There are just over 12 weeks until the 240th running of the Gr1 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.
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.
Not surprisingly, Too Darn Hot is the clear favourite for the Investec Derby at 4/1 with Unibet, the official betting partner of the Investec Derby Festival.
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 (25 entries) 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.