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Epsom Downs

  • 16:00 Investec Derby 1m 4f 10y

  • (Group 1) £1,250,000 added 3yo 13 ran
  • Winner £709,625 2nd £269,000 3rd £134,625 4th £67,125
  • Going: Good to Firm (Good in places;Sprint;Good to Firm)
  • Surface: Turf
    Weighed In
  • Winning time: 2m 34.54s
  • Off time: 16:00:34

O'Brien Derby confidence

View from connections ahead of Saturday's Investec Derby

Last Updated: 03/06/11 11:43am

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The critics have been out to get Recital.

The critics have been out to get Recital.

Aidan O'Brien believes that Seville and Recital possess the requisite talent to play leading roles in Saturday's Investec Derby.

The Ballydoyle maestro trained Galileo (2001) and High Chaparral (2002) to win successive renewals of the Epsom highlight and this year saddles four contenders.

Seville ran an excellent trial to chase home the Queen's Carlton House in the Dante Stakes at York while Recital won Leopardstown's Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial in a performance that did draw some criticism as he looked far from straightforward.

"We were very happy with Seville's run at York where he was only just ready to start," said O'Brien.

"It was a slowly-run race, which didn't suit anybody really. Christophe (Soumillon) had to move up a little bit in the straight to keep his position, but we were delighted.

"We felt going to York that the horse would improve, like most of them have been doing, so I just hope that trend continues.

"We don't ever work them that hard at home and see how much they have improved, we just take it on trust."

The critics were out to get Recital after he wandered across the track at Leopardstown, but O'Brien feels race tactics went against him on the day.

"We were happy with Recital at Leopardstown. He's a very brilliant horse with an instant turn of toe," the multiple champion trainer continued.

"Obviously the pace was strong and he got to the front with a big head-wind and started looking around.

"There was never any danger he was going to get caught and we've been happy with him since."

O'Brien insists he does not know which of his two protagonists will come out on top on the Downs as they have never worked together at home, but Recital appears to be the one that excites him the most.

"They don't work together. They all have their own companions and they are all doing their own thing," O'Brien added.

"Obviously we discuss them and the lads will discuss them, but you're never sure until you put them together.

"Seville is a very solid-looking horse who should have no problem getting a mile and a half.

"Recital has that kick of brilliance in him and would definitely get a mile and a quarter and you have to take the rest on trust.

"He has plenty of class and usually a horse that travels the way he travels doesn't have any problem with the track."

Ballydoyle's other two contenders are Derrinstown runner-up Memphis Tennessee and Chester Vase scorer Treasure Beach.

"Hopefully Memphis Tennessee has come on and, looking at him, he should have a good chance of getting a mile and a half," the trainer continued.

"He's a straightforward horse and we'd be hoping that he's come forward and that he'd run well.

"Treasure Beach ran a grand trial at Chester and got the mile and a half well. He's a solid horse.

"The Derby is an unbelievably special race and we're just privileged to be part of it.

"It's the ultimate test of a thoroughbred."

Pour Moi

Derrick Smith is part-owner of each of the O'Brien horses, and also French raider Pour Moi.

Andre Fabre's Prix Greffulhe winner impressed in a spin round Epsom at the Breakfast With The Stars morning last week.

"Andre said he always sweats, as he did at the Breakfast With The Stars morning, and he'd be more concerned if he didn't do that," said Smith.

"Pour Moi's action looked good - I listen to other people on those things, but everybody seemed impressed with him.

"The jockey seemed happy and when Andre is happy, everyone is happy.

"The Derby is still the number one race in the world."

Fabre exuded confidence after seeing his colt work at Epsom, and hopes he can become the first French-trained Derby winner since Empery in 1976.

"We don't have much time to judge horses so it is a feeling I have, it is the horse's conformation, his pedigree, the way he won first time this year - all those are indications but now he has to prove it on the track," said the French maestro.

"He's needs a good pace to settle and we should get that at Epsom. His style of racing shoud be suited to a smaller field, hopefully.

"He is a great mover, he has the perfect conformation and is well balanced."


France will have another representative in the historic classic with the Alain de Royer-Dupre-trained Vadamar, beaten into third when sent off at odds-on for the Prix Greffulhe at Saint-Cloud, set to line up as well.

His owner the Aga Khan has enjoyed plenty of previous success in the Derby with Shahrastani (1986), Kahyasi (1988), Sinndar (2001) and the great Shergar 30 years ago.

His racing manager, Georges Rimaud, said: "The ground possibly didn't suit him at Saint-Cloud and there were only a few runners - it just didn't work out the way we wanted.

"The horse has worked well since, though, and we have decided he should go to Epsom.

"He is quite an easygoing horse and I think he should handle the track.

"Obviously Epsom is a tricky racecourse and we will find out on the day, but we think he is a reasonable candidate."

Pisco Sour

Pisco Sour wasn't beaten far into third in the Dante and trainer Hughie Morrison feels he deserves his place in the race.

"We think he's progressed and we're taking out all the positives we can, so that's why we're going for the Derby," said the Summerdown handler.

"Strictly on the form-book, we might have won one of the trials at Chester - we didn't get there because the ground was pretty fast.

"The Dante was a kind of afterthought because we were running out of options.

"The pedigree says he should get the trip. There is speed there but also lots of stamina.

"His full brother (Ultravox) won a two-and-half-mile novice hurdle so that suggests to me it should be well within his capacity."

Ocean War

Godolphin's only runner is Newmarket Listed race winner Ocean War, trained by Mahmood Al Zarooni who told "Ocean War is in very good form at the moment.

"Frankie Dettori cantered on him on Thursday morning and he is happy with the horse.

"Ocean War is improving all of the time and we don't know how good he could turn out to be.

"He won nicely at Newmarket but was running a bit green in the closing stages. He was very sharp on his seasonal return but I don't know why he started watching everything on his next start.

"I am sure that he won't get the chance to start thinking too much around Epsom and Frankie is taking the ride, which will also help."

Godolphin racing manager, Simon Crisford, added: "We are very excited about running Ocean War in the Investec Derby - he is in tremendous condition and has progressed extremely well over his last two races.

"We really believe that a mile and half around Epsom will suit him."

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