with Casual Look, so it would be a dream if we can take gold on Derby Day.”

Bellum Justum could be joined in the line-up by stable-mate Sayedaty Sadaty (Ire) (Anodin {Ire}), while the list of possible runners is completed by John and Thady Gosden’s God’s Window (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}), plus the Abdulla Al Mansoori-owned pair of Kamboo (Ire) (Awtaad {Ire}) and Tabletalk (Ire) (Camelot {GB}) after the latter was supplemented on Monday at a cost of £75,000.

The post City Of Troy One Of 20 Colts Left In Derby Picture At Five-Day Stage appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

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