VISINDAR HEADS 33 GOING FORWARD FOR THE VODAFONE DERBY
The Andre Fabre-trained Visindar heads 33 horses going forward for the £1,250,000 Vodafone Derby, run at Epsom Downs on Saturday, June 3, following today’s forfeit stage, which represents a healthy increase on the 27 horses engaged in Europe’s richest race at this stage in 2005 and the 25 in 2004.
Visindar cemented his position at the head of the ante-post market for the premier Classic with an authoritative four-length success in the Group Two Prix Greffulhe at Longchamp on Monday, May 15. Owned by the Aga Khan, who is seeking a fifth Vodafone Derby success following Shergar (1981), Shahrastani (1986), Kahyasi (1988) and Sinndar (2000), Visindar is unbeaten in three starts and if successful on June 3 he will become the first French-trained victor since Empery in 1976.
Fabre could also run Linda’s Lad, a Group One winner in France last season who prepared for Epsom Downs with victory in the totesport Derby Trial at Lingfield on May 13, when he beat Hazeymm by a head.
Fabre may still be seeking his first success in the 12-furlong Vodafone Derby, but Ireland’s champion trainer Aidan O’Brien can already count two victories in the Classic following Galileo (2001) and High Chaparral (2002), and looks to have another strong hand this year.
The pick of O’Brien’s six remaining entries are Horatio Nelson, successful in the Group One Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere at Longchamp last season and eighth behind stable companion George Washington in the Stan James 2000 Guineas on his seasonal reappearance, Dylan Thomas, who collected the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial at Leopardstown on May 13, impressive Group Two totesport Dante Stakes winner Septimus, and French 2000 Guineas victor Aussie Rules.
Godolphin’s two possibles are last season’s Group One Racing Post Trophy runner-up Winged Cupid and Jeu de Mot.
The principal British-trained contenders are headed by Sir Percy, victorious in the Group One Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket in 2005 and second to George Washington in the Stan James 2000 Guineas on his seasonal debut on May 6. Olympian Odyssey, third in the Newmarket Classic, is also set to head to Epsom Downs and is the sole surviving entry for Barry Hills, who has had four Vodafone Derby seconds.
Classic-winning owner Bill Gredley believes Olympian Odyssey could represent his best ever chance of success in theVodafone Derby
Gredley is hopeful that ther Sadler’s Wells colt can give him his second Epsom Classic following the 1992 Vodafone Oaks victory of User Friendly.
Gredley commented today: “Environment Friend won the Dante pulling away so he was the best chance I had previously of winning the Vodafone Derby. He finished 11th in 1991 but something was amiss that day because he came out and won the Eclipse next time.
“Olympian Odyssey is a good horse. He’s a tougher horse and more stoutly bred than Environment Friend who was a nice horse but not as manly as this horse, so in that respect Olympian Odyssey would be better than him.
“I do feel the horse is capable of winning a Derby - I just don’t know which one yet. He’s still in the French Derby so we haven’t made a firm decision but if he runs in the Vodafone Derby it will be because he has a good chance.
“He handles all sorts of ground, which is the nice thing about him. He has run well on fast and won on soft so if he got a little bit of juice it would just help him. Jamie Spencer will be on him if runs in the Vodafone Derby.”
Several of the main trial winners remain in the line up including Art Deco, successful in the Cheshire Regiment Dee Stakes, and Letheby & Christopher Predominate Stakes victor Championship Point.
Other interesting contenders include Hala Bek, who created such a favourable impression when winning a maiden at Newbury on April 21 but has not been seen out since and trainer Michael Jarvis has admitted that he is racing against time to get the colt to Epsom Downs on June 3, while Listed Feilden Stakes victor Atlantic Waves could represent Mark Johnston.
The next confirmation stage for the Vodafone Derby is at the five-day stage on May 29, when there is a final opportunity to enter the Classic at the £75,000 supplementary entry stage.
