There are just over 12 weeks until the 240th running of the G1 Investec Derby, the premier Classic and the Greatest Flat Race in the World, at Epsom Downs Racecourse on Saturday, June 1.
The 2019 renewal of the historic race over a mile and a half, Britain’s richest at £1.5 million, has 96 contenders remaining following the March 5 scratchings’ deadline, details of which are revealed today.
The reigning British champion Flat trainer John Gosden has won the Investec Derby twice, most recently with Golden Horn in 2015, and the Newmarket-based handler has 16 contenders going forward, headed by last season’s champion two-year-old Too Darn Hot.
The son of Dubawi, owned by Lord Lloyd Webber and undefeated in four starts during 2018, finished last year with an authoritative success in the G1 Darley Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket and was named European champion two-year-old with a high rating of 126.
Also among the 16-strong Gosden-trained contingent are exciting maiden winners Baltic Song, Dubai Warrior (16/1), Humanitarian and Questionare.
Godolphin saw its famous royal blue silks carried to success for the first time in the 2018 Investec Derby by Masar and there are two entries currently engaged for the Maktoum family’s racing operations – the unraced pair Wirraway (John Gosden) and Mawsoof (Saaed bin Suroor), though the Godolphin-owned Quorto, trained by Charlie Appleby, is quoted as joint third favourite at 16/1 by Unibet.
Ireland’s champion Flat trainer Aidan O’Brien is chasing a record-equalling seventh Investec Derby success following the victories of Galileo (2001), High Chaparral (2002), Camelot (2012), Ruler of the World (2013), Australia (2014), and Wings of Eagles (2017).
The master of Ballydoyle has 25 entries going forward in 2019, including G2 Futurity Stakes winner Anthony Van Dyck (14/1 second favourite), third behind Too Darn Hot in the Dewhurst Stakes, and G2 Beresford Stakes winner Japan (16/1).
His Highness The Aga Khan has won the Investec Derby five times, most recently with Harzand in 2016.
There are eight Aga Khan-owned entries currently engaged, including the unraced Zarkallani, who is out of the unbeaten five-time G1 winner Zarkava and therefore a half-brother to the G1 winner Zarak.
Upper Lambourn trainer Ed Walker has yet to saddle an Investec Derby runner, but has a contender this year in Ginistrelli. The son of Frankel is owned by Bjorn Nielsen and Eastwind Racing Ltd and is a half-brother to the G3 winner Gravitation.
After finishing fourth on debut at Salisbury in October, Ginistrelli ended 2018 by winning a mile novice race at Newmarket later the same month.
Walker said: “Ginistrelli has wintered very well and we have been delighted with his progress.
“He was a big, backward type and we were impressed with his performance at Newmarket at the back-end of last year.
“He has matured over the winter and I think the plan with him is to start in a small novice event. I think he is a horse who needs a bit more experience, but he’s in the Derby and the race is definitely something in our minds.
“The worry could be that the Derby just comes too quick for him, but we will see how we get on in the early stages of the season.
“We will start off somewhere small and then build him up, but he is a very exciting horse and we’re looking forward to the future with him.”
96 who remain entered
ALBUQUERQUE (IRE), ALFAATIK, ANTHONY VAN DYCK (IRE), APPARATE ASAD (IRE), BALTIC SONG (IRE), BANGKOK (IRE),
BARBADOS (IRE), BARREG BROOME (IRE), BUCKHURST (IRE), CADRE DU NOIR (USA), CAPE OF GOOD HOPE (IRE), CASANOVA CIRCUS MAXIMUS (IRE), COEUR D’OR (IRE), CONSTANTINOPLE (IRE), DREADNOUGHTUS, DUBAI WARRIOR, EAGLES BY DAY (IRE), EL MISK EMINENCE (IRE), EMIRATES EMPIRE (IRE), FIRST IN LINE, FOX TAL, FRESNO (IRE), GEORGEVILLE GINISTRELLI (IRE), GODZILLA (IRE), GREAT BEAR, GRENADIER GUARD (IRE), GUANDI (USA), HARPO MARX (IRE), HAWA BLADI (IRE), HAZRAN (IRE), HE WILL CALL (FR), HIROSHIMA, HOLY KINGDOM (IRE), HTILOMINLO, HUMANITARIAN (USA), IL PARADISO (USA), INVICTUS SPIRIT, JAHBATH, JAPAN, JUST HUBERT (IRE), KASAMAN (FR), KHUZAAM (USA), KING PELLINOR (IRE), LAKE MCKENZIE (IRE), LANDA BEACH (IRE), LOGICIAN LOOK CLOSELY, MACKAAR (IRE), MAKMOUR (FR), MANNGUY, MAWSOOF (USA), METIER (IRE), MIGHTY MATILDA, MOHAWK (IRE), MOUNT EVEREST (IRE), MUBARIZ, NATTY NIGHT, NORWAY (IRE), OLD GLORY (IRE), PACIFIC OCEAN (IRE), PASLEY (IRE), PERSIAN MOON (IRE), PONDUS , PREJUDICE, PRIVATE SECRETARY, QUESTIONARE, RAKAN, SHENDAM (FR), SHENNAN (IRE), SO HIGH SOFT LIGHT (FR), SOUTH PACIFIC, SOVEREIGN (IRE), SPACE WALK, SURFMAN, SWIFT WING, SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE, TANKERVILLE (USA), TECHNICIAN (IRE), THREE COMETS (GER), TOO DARN HOT, TRAVEL ON TURNBERRY ISLE (IRE), WALDSTERN, WARGRAVE (IRE) WESTERN AUSTRALIA (IRE), WIRRAWAY (USA), ZARAFSHAN (IRE), ZARKALLANI (FR), ZUBA ZUENOON (IRE)