Aidan O’Brien Dominates Derby Nominations At Latest Entry Stage

After the Mar. 7 scratching stage, 83 horses remain signed on for the 2023 G1 Derby at Epsom Downs on Saturday, June 3. Worth £1.5 million, the 1 1/2-mile contest is the richest race in Britain.

Of the 83, 45 are trained in Ireland and of that number, a colossal 31 are trained by Ballydoyle supremo Aidan O’Brien for various Coolmore partnerships. Top of the heap are Deep Impact (Jpn)’s G1 Vertem Futurity Trophy hero Auguste Rodin (Jpn) and the late Shadai kingpin’s son’s Victoria Road (Ire) (Saxon Warrior {Jpn}). The last-named won the GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Keeneland in November. The winning duo of Alfred Munnings (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}) and Tower Of London (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) are other potential Classic stars-in-waiting.

O’Brien’s sons, Joseph and Donnacha, field eight between them, led by Group 1 winners Proud And Regal (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) for the latter, and Al Riffa (Fr) (Wootton Bassett {GB}) for the former.

There are also three chances for His Majesty the King and Her Majesty the Queen Consort to scoop the Blue Riband this year, with the G1 QIPCO 2000 Guineas-nominated winner Slipofthepen (GB) (Knight Of Thunder {Ire}) trained by John and Thady Gosden, the William Haggas-trained group-placed Desert Hero (GB) (Sea The Stars {Ire}) and the winning Sir Michael Stoute charge Circle Of Fire (GB) (Almanzor {Fr}) all nominated. Stoute claimed the 2022 Derby with Desert Crown (GB) (Nathaniel {Ire}), and he also entered Crystal Mariner (Ire) (Sea The Stars {Ire}) for Robert Ng.

The Gosdens have the largest UK Derby arsenal with 15 colts nominated. Anchoring their brigade is George Strawbridge’s ‘TDN Rising Star’ Epictetus (Ire) (Kingman {GB}), who was second in the Vertem Futurity Trophy S. behind the aforementioned Auguste Rodin.

Of Andrew Balding’s quartet, three bear the colours of King Power Racing led by G2 Royal Lodge S. hero The Foxes (Ire) (Churchill {Ire}).

The second entry stage is set for Tuesday, Apr. 4.

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