Dawn Approach (third right): cut for Derby after main rival disappointedPICTURE: Getty Images
Dawn hardens for Derby with Battle below par
OUT of the swirling mists of this week's Classic trials a chestnut colt with a white face was emerging as the outstanding candidate for the Investec Derby with Dawn Approach hardening to 6-4 favourite for Epsom glory next month.
Despite claiming all four Derby trials run in Britain and Ireland since Wednesday, Aidan O'Brien's challenge for the race lost some of its momentum on Sunday when chief contender Battle Of Marengo produced a dull performance when winning the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial.
Battle Of Marengo's performance prompted BetVictor to clip his odds for the Derby to 4-1 (from 9-2) but after a dazzling week of trial success much more had been expected from O'Brien's lead Epsom challenger.
Betfred and Boylesport were quicker to react to Battle Of Marengo's performance by shortening Dawn Approach to 6-4 (from 7-4) for Derby success.
Aidan O'Brien: big Derby squadPICTURE: Getty Images
Betfred spokesman Andrew Griffiths said: "We didn't see too much from Battle Of Marengo today. In fact he only made Dawn Approach look stronger for the Derby and that's reflected in us solidifying his position as favourite."
With Indian Chief set to test his own Derby credentials in the Betfred Dante Stakes at York next week, trainer Aidan O'Brien could have as many as seven Derby runners to narrow dow n before the end of the month.
Alongside Indian Chief and Battle Of Marengo, O'Brien has Magician, Nevis, Mars, Ruler Of The World and Festive Cheer, who was cut to 33-1 (from 50) by bet365 and William Hill following his close third in the Prix Hocquart in France on Sunday, as possibles for Epsom.
All seven are owned by the Coolmore partners John Magnier, Derrick Smith and Michael Tabor, who saw their Andre Fabre-trained Tableaux defeat Festive Cheer at Longchamp. He is as short as 20-1 with bet365 for Derby glory.