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Classic quotes – Sir Dragonet could be one of seven in Derby for O’Brien as Gosden confirms Mehdaayih Oaks entry

Sir Dragonet looks set for an outing in the Derby after his powerful Chester Vase triumph.

Top trainers Aidan O’Brien and John Gosden spoke to the press during Epsom’s annual Breakfast With The Stars event on Tuesday morning, outlining their plans for the upcoming Epsom Derby Festival.

Aidan O’Brien has run roughshod through the Derby Trials, both at home in Ireland and here in England, over the past few weeks. In fact, Japan’s defeat in the Dante was the only occasion one of Ballydoyle’s main horses for the Derby was beaten by anyone other than a stablemate.

For many, Sir Dragonet’s triumph in the Chester Vase was the most impressive Classic prep-run, with practically every bookmaker pushing O’Brien’s colt straight to the head of the Derby betting. During the week, the master of Ballydoyle claimed the French Derby was in the pipeline for his unbeaten youngster. Yet, in an interview during Epsom’s Breakfast With The Stars this morning, Aidan O’Brien made it abundantly clear than Epsom was the number one objective for Sir Dragonet.

"John (Magnier, owner) has always considered Epsom to be the holy grail." O'Brien said today.

"Epsom is always where we want to be – 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 are favouring Epsom."

"He was always a very easy horse at home and has only done what he was asked. He has never tried to stand out from the crowd. What we have asked him to do he has done really well. The only time he has been asked is when he has run twice."

In 2017, O'Brien fired six arrows at the Derby, with Wings Of Eagles suprisingly hitting the target. It seems certain that number of entrants will be matched, or even better, at Epsom this year, with so many of the Ballydoyle horses impressing in their respective trials.

O'Brien continued. "Both Ryan (Moore) and Donnacha (O'Brien) were very happy with Broome when they rode him. We always thought Anthony Van Dyck would get the distance well and he ran some very good races over shorter as a two-year-old. Ryan thought he got the trip very well at Lingfield and liked him.

"Circus Maximus could go to Epsom and he would come forward a good bit from Chester (where he won the Dee Stakes)."

"I think Norway will get a mile and a half well and we rode him patiently at Chester. The other horse (Sir Dragonet) quickened better than him and he could go as well."

"Cape Of Good Hope has won at Epsom and has come forward well and Japan worked well this morning and will get a mile and a half."

"The lads will decide how many to run but there will be a good crew there. To be fair to all of them they have done what has been asked and we have consciously been easier on the horses this year than before. They will come forward for their trials."
Leading the charge against Aidan O’Brien and his Ballydoyle army will, once again, be John Gosden. Sadly, Too Darn Hot’s possible entrance in the Derby was shelved after he failed to get home in the Dante. Gosden, however, does have a much stronger hand to play in the Oaks and he confirmed runaway Cheshire Oaks winner, Mehdaayih will indeed be supplemented into the mix at Epsom.

Gosden revealed during Breakfast With The Stars, "The plan is to supplement Mehdaayih – the owner is keen and we are too."

Unlike her stablemate, Anapurna was handed an Oaks entry at the start of the season. With Frankie Dettori in the saddle, Anapurna romped to an excellent victory in the Epsom Trial at Lingfield earlier this month and Gosden is keen on both his filly’s chances in the first Classic on Derby weekend.

"Anapurna has come out of Lingfield in great order and has been left in the Oaks." Gosden continued.

"They are both athletic and light on their feet so should handle the track but in the heat of the race they have to be on the right lead and you never know. 

"I couldn't be happier with both of them and Rab [Robert] Havlin will ride the one Frankie [Dettori] doesn't. We have two realistic chances in the race and I think the betting indicates who is our best."

As if that news wasn’t exciting enough, Gosden although revealed that Too Darn Hot could be set for a surprise Classic outing of his own. After that defeat in the Dante, Gosden’s stated it was all systems go for the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot. Yet, this morning, the Curragh was at the forefront of his thoughts.

“Too Darn Hot will be left in the Irish 2,000 Guineas.” Gosden said to the press. “He's come out of the Dante in great shape and is a horse that likes to be doing things. A final decision will be made later in the week."

Paddy Power make Mehdaayih their 11/4 favourite for the Oaks, ahead of Aidan O'Brien's Pink Dogwood. Anapurna can be found down at 8/1, just ahead of Iridessa and Queen Power.

O'Brien has a stranglehold on the Derby betting, with Sir Dragonet sitting just ahead of Broome and Anthony Van Dyck. Dante winner, Telecaster is the highest-placed British entrants, with Bangkok and Japan also sitting on a single-figure price.

*Current odds with Paddy Power*
Epsom Oaks (31/5/19)
11/4 Mehdaayih, 3/1 Pink Dogwood, 7/1 Maqsad, 8/1 Anapurna, 10/1 Queen Power, 12/1 Iridessa, 14/1 Lavender's Blue, Frankelina, 16/1 Bar

Epsom Derby (1/6/19)
7/2 Sir Dragonet, 4/1 Broome, 5/1 Anthony Van Dyck, Telecaster, 9/1 Japan, Bangkok, 14/1 Madhmoon, 16/1 Bar


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Classic quotes – Sir Dragonet could be one of seven in Derby for O’Brien as Gosden confirms Mehdaayih Oaks entry

Top trainers Aidan O’Brien and John Gosden spoke to the press during Epsom’s annual Breakfast With The Stars event on Tuesday morning, outlining their plans for the upcoming Epsom Derby Festival.

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