Epsom Downs Racecourse Managing Director, Stephen Wallis, commented: “Having 33 horses remaining in the Vodafone Derby at this stage is more than normal. What is exciting is the number of horses that are coming to Epsom with a genuine chance in the Classic. The race is shaping up! “
THE 2006 VODAFONE DERBY
Class 1, Group One, Epsom Downs, Total Prize Fund £1,250,000, Saturday, June 3, 2006, one mile, four furlongs and about 10 yards. Weights: colts 9st; fillies 8st 11lb, closed December 1, 2004 (639 entries), first forfeit stage February 28, 2006 (136 entries remained - five officially withdrawn subsequently), £8,000 second entry stage April 5, 2006 (12 added - making 143 entries in total going forward), second forfeit stage May 19, 2006 (33 remain), £75,000 supplementary entry stage May 29, 2006, five-day confirmation stage noon, May 29, 2006, final declaration stage 10am June 1, 2006. (Form figures from Weatherbys correct up to May 18, 2006, and may not include some overseas form).
Form Horse Owner Trainer
123-30 ALTIUS (IRE) Sue Magnier Aidan O'Brien IRE
12-1 ART DECO (IRE) Evelyn Hankinson Charles Egerton
15-1 ATLANTIC WAVES (IRE) Jaber Abdullah Mark Johnston
1421-4d1 AUSSIE RULES (USA) Sue Magnier Aidan O'Brien IRE
52-(1)(3)20 AWATUKI Allen Pope & Andrew King Alan Jarvis
(6)(4)(4)(1)(6) BARILOCHE Lori Kirk, Dr Carlini Cozzi & Sally Doyle Jim Boyle
0(1)-(2)(1)4 BEFORE YOU GO (IRE) Tina Smith Terry Mills
0314-2 BEST ALIBI (IRE) Gainsborough Stud Sir Michael Stoute
112-1 CHAMPIONSHIP POINT John Livock Bloodstock Ltd Mick Channon
0- CORUM (IRE) H R H Princess Haya of Jordan John Gosden
50- DON JOSE (USA) H R H Princess Haya of Jordan John Gosden
0-(3)22 DRAGON DANCER John Pearce Geoff Wragg
1126-1 DYLAN THOMAS (IRE) Michael Tabor Aidan O'Brien IRE
3-1* FUTUN Scuderia Rencati Srl Luca Cumani
0-16 GANDOR (IRE) H R H Princess Haya of Jordan John Gosden
1 HALA BEK (IRE) Sheikh Ahmed Al Maktoum Michael Jarvis
251-12 HAZEYMM (IRE) Sheikh Ahmed Al Maktoum Mick Channon
11112-0 HORATIO NELSON (IRE) Sue Magnier Aidan O’Brien IRE
213- JEU DE MOT (IRE) Godolphin Saeed bin Suroor
221211-41 LINDA’S LAD Sean Mulryan Andre Fabre FR
4-3 MAHRAJAAN (USA) Hamdan Al Maktoum John Gosden
214-42 MOUNTAIN (IRE) Anne-Marie O'Brien Aidan O’Brien IRE
63(1)-1 NIGHT CRESCENDO (USA) John Connolly Amanda Perrett
NODDIES WAY Stan Baugh Ed McMahon
321-23 OLYMPIAN ODYSSEY Bill Gredley Barry Hills
113-01 SEPTIMUS (IRE) Sue Magnier Aidan O’Brien IRE
010-32 SIENNA STORM (IRE) Beryl Lockey Mark Tompkins
1111-2 SIR PERCY Anthony Pakenham Marcus Tregoning
61 SIXTIES ICON Susan Roy Jeremy Noseda
(4)(4)-313 SNOQUALMIE BOY Jeff Smith David Elsworth
1-11 VISINDAR HH Aga Khan Andre Fabre FR
112- WINGED CUPID Godolphin Saeed bin Suroor
031-13 YOUMZAIN (IRE) Jaber Abdullah Mick Channon
* runs this evening (May 19) at Hamilton
33 entries remain after second forfeit stage on May 19, 2006
FASCINATING VODAFONE OAKS IN PROSPECT
A fascinating Vodafone Oaks is in prospect following today’s forfeit stage, which sees 26 top-class fillies - 10 more than last year - going forward for the £375,000 Classic, run over a mile and a half at Epsom Downs on Vodafone Ladies Day, Friday, June 2.
Sir Michael Stoute, successful with Fair Salinia (1978) and Unite (1987), looks to hold a very strong hand with Short Skirt, winner of the Group Three Tattersalls Musidora Stakes at York as well as Riyalma and Sindirana, both owned by the Aga Khan and triumphant in Newmarket’s Pretty Polly Stakes and the Lingfield Oaks Trial respectively last time out. Sir Michael also has Scottish Stage who won the Swettenham Stud Fillies’ Trial Stakes at Newbury today.
