Betfred Derby – Class Of 2024 Unfolds

Betfred Derby - 1 June

Godolphin’s pair of Arabian Crown and Ancient Wisdom remain together with City Of Troy in next month’s Betfred Derby after just under half of the horses entered for the Classic were removed on Tuesday.

Auguste Rodin (Ryan Moore) gets the better of outsider King Of Steel (Kevin Stott) to win the big one at the 2023 Betfred Derby (Pic – Candiese Lenferna)

A total of 41 colts are in contention for the race at Epsom on 1 June, 13 of which are trained by Aidan O’Brien for Coolmore, and three by Charlie Appleby for Godolphin.

Arabian Crown is the general 4-1 favourite for the Derby after his scintillating seasonal success in the Classic Trial at Sandown last month. He replaced City Of Troy at the top of the market after last year’s champion two-year-old was most disappointing, finishing unplaced when odds-on favourite in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket last weekend.

However, UK bookmakers subsequently priced up City Of Troy join-favourite alongside Arabian Crown after Aidan O’Brien confirmed Epsom remained the plan for the son Justify.

O’Brien blames himself for treating City Of Troy like “too much of a god through the winter” and the champion trainer feels freshness had a huge part to play in the colt’s spectacularly underwhelming comeback in the Guineas on Saturday.

After so much talk about City Of Troy potentially being Coolmore’s Frankel this year, suddenly it is Coolmore’s great rivals Godolphin who hold all the aces when it comes to the three-year-old colts’ division.

Arabian Crown showed he had no issues with the ten-furlong trip last year when winning the Group 3 Zetland Stakes in October, so William Buick had no concerns about making most of the running in the Sandown Derby Trial.

As the remainder of the field were looking to reel him in two and a half furlongs out, Buick quickened again on the market leader and galloped up the hill to slam Macduff by three and a quarter lengths.

Buick commented post-race: “Arabian Crown is a very uncomplicated horse and I think everyone will be pleased with that, I certainly was and it’s quite testing out there. It’s early in the season and they are entitled to improve. I would be as confident as you can be that he’ll stay a mile and a half.”

He added: “Experience-wise, it would not worry me either way if he had another race before Epsom, but he’s ticking all the boxes prior to it. Epsom is Epsom and you never know how they are going to handle it until the day, but I couldn’t be happier with him.”

Ancient Wisdom is the other Godolphin representative who looks a major player for the blue riband event. Another son of Dubawi, he was an impressive winner of the Gr1 Futurity Trophy at Doncaster last season and is entered in the Dante at York on the 16 May.

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