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O'Brien unveils powerful hand at Ulster Derby

 

By Ron McKnight

The Ulster Derby takes place on Saturday at Down Royal with Aidan O'Brien responsible for a quarter of the 20-strong field.

The historic £100,000 feature has been won in past years by high class horses, notably Media Puzzle in the millennium year, the horse going on to claim the Melbourne Cup two years later so supplying Dermot Weld with his second victory in the 'race that stops a nation'.

Stellar Mass won two years ago prior to finishing third in the Irish Derby at the Curragh a couple of weeks later.

A total of 20 horses remained at yesterday's forfeit stage - five trained by champion handler O'Brien and a duo due to represent his son Joseph.

Jim Bolger, trainer of Stellar Mass, has a pair engaged - Change Of Velocity and Cineara - while Dermot Weld is also doubly represented with the Aga Khan-owned brace Zamroudpour and Sheberghan.

Down Royal manager Mike Todd said: "I'm thrilled with the quality of the Derby entries and by the many top rated jumpers entered for Friday evening."

Friday's meeting is restricted to hurdles with Dixie Lee and the high class Jer's Girl catching the eye in the opening mares hurdle.

The maiden hurdle attracts a maximum field including State Of Nirvana, runner-up on May Day at the venue.

A total of 142 horses have been entered on Derby day and Bolger has a duo engaged in the supporting feature, the Ulster Oaks, including the Godolphin-owned Active Approach.

Belfast Telegraph

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