Trainer Aidan O'Brien will be well represented as he saddles six runners in one of the most competitive Derbys in recent years. So I guess it's no surprise that we side with one of his charges in the shape of BLACK BEAR ISLAND, who is marginally preferred to stable-mate Rip Van Winkle and Jim Bolger's Gan Amhras. The selection proved that his seasonal reappearance was better than the bare result showed by stepping up next time to swoop late and land York's prestigious classic trial the Dante. In the recent past that Group Two contest has been a decent gauge for the Derby so, while there is a slight doubt whether Epsom will suit the colt, there is little wrong with his form and he'll be given even more help in the saddle this time with champion Ryan Moore taking over. It is interesting that O'Brien's number one jockey Johnny Murtagh has chosen to ride Rip Van Winkle after an eye-catching display in the 2000 Guineas. He shaped that day as if the step up to the Derby trip is exactly what he needs and Murtagh obviously feels this colt represents his best chance of glory. Gan Amhras was another that entered notebooks after an excellent run in defeat during Newmarket's classic. He ran on very nicely to finish ahead of the one we've just mentioned and should also come on for this step up in trip. Ante-post favourite and Guineas winner Sea The Stars is obviously on sparkling form and although he is yet to prove staying power for this trip there is plenty of stamina on his dam's side so he is a real contender. There are one or two others we could throw into the mix here as well as this is really competitive stuff but, given there is little wrong with his form, we prefer some value and Black Bear Island.
Age Of Aquarius (IRE) 8-11fav (8-12) Soon led, ridden when headed 2f out, hard ridden to lead close home, won at Lingfield 1m 3f 3yo Grp 3 (1) gf in May beating Montaff (8-12) by nk, 5 ran.
Black Bear Island (IRE) 12-1 (9-0) Held up, headway 2f out, ridden over 1f out, stayed on to lead post, won at York 1m 2f stks (1) gd in May beating Freemantle (9-0) by hd, 10 ran.
Crowded House 2-1fav (9-0) Held up towards rear, headway on inner over 2f out, no extra inside final furlong, 8th of 10, 4 1/2l behind Black Bear Island (9-0) at York 1m 2f stks (1) gd in May.
Debussy (IRE) 11-4 (8-12) Mid-division, raced keenly, headway 2f out, soon chasing leading pair, hung left inside final furlong, no impression towards finish, 3rd of 8, 3 1/2l behind Golden Sword (8-12) at Chester 1m 4f 3yo Grp 3 (1) gf in May.
Fame And Glory 4-7fav (9-4) Raced in moderate 5th, 4th and closed straight, challenged and led over 1f out, quickly clear, swished tail under pressure, stayed on well, impressive, won at Leopardstown 1m 2f 3yo hdl Grd 2 gd in May beating Mourayan (9-1) by 5l, 6 ran.
Gan Amhras (IRE) 15-2 (9-0) Chased leaders, ridden over 2f out, slightly outpaced over 1f out, carried right inside final furlong, kept on, 3rd of 15, 2 1/4l behind Sea The Stars (9-0) at Newmarket 1m Grp 1 3yo (1) gf in May.
Golden Sword 25-1 (8-12) Made all, pushed along over 3f out, ridden about 4 lengths clear 2f out, driven out, won at Chester 1m 4f 3yo Grp 3 (1) gf in May beating Masterofthehorse (8-12) by 2l, 8 ran.
Kite Wood (IRE) 9-2 (9-0) Led 1f, tracked leader, ridden over 1f out, one pace, 5th of 10, 2l behind Black Bear Island (9-0) at York 1m 2f stks (1) gd in May.
Masterofthehorse (IRE) 13-8fav (8-12) Held up in last well off the pace, headway on outside 2f out, soon ridden, kept on to chase winner inside final furlong, too much to do, 2nd of 8, 2l behind Golden Sword (8-12) at Chester 1m 4f 3yo Grp 3 (1) gf in May.
Montaff 16-1 (8-12) Tracked winner, effort over 2f out, led soon after, ridden when headed close home, 2nd of 5, nk behind Age Of Aquarius (8-12) at Lingfield 1m 3f 3yo Grp 3 (1) gf in May.
Rip Van Winkle (IRE) 9-2 (9-0) Held up mid-division, pushed along over 2f out, soon switching right looking for gaps, kept on well final furlong, running on towards finish, 4th of 15, 2 1/2l behind Sea The Stars (9-0) at Newmarket 1m Grp 1 3yo (1) gf in May.
Sea The Stars (IRE) 8-1 (9-0) Soon tracking leaders, pushed along inside final 2f, ridden over 1f out, edged right and led inside final furlong, ran on well, won at Newmarket 1m Grp 1 3yo (1) gf in May beating Delegator (9-0) by 1 1/2l, 15 ran.
South Easter (IRE) 6-1 (8-12) Held up behind leaders, ridden along over 2f out, driven and ran on to lead well inside final furlong, held on gainly, won at Chester 1m 2f 3yo Grp 3 (1) gf in May beating Gitano Hernando (8-12) by hd, 7 ran.