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Lanigan sure of right Sequence

By Chris McGrath

Their second child is due within days, but David Lanigan reported his wife and secretary to be still diligently at her desk in the office of their new stables in Lambourn.

Should things start happening sooner than expected, moreover, Amy knows just what to expect — above all on Saturday, when her husband will have no less a distraction than an unbeaten colt in the Derby.

“For our first-born, she drove herself to the hospital,” Lanigan confessed. “I joined her there after third lot.”

Nobody was expecting a great deal of Lanigan's first runner in an Epsom Classic, two years ago, but Meeznah ran Snow Fairy to a neck in the Oaks, her first start outside maiden company.

This time, the former assistant to Sir Henry Cecil finds himself saddling the third favourite, now as short as 8-1 in places.

The Irishman has brought unbeaten Main Sequence through the ranks quietly but quickly — and in only his fourth season, is plainly making parallel strides in his own career. At 36, he will be the youngest trainer in the race.

Nonetheless it seems a long time to Lanigan since he spent school holidays riding work for Vincent O'Brien at Ballydoyle.

Now he finds himself taking on a hot favourite from those same golden Co Tipperary acres, trained by O'Brien's record-breaking successor and namesake, Aidan.

“Just to get a Derby horse is a very hard thing to do, even for the best outfits,” Lanigan stressed.

“With all those great horses he has had, Aidan himself hasn't won it since High Chaparral, but I must say Camelot looks very impressive.”

Camelot is odds-on to put an end to that long sequence of Ballydoyle near-misses since 2002, but Main Sequence is now stabled in the same yard that produced Snow Knight, the 50-1 shot who upset another 2,000 Guineas winner, Nonoalco, in the 1974 Derby.

The colt's more immediate antecedents represent a departure from tradition, however.

After a 50-1 debut success, he won two handicaps before his Derby rehearsal at Lingfield was transferred from the saturated turf course to the all-weather.

“Everyone says it was an unconventional trial,” Lanigan said. “But we ran him there rather than in the Dee Stakes at Chester, where the ground was bottomless.”

Meanwhile, Davy Russell falls in for the plum ride on a freshened-up Loosen My Load at Punchestown this evening.

Andrew Lynch, who usually does the steering on Henry de Bromhead's eight-year-old, is sidelined with a broken leg following a nasty spill at Cork last week.

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