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The Punter: O’Brien chasing his Derby winner

If Sea The Stars had not been around last year, Aidan O’Brien would have had the 1-2-3 in the Epsom Derby.

Instead, he had to settle for second third fourth, fifth and seventh from his five entries.

Many a trainer would have been delighted but not O’Brien, as it’s winning that counts.

Believe it or not, the ‘Blue Riband’ of British racing has not gone back to Ballydoyle since High Chaparral won in 2002.

On that June day, the Tipperary trainer had the first two with the highly-touted favourite Hawk Wing finishing second, beaten two lengths.

Jockey Mick Kinane had the choice of mounts but picked the wrong one and there were a few wry smiles that the wrong ’un had obliged, especially as it was another 12 lengths back to the third.

A similar scenario could emerge on Saturday week, now that O’Brien has the first four in the ante-post betting, headed by 2000 Guineas failure St Nicholas Abbey.

Johnny Murtagh has taken over as work rider on St Nicholas and that is an indication that he will be on board on Derby day.

It is unlikely that Jan Vermeer will oppose him but instead, will go for the French Derby and that’s why the 2-1 about Abbey should be taken now as that price will disappear once Murtagh declares his hand. Mind you, he has been wrong before!

Belfast Telegraph