Dawn Approach tops 24 colts standing their ground in Investec Derby
Dawn Approach features among 24 colts left in the Investec Derby at Epsom after the latest forfeit stage.
Last Updated: 18/05/13 11:48am
Jim Bolger's unbeaten 2000 Guineas winner is as short as even-money favourite after the major Derby trials.
Bolger has also left in Trading Leather, who was second in the Dante Stakes on Thursday, and Loch Garman, runner-up in the Derrinstown Derby Trial.
"I am thrilled with my three top horses, Dawn Approach, Trading Leather and Loch Garman," said Bolger at York on Thursday.
"We know the one that is better (Dawn Approach) - he is well. It is a toss-up between the other two.
"I think the only trials that matter were run in Coolcullen (on his stable's gallops). I'm ecstatic with them.
"With due respect for the winners of the Leopardstown trial and the trial here (York), we would be expecting to show serious improvement from a fitness point of view (Loch Garman and Trading Leather respectively)."
Aidan O'Brien has a strong numerical presence with Battle Of Marengo, winner of the Derrinstown, his main hope according to the bookmakers.
Ruler Of The World and Magician won trials at Chester while Nevis won at Lingfield. Mars, Festive Cheer and Flying The Flag are also still in.
Andre Fabre is represented by Ocovango, who won the Prix Greffulhe at Saint-Cloud used by the trainer for his 2011 Epsom hero Pour Moi.
Ocovango is owned by Prince Faisal and his racing manager Ted Voute told At The Races: "As far as I know everything is going according to plan and he will go over for the Breakfast With The Stars next week.
"He went to the Greffullhe having won a maiden and a Listed race, and each time he's been nurtured to learn a little bit more.
"He's been ridden several different ways and we go into the race unbeaten like Dawn Approach. It was Mr Fabre's plan all along to take him to Epsom before the race and god willing he'll be there next Thursday."
The likes of Galileo Rock, First Cornerstone, Bravodino and Zand are still in the mix.
The Elaine Burke-trained Libertarian was an impressive winner of the Dante and connections have firmly set their sights on Epsom.
Libertarian bounced back from a disappointing showing in the Sandown Classic Trial when running out a shock 33-1 winner on the Knavesmire.
Burke's husband and assistant Karl said: "I think he lost about seven kilos which is normal for a race like that.
"He seems to have come out of it a lot better than his Sandown race when he gave a few coughs afterwards and things were not perfect. He's still in the race and as long as the horse is 100%, we will probably take our chance.
"Who knows whether he will handle Epsom but he's a well-balanced, athletic type so we will see."
The Sir Michael Stoute-trained Telescope remains in contention despite the setback that forced him to miss his intended reappearance in the Dante.
The colt is owned by Highclere Thoroughbred Racing and Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, who tasted Classic glory with Rock Of Gibraltar in 2002, is part of the Wavertree Syndicate.
He takes charge of his last game before retirement against West Brom on Sunday and is then planning a trip to Headquarters to see his Classic hope.
He said: "I am going to Newmarket for two days because I have a share in Telescope - he has had an infection but he is OK now. Michael has got him back in order."