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Sir Dragonet set to spearhead Aidan O’Brien Investec Derby team

21 May 2019

Record-breaking trainer to be strongly represented in the three QIPCO British Champions Series races at the Investec Derby Festival.

Sir Dragonet and Donnacha O’Brien win the MBNA Chester Vase. Picture: Steven Cargill/Racingfotos.com

Aidan O’Brien could run as many as eight horses in the Investec Derby at Epsom on Saturday week, (June 1).

O’Brien is seeking a record-equalling seventh success in the premier Classic, for which a total of 18 colts remain engaged following Tuesday’s scratchings deadline.

Ireland’s 21-time champion Flat trainer has a litany of talent at his disposal for the £1.5 million contest, which forms part of the 35-race QIPCO British Champions Series.

O’Brien’s revealed at Epsom’s annual Breakfast With The Stars event that his team is likely to be spearheaded by the unbeaten Sir Dragonet, who thumped Norway in the Chester Vase last time over an extended 12 furlongs this month.

Despite talk earlier this week of Sir Dragonet potentially heading for the French Derby at Chantilly a week later, the Coolmore triumvirate of John Magnier, Derrick Smith and Michael Tabor are now reportedly favouring supplementing the colt for the showpiece at a cost of £85,000.

Broome , Anthony Van Dyck,  Circus Maximus , Japan, Cape Of Good Hope, Norway and Mohawk are other Ballydoyle possible.

“If their work goes well between now and then, we should have a good crew at Epsom,” O’Brien said.

O’Brien has saddled seven winners of the Investec Oaks and he is set to be represented by Pink Dogwood, in, the £500,000 contest which takes place on Friday, May 31. The daughter of Camelot ran on strongly to capture a Listed race over 10 furlongs at Navan on her reappearance.

“Pink Dogwood runs in the Investec Oaks and we are very happy with her,” he said. “We loved her last year and we always thought she was going to be a middle-distance filly and we always thought she was going to be our main Oaks filly.

“She was only just ready to start when she won at Navan and that was a slowly run race and she has come forward from that. She could be joined by a couple of others including Fleeting. Pink Dogwood will be the main one.”

Kew Gardens, winner of the St Leger, will represent team O’Brien in the Investec Coronation Cup on the same day.

He finished second in the Ormonde Stakes at Chester on his return this month.

“The plan was to always go to Chester just to show that he handled a left-handed track,” O’Brien said. “When he ran at Epsom in the Derby last year, he was a bit disappointing so we wanted to make sure he handles a left-handed track. The Coronation Cup is the plan.”