Snow Sky fails to make line-up for Investec Derby at Epsom
Snow Sky has been scratched from this year's Investec Derby after failing to recover from a setback.
Last Updated: 05/06/14 5:52pm
The Sir Michael Stoute-trained colt emerged as a leading light for the Classic when winning the Lingfield Derby Trial but it emerged on Wednesday morning that he had banged a joint.
Stoute and Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manger for owner Khalid Abdullah, had been hopeful of Snow Sky recovering in time to run but have now confirmed he will miss the race and head to Royal Ascot instead.
A statement from Grimthorpe read: "Sir Michael Stoute reported that the colt was not quite 100% this morning so will not be declared for the Investec Derby. He could now go to the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot."
Snow Sky had been a 20/1 shot with Sky Bet prior to withdrawal.
Aidan O'Brien's regally-bred colt Australia heads a total of 16 runners. By a Derby winner in Galileo, out of a multiple Group One winner and Oaks heroine in Ouija Board, Australia is certainly bred for the job and he has dominated the market since finishing third in the 2000 Guineas.
As usual, O'Brien saddles multiple runners with Geoffrey Chaucer, unlucky when third in the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial, Chester Vase winner Orchestra and Dee Stakes hero Kingfisher making up his team.
Last year Joseph O'Brien chose to partner Battle Of Marengo only to see Ryan Moore partner stablemate Ruler Of The World to victory, but there was never any doubt he would be on Australia this time.
"I'm really looking forward to it. Since he came into the yard and since he started working he was always a very good horse," he told At The Races.
"He's bred to stay the trip, he's bred to handle the track and he's probably bred to win the Derby, which is what you need heading to Epsom. It's a great test of a racehorse.
"It's a day of racing like no other, it's the Derby and there is only one every year - it's the ultimate test of horse and rider.
"He has plenty of pace, hopefully he'll get the trip as that's a bit of an unknown, he's well balanced, his mum and dad handled the track well so we're looking forward to it."
Moore is on Geoffrey Chaucer this time while Seamie Heffernan rides Orchestra and Colm O'Donoghue is on Kingfisher.
There is a strong Irish challenge outside of the Ballydoyle quartet, with the first two home in the Derrinstown taking their chances.
John Oxx's Ebanoran was first past the post that day but Dermot Weld's Fascinating Rock was awarded the race by the stewards after the pair got very close in the finish.
Oxx has only had three runners in the Derby, but has won it twice.
He said: "I can't really make any comparisons with my two Derby winners (Sinndar and Sea The Stars) as it is too early - Ebanoran has not won a significant race yet. He is quite an idle worker at home, like Sinndar, so doesn't give us too many clues about the extent of his ability."
Roger Varian's Kingston Hill is the only previous Group One winner in the race having landed the Racing Post Trophy last year and he heads the home team having been a popular choice in recent days, although he needs to overcome a tricky inside draw in stall two.
"Kingston Hill looks very well and we haven't had a hitch with him since the Guineas - I am anticipating plenty of improvement for that run," said Varian. "He has got a good head on him so he should handle the excitements of Derby Day.
"Like the weather, the draw is out of our hands so there is no point in worrying about him getting stall two. A mile and a half is a long way for them to sort themselves out and we will just have to hope that he gets a slice of luck at the right time."
Dante runner-up was Peter Chapple-Hyam's Arod while Saeed bin Suroor's True Story was third, with the pair aiming to emulate Workforce who was beaten in the Dante before winning the Derby.
John Gosden runs two in the unbeaten Western Hymn and the supplemented Romsdal.
Sudden Wonder and Pinzolo are the first Derby runners for Charlie Appleby. The latter will be ridden by James Doyle, who was due to be on Snow Sky.
Our Channel represents William Haggas, Red Galileo is a first Derby ride for Oisin Murphy and Impulsive Moment runs for Andrew Balding.