Aidan O’Brien goes in search of a seventh Derby on Saturday at Epsom.
The Ballydoyle trainer looks to dominate English Classics this season. O’Brien has already won the 1000 and 2000 Guineas at Newmarket.
The Derby is the defining race in flat racing, not just in terms of the performance of the winner but in terms of the future of the thoroughbred as a breed. The winner will become a stallion and make multiples of their on-course earnings at stud.
In the search for Derby glory, Aidan O'Brien trains seven of the Derby's 13 runners. Sir Dragonet is favourite for the race following his win at Chester. He has inexperience to overcome, but Ruler of the World won with a similar profile in 2013.
Broome will be ridden by Aidan’s son Donnacha, the apparent second string judged by jockey bookings. Broome won the two Derby trials at Leopardstown and looks to have an ideal temperament and running style to be at least competitive at Epsom.
Anthony van Dyke had become a bit of a forgotten horse prior to bolting up at Lingfield. He has excellent juvenile form and is ridden by Seamie Heffernan. Frankie Dettori has a rare ride for Aidan O’Brien, he will be on board Circus Maximus. This son of Galileo wasn’t beaten far in the old Racing Post Trophy and won well at Chester.
Japan is one of the few Ballydoyle runners to not win a trial. He was fourth, behind Telecaster, in the Dante at York. Japan won the Beresford Stakes at two, just like the great Sea the Stars. Wayne Lordan rides on Saturday. Then Sovereign and Norway are the other two, both priced at 33/1, but with the form to entitle their Epsom participation.
Aidan O’Brien’s role at Ballydoyle is to produce champion racehorses that will become champion stallions. He has done it in the past with Galileo among others. The 2001 derby winner is the daddy, literally when it comes to Derby pedigrees. Galileo is sire, grandsire or great grandsire to 12 of the 13 runners. He is sire of the second dam of the other runner, Sir Dragonet.
Galileo is king of Coolmore but it’s now time for the next generation of sires to step up to the mantle. Camelot and Australia, both Derby winners are the obvious heirs.
Aidan O’Brien’s position is key to the Coolmore breeding operation. On the track, the most important race for the Coolmore “lads” is winning the Derby at Epsom.