Midterm and Foundation among contenders for Epsom Derby
Joint favourites head the list of the 136 horses to stand their ground for the famous classic
Aidan O’Brien: has won three of the last four renewals of the famous Epsom Derby. Photo: Dan Sheridan/Inpho
A total of 136 horses go forward for the June 4th showpiece, up from 102 at the same stage 12 months ago.
Trained by John Gosden and owned by Highclere Thoroughbred Racing, Foundation won his first three starts last season before suffering trouble in running in the Racing Post Tropy at Doncaster.
Midterm is by 2001 Derby hero Galileo and the first foal of six-time Group One heroine Midday, narrowly beaten in the 2009 Oaks.
Aidan O’Brien has won three of the last four renewals of the Derby and five in total, and has 36 contenders in total.
These include Racing Post Trophy runner-up and Group One Criterium International winner Johannes Vermeer and impressive maiden winners Cook Islands and Idaho.
As well as the O’Brien-trained horses, owners Sue Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith also have an interesting contender in the Gosden-trained Royal Artillery, who won a maiden at Doncaster in October.
French trainer Andre Fabre landed the 2011 Derby with Pour Moi and is represented by the unbeaten Ultra, a Group One winner last year in the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere at Longchamp.
Ultra is owned by Godolphin, who can call on a team of 14, also featuring Champagne Stakes hero Emotionless (Charlie Appleby) and Moonlight Magic (Jim Bolger).
Another eyecatching possible for Gosden is Sheikh Hamdan-owned Nottingham maiden winner Wajeez.
Trained by Marco Botti, Mr Khalid was third on his debut at Lingfield in September before romping to a seven-length win in a maiden at Nottingham in October. The Aga Khan has seven remaining entries, including Zarak (Alain de Royer-Dupre) out of the unbeaten champion Zarkava and impressive Leopardstown maiden victor Tirmizi (Dermot Weld).