Aidan O'Brien: focused on Epsom. Lorraine O'Sullivan/INPHO
holy grail

Aidan O'Brien's expectations high for Epsom Derby challenge

Sir Dragonet is a best-priced 7-2 favourite for the Derby and is set to be joined by a host of stablemates.

IRELAND’S CHAMPION TRAINER Aidan O’Brien had a word of warning for those planning to get the better of his huge array of Investec Derby trial winners at Epsom – you ain’t seen nothing yet.

The Ballydoyle trainer has dominated the build-up to the Classic, landing major British prep races at Chester, Lingfield and Epsom as well as Ireland’s key warm-up event at Leopardstown. He is bidding for a record-equalling seventh triumph in the race and reckons there will be even better to come from his hugely powerful team in the Derby itself a week on Saturday.

“They have done what has been asked and we’ve consciously been easier on the horses this year than before,” O’Brien said. “They’ll come forward for their trials.”

Sir Dragonet could head a seven-strong Epsom team for the trainer, who is bidding to match Robert Robson, John Porter and Fred Darling as a seven-time winner.

The Prix du Jockey Club had been mentioned as an option for the wide-margin Chester Vase winner but he will instead be supplemented for Epsom at a cost of £85,000 next Monday.

“Epsom is always where we want to be,” O’Brien said. “The lads would prefer Sir Dragonet went to Epsom rather than France. We don’t have to make our mind up until the supplementary stage, but we’re favouring Epsom.

“John [Magnier] has always considered Epsom to be the holy grail. He’s always been a very easy horse at home and has never tried to stand out from the crowd – what we’ve asked him to do he’s done really well.”

Sir Dragonet is a best-priced 7-2 favourite for the Derby and is set to be joined by a host of stablemates, including the winners of the Dee Stakes (Circus Maximus), Lingfield Derby Trial (Anthony Van Dyck), Blue Riband Trial (Cape Of Good Hope) and Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial (Broome), plus Vase second Norway and Dante Stakes fourth Japan.

Gavan Casey, Murray Kinsella and Andy Dunne look at Ireland’s past in Super Rugby, the creative shift needed in Irish rugby and Peter O’Mahony tells us about his love of gardening..:

The42 Rugby Weekly / SoundCloud

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