Aidan O’Brien 4-1 to complete Epsom Derby-Oaks double

York’s Dante winner Permian and Khalidi added to Derby field

 

Aidan O’Brien is 4-1 to complete the Epsom Derby-Oaks double for a third time later this week when he will attempt to maintain his dominance of 2017’s Irish and British classics.

 Churchill and Winter secured a Guineas ‘Double-Double’ at the Curragh last weekend to ensure O’Brien has won the first four of the ten classics. Ireland’s champion trainer is 14-1 with Paddy Power to secure an unprecedented classic clean sweep this year.

 First of all he will have to land the Epsom double he has managed twice before in 2001 and 2012.

 With Rhododendron an 11-10 favourite for Friday’s Oaks, O’Brien has seven to pick from for Saturday’s Derby after 20 colts in all were left in racing’s ‘Blue Riband’ event at Monday’s five-day stage.

 They include Cliffs Of Moher who is challenging the John Gosden-trained Cracksman for favouritism and could yet emerge as clear favourite himself should Ryan Moore be confirmed as his jockey.   

“Cracksman has been at the head of the Derby betting since Permian gave his Epsom victory a boost in the Dante. But Cliffs Of Moher is not far behind, and if he is confirmed as Ryan Moore’s big race mount, we would favour the Ballydoyle colt to be sent off favourite,” said one bookmaker spokesman.

 Victory on Saturday would be a sixth Derby success for O’Brien, emulating the tally of his legendary Ballydoyle predecessor, Vincent O’Brien.

‘MV’ was memorably denied in the 1984 Derby by his son David who trained Secreto to beat El Gran Senor and Joseph O’Brien has a chance to secure a maiden classic success as a trainer in the greatest classic of them all on Saturday.

Main threat

 The 24-year-old who rode Camelot (2012) and Australia (2014) to Derby glory aims to run his Ballysax winner Rekindling. The colt was ridden by O’Brien’s brother Donnacha when finishing fourth to Permian in York’s Dante last time.

 Permian was supplemented into the Derby on Monday at a cost of almost €100,000. The Goodwood winner Khalidi was also added to the race.

 Cracksman’s trainer John Gosden has four entries while Godolphin can pick from three others besides Periman. Gosden also looks like providing the main threat to Ballydoyle in the Oaks with both Enable and Coronet due to line up.

 O’Brien’s classic focus could switch to Paris on Sunday but if his record in both the Epsom and Curragh Derbies is remarkable then the Prix Du Jockey Club continues to prove elusive.

 The nearest the Irishman has got to winning the French Derby was when Highland Reel finished runner-up to New Bay in 2015. Bookmaker betting currently indicates O’Brien may have a task on his hands again with Orderofthegarter a 16-1 outsider for Sunday’s €1.5 million highlight.

 Highland Reel will be in action himself this week and is favourite for Epsom’s Coronation Cup which could take place on perfect ground conditions.

 The going at Epsom is currently “good to soft” after weekend rain but the outlook is mostly dry for the week ahead.

 Tuesday’s home action is at Ballinrobe where Gordon Elliott runs his talented Definite Ruby in the featured €40,000 McHale Mayo National.

 Elliott is also likely to fancy his chances in an earlier handicap hurdle with Sanibel Island while his great rival Willie Mullins looks to have the measure of the bumper with the Fairyhouse third Special Ted.

 Mullins’s Rathvinden didn’t look to take to jumping fences at all on his one start in over three years last December so the experienced 135 rated Bentelimar could be a better Beginners Chase option.

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