Aidan O’Brien, who sent out Shahtoush (1998) and Imagine (2001) to success in the Vodafone Oaks, has four remaining entries in the fillies’ Classic including Derrinstown Stud 1,000 Guineas Trial winner Queen Cleopatra, and Alexandrova, second to Short Skirt in Wednesday’s Musidora Stakes.
Confidential Lady came second in the Stan James 1000 Guineas and her trainer Sir Mark Prescott is seeking a first Classic victory.
John Gosden has five fillies engaged including last season’s Group One Meon Valley Stud Fillies’ Mile winner Nannina, who was 12th in the 1000 Guineas, and Innocent Air who captured the Listed Washington Singer Stakes at Newbury last term and ran in the Swettenham Stud Fillies’ Trial Stakes today, coming fifth.
Recent impressive Cheshire Oaks victor Time On, trained by John Dunlop and a great-grand-daughter of the brilliant 1982 Oaks heroine Time Charter, could join Speciosa at the £20,000 supplementary entry stage for the Vodafone Oaks on May 27.
Speciosa, heroine of the Stan James 1000 Guineas at Newmarket on May 7, is not among the entries but could be added at the supplementary stage on May 27, in a bid to gain a remarkable second Classic success for her Cambridgeshire-based trainer, Pam Sly.
THE VODAFONE OAKS
Class 1, Group One, Epsom Downs, Total Prize Fund £375,000, Friday, June 2, 2006, one mile, four furlongs and about 10 yards. Weights: 9st. Entries closed March 1, 2006 (84 entries), forfeit stage May 19, 2006 (26 remain), £20,000 supplementary entry stage May 27, 2006, five-day confirmation stage noon, May 27, 2006, final declaration stage 10am May 31, 2006. (Form figures from Weatherbys correct up to May 19, 2006, and may not include some overseas form).
Form Horse Owner Trainer
6312-2 ALEXANDROVA (IRE) Sue Magnier, Michael Tabor & Derrick Smith Aidan O'Brien IRE
12-2 BUNOOD (IRE) Hamdan Al Maktoum John Dunlop
130- CHATILA (USA) H R H Princess Haya of Jordan John Gosden
111210-2 CONFIDENTIAL LADY Cheveley Park Stud Sir Mark Prescott
1-2 GUILIA The Hornets Rae Guest
1550-20 HANOONA (IRE) Sheikh Ahmed Al Maktoum Mick Channon
INDICATION Khalid Abdulla John Gosden
421-5 INNOCENT AIR Khalid Abdulla John Gosden
(0)0 IN ON THE ACT (IRE) Ron Huggins, R Huckerby, Atlantic Racing Jamie Poulton
4-15 KASSIOPEIA (IRE) Jackie & George Smith Mick Channon
06-4 KAYLIANNI William Harrison-Allan Mick Channon
0-35 KUSHNARENKOVO Sue Magnier Aidan O'Brien IRE
3-13 MAKDERAH (IRE) Hamdan Al Maktoum Marcus Tregoning
MOON EMPRESS (FR) Foursome Thoroughbreds William Muir
15311-0 NANNINA Cheveley Park Stud John Gosden
40-3 PROWESS (IRE) Mark Dixon Barry Hills
4505-241 QUEEN CLEOPATRA (IRE) Sue Magnier Aidan O'Brien IRE
2011-0 RACE FOR THE STARS (USA) Sue Magnier Aidan O'Brien IRE
00411-(0)50 RAJEEM Saeed Manana Clive Brittain
2-1 RIYALMA (IRE) H H Aga Khan Sir Michael Stoute
(1)2-1 SCOTTISH STAGE (IRE) Ballymacoll Stud Sir Michael Stoute
10-1 SHORT SKIRT John Greetham Sir Michael Stoute
14-1 SINDIRANA (IRE) H H Aga Khan Sir Michael Stoute
1- SNOW CRYSTAL (IRE) Lord Lloyd-Webber John Gosden
2103-3 SOUVENANCE Kirsten Rausing Sir Mark Prescott
(2)2 VIRGIN ISLANDS (IRE) Saeed Altayer Michael Jarvis
26 entries remain after the May 19 forfeit stage