O’Brien Aims for Record in Investec Derby
Photo courtesy of Eclipse Sportswire
By Emily Shields for TVG
The most important classic for three-year-olds in the United Kingdom is the Investec Derby (G1), postponed from June until July 4 at Epsom Downs on Saturday. The 1 ½ mile race tops a card of seven races including its sister race, the 2020 Investec Oaks (G1).
The Investec Derby – traditionally the Epsom Derby – dates back to 1780. It is the second leg of the English Triple Crown, preceded by the 2000 Guineas (G1). Trainer Aidan O’Brien is currently tied for the most wins in the race with seven, but is a virtual lock to break that record in his career as he enters several runners each year, and has finished first, second, and third a whopping seven times. This year, his brigade includes seven runners at the second to last entries stage.
The best of those might be Mogul. The son of Galileo was a two-time winner last year, and wasn’t cranked when finishing fourth of six as the favorite in the Group 2 King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot. This well-regarded colt is a half-brother to millionaire Japan and group winners Secret Gesture and Sir Isaac Newton.
Vatican City was second behind top runner Siskin in the Irish 2000 Guineas (G1) on June 12. That was only the third start for the son of Galileo who is out of a full sister to champion Giant’s Causeway. He broke his maiden in try number two at Dundalk in October, scoring in a 14-horse field.
Armory is yet another son of Galileo out of the Danehill Dancer mare After. He has won three of his eight starts with two seconds and two thirds. As a juvenile, Armory was a Group 2 winner at the Curragh, and finished second behind division standout Pinatubo in Group 1 company. He was fourth in the Irish 2000 Guineas, beaten 2 ½ lengths.
Russian Emperor, Serpentine, Amhran Na Bhfiann, and Mythical complete O’Brien’s potential runners.
Several horses have a major shot to defeat O’Brien, topped by race favorite English King. The son of Derby winner Camelot (GB) has won two of his three starts for trainer Ed Walker. He broke his maiden on a synthetic surface in November, then was off until the June 5 Derby Trial at Lingfield, which he won by 2 ¾ lengths. Jockey Tom Marquand has lost the mount to Frankie Dettori.
Kameko is an American-bred son of Kitten’s Joy. Andrew Balding trains the three-time winner, who has never been worse than second. He was a smashing winning of the QIPCO 2000 Guineas (G1) last out, defeating the O’Brien-trained Wichita by a neck. He was a two-time winner as a juvenile, including the Group 1 Vertem Futurity Trophy on Newcastle’s synthetic surface.
Pyledriver upset the field when winning the King Edward VII That was his third win in six starts, but the William Muir-trained son of Harbour Watch (Ire) was getting his first stakes win in that event. He had previously been Group 3 placed at Kempton.
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