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O'Brien trio in Ulster Derby bid

Down Royal Festival

By Ron McKnight

The field for Saturday's Magners Ulster Derby was reduced to 15 at yesterday's forfeit stage - however Irish champion trainer Aidan O'Brien still has a trio engaged.

Cradle Mountain, Fields Of Athenry and Ivanovich Goratov are set to represent Ballydoyle in the showpiece with the latter the current top weight.

Ger Lyons, who supplied the second and third last season, has Azzuri and Buenos Y Bobos engaged.

Jim Bolger also has a duo in the £100,000 race - Brightly Shining and Knocknagree - while Dermot Weld relies on Tuk Tuk in the Frankel colours of Khalid Abdullah.

Xebec (John Oxx), Vilman (Michael Halford), King Christophe (Patrick Prendergast), Hurricane Cass (Tommy Stack) and Botany Bay (Charles O'Brien) are other notables in the Derby field.

Eleven fillies have been entered for the Coolmore Stud Ulster Oaks, the supporting feature on Derby day.

Again O'Brien holds a strong hand with the top rated pair Easter and Outstanding while Bolger is doubly represented by Alertness and Ringside Humour.

Tyrone trainer Andy Oliver, whose team have hit top form, had a winner at Sligo on Monday and last week's Leopardstown winner Witty Repartee has been entered for the Ulster Oaks while the local handler also has Shipyard and Put The Boot In engaged at his local track.

David Wachman has a duo in the fillies feature with Back On Top and Laffina.

Top jockey Chris Hayes had a prep gallop round the Ulster Derby course with a Go Pro camera fitted to his helmet and the footage will be included in BBC Northern Ireland's live coverage of Saturday's big meeting.

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