A total of 29 horses remain engaged in The Cazoo Derby following today’s scratchings deadline. The mile and a half Group One Classic takes place at Epsom Downs on Saturday 5th June, day two of The Cazoo Derby Festival.
There were no surprise defections today with trainer Aidan O’Brien, who is seeking a record-extending ninth victory in the premier Classic, responsible for eight remaining entries, headed by current ante-post favourite Bolshoi Ballet, who was so impressive when taking the Group Three Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial by six lengths. It is 20 years since his sire Galileo won the same contest prior to scoring at Epsom Downs.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Mill Reef’s Derby success. The son of Never Bend remains the only horse to win The Derby. Eclipse Stakes, King George VI & Queen Elizabeth II Stakes and Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in the same season, while he went on to sire two Derby winners in Shirley Heights (1978) and Reference Point (1987). Mill Reef was trained by Ian Balding and 50 years on his son Andrew is hoping for a first success in The Cazoo Derby with Youth Spirit, who warmed up for Epsom Downs by taking the Group Three Chester Vase. Andrew Balding has saddled seven Derby runners to date, faring best with Khalifa Sat, who outran his 50-1 odds to finish runner-up to Serpentine in 2020. Like Khalifa Sat, Youth Spirit is owned by Ahmad Al Shaikh.
Andrew Balding said: “The Derby is still the plan for Youth Spirit. He seems fine after his run at Chester, he hasn’t done a lot since but he’s come out of the race well.
“The key thing to find out that day was whether he stayed the trip and he saw it out well. He’ll go there with no stamina doubts, which there will be about some of the field and that’s got to be to his advantage but it’s a much stronger race than the Chester Vase was so he’s got to up his game again.
“I don’t think that the track will faze him. He’s a very well balanced horse and he handled Chester well so he shouldn’t have a problem with Epsom Downs. He’s a different horse to Khalifa Sat, but both are very talented and if we can get the same result as last year with Youth Spirit we’d be delighted.
“It’s great for the owner (Ahmad Al Shaikh) to have another contender for the race. He’s a big supporter of racing and he’s got plenty of horses in training with many yards so it’s lovely for him to have another candidate for the Epsom Derby.
“It’s the most important race of the year for any Flat trainer I think and to have a horse good enough to run in it is an achievement in itself – anything else on the day would be a massive bonus.”
The next confirmation stage for The Cazoo Derby is on Monday 31st May, when there is also a final chance to enter with the £63,750 supplementary entry stage.
THE CAZOO DERBY (Group 1) (British Champions Series)
EPSOM DOWNS. SATURDAY, 5TH JUNE
Horse Wgt Owner Trainer
Adayar (IRE) 9 0 Godolphin Charlie Appleby
Bolshoi Ballet (IRE) 9 0 Sue Magnier, Michael Tabor & Derrick Smith Aidan O’Brien IRE
Earlswood (GB) 9 0 G. Davies Johnny Murtagh IRE
El Drama (IRE) 9 0 Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum Roger Varian
Etonian (IRE) 9 0 Julie Wood Richard Hannon
Gear Up (IRE) 9 0 Teme Valley Mark Johnston
Gloucestershire (USA) 9 0 Team Valor & Manton Park Martyn Meade
Hector de Maris (IRE) 9 0 Sue Magnier, Michael Tabor & Derrick Smith Aidan O’Brien IRE
High Definition (IRE) 9 0 Derrick Smith/Sue Magnier/Michael Tabor/Westerberg Aidan O’Brien IRE
Hurricane Lane (IRE) 9 0 Godolphin Charlie Appleby
John Leeper (IRE) 9 0 Anamoine Ltd Ed Dunlop
Kyprios (IRE) 9 0 Moyglare Stud Farm & Mrs John Magnier & Michael Tabor Aidan O’Brien IRE
Lone Eagle (IRE) 9 0 Ballylinch Stud & Aquis Farm Martyn Meade
Mac Swiney (IRE) 9 0 Jackie Bolger Jim Bolger IRE
Mohaafeth (IRE) 9 0 Shadwell Estate Company Ltd William Haggas
Mojo Star (IRE) 9 0 Amo Racing Limited Richard Hannon
One Ruler (IRE) 9 0 Godolphin Charlie Appleby
Sandhurst (IRE) 9 0 Sue Magnier & Michael Tabor & Derrick Smith Aidan O’Brien IRE
Seattle Creek (GB) 9 0 Luke Comer Luke Comer IRE
Seattle Sound (IRE) 9 0 Luke Comer Luke Comer IRE
Sir Lamorak (IRE) 9 0 Derrick Smith, Sue Magnier, Michael Tabor Aidan O’Brien IRE
Southern Lights (IRE) 9 0 Aquis Racing & Al Mamoura Partnership Joseph Patrick O'Brien IRE
Stay Well (GB) 9 0 Ben & Sir Martyn Arbib Hughie Morrison
Taipan (FR) 9 0 Fiona Carmichael Jessica Harrington IRE
The Mediterranean (IRE) 9 0 Derrick Smith, Sue Magnier & Michael Tabor Aidan O’Brien IRE
Third Realm (GB) 9 0 Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum Roger Varian
Van Gogh (USA) 9 0 Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith & Sue Magnier & Diane Nagle Aidan O’Brien IRE
Yibir (GB) 9 0 Godolphin Charlie Appleby
Youth Spirit (IRE) 9 0 Ahmad Al Shaikh Andrew Balding
29 entries remain