Australia still very hot for Aidan O'Brien
Published 06/06/2014 | 12:30
Aidan O'Brien's classy market leader Australia is among 16 final declarations for tomorrow's Investec Derby at Epsom, with Michael Stoute's Lingfield trial winner Snow Sky the only late scratching after banging a joint on Wednesday.
The defection of James Doyle's intended mount caused another shuffle in Godolphin's jockey bookings, as the Newmarket establishment's new handler Charlie Appleby once again eschewed Mickael Barzalona and Silvestre de Sousa in favour of the fashionable Doyle for the 66/1 shot Pinzolo.
Joining Barzalona on the bench will be Sheikh Mohammed's former long-time ally Frankie Dettori, who will watch the Group One from the sidelines for a third year in a row.
Barzalona is replaced by Kevin Manning on Sudden Wonder (66/1), while Kieren Fallon retains the ride aboard Saeed Bin Suroor's True Story (12/1) ahead of De Sousa, though the Brazilian has fallen in for the ride on William Haggas' outsider Our Channel.
The remainder of the jockey bookings are as has been flagged, with Australia, still easy to back at 6/4, drawn in stall 12 and stablemates Geoffrey Chaucer in seven, Orchestra in 14 and Kingfisher widest of all in 16.
Roger Varian's Kingston Hill, drawn one off the rail in stall two, has generally usurped Geoffrey Chaucer as the 6/1 second favourite, though the Irish contingent has plenty of depth to it with Dermot Weld's Fascinating Rock and John Oxx's Ebanoran both live 16/1 shots to land the prize.
Joseph O'Brien, who won the Derby aboard Camelot as a 19-year-old in 2012, has given an upbeat report on Australia's chances of securing his father a historic third successive triumph in the premier Classic.
"Since he came into the yard and since he started working, he was always a very good horse," he said of the Guineas third.
"He's bred to stay the trip, he's bred to handle the track and he's probably bred to win the Derby," he added.
A field of eight will go to post for tomorrow's Coronation Cup, with O'Brien's Ruler Of The World and Ernest Hemingway withdrawn as expected, leaving French stars Cirrus Des Aigles and Flintshire the only two runners rated 120 or higher in what is an intriguing contest.