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O'Brien holding Derby aces

Aidan O'Brien is a firm favourite to land his third Investec Derby at Epsom tomorrow.

The Ballydoyle trainer, successful with Galileo (2001) and High Chaparral (2002), is even money to take the blue riband prize with one of his three runners.

O'Brien is responsible for the 7-4 favourite Jan Vermeer, impressive winner of the Gallinule Stakes, as well as Midas Touch and rank outsider At First Sight.

Midas Touch, who staked his claim with victory in the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial at Leopardstown, has been trimmed to 11-2 from 6-1.

Splitting the O'Brien pair at |5-1 is Workforce and his trainer Sir Michael Stoute has revealed he took him to Lingfield, a similar track to Epsom, in an attempt to help overcome the colt's lack of race experience.

The Dante Stakes runner-up has had just two starts but Stoute, chasing a fifth Derby triumph, still expects the King's Best colt to run well.

“I took him to Lingfield for him to accelerate down the hill on a left-handed turn as he got the bit through his mouth at York,” said the Newmarket trainer.

“I think that was a one-off, we will be able to eliminate that sort of thing.

“He has sharpened up from his Dante race as one would expect. I'm just disappointed we didn't get two races into him.

“That was the original plan but in the spring he had a dirty scope and he wasn't really thriving with the weather we were having. He's a bit short on experience.

“At Epsom they have to be sharp mentally, they have to go for the openings when they are available, but the good thing is there are only 12 runners and not 24. That's a help.”

Coordinated Cut was one place behind Workforce when third to Cape Blanco in the Dante and his trainer Michael Bell hopes his contender has improved from the run.

“His preparation has gone very smoothly, he looks healthy and well and we are hopeful of a very good run,” he said.

“He has been training very well and he blew hard after the Dante, so I'm hoping there is some improvement to come.

“It's a relatively small field for the Derby so I don't think there's much significance in the draw (nine). They should be able to sort themselves out over a mile and a half with only 12 runners.”

Trainer Mark Tompkins walked the track yesterday and confirmed Ted Spread a certain runner.

He said: “It's good, good to firm in places. Barring accidents the horse will run.”

Epsom clerk of the course Andrew Cooper will decide today whether to do any further watering ahead of the Derby.

“I have no definite plan about watering — I am open minded. It is not out of the question that we will put some water on after racing tomorrow,” he said last night.

“If we did anything, it would probably just concern the home straight — the final three and a half furlongs or so.

“That area would take water okay but I would be wary of putting anything on the downhill section overnight.”

He added: “I will make a decision about whether to water during racing.”

Belfast Telegraph

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