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Aidan O'Brien

Aidan O'Brien: has already won four of the recognised Derby trials

  PICTURE: Mark Cranham (  

O'Brien aiming to be chief in Dante Stakes

THE final clues as to who could win this year's Investec Derby may be revealed at York on Thursday in the Group 2 Betfred Dante Stakes, as Aidan O'Brien seeks to continue his domination of the trials for the Epsom showpiece.

With Telescope ruled out on Tuesday and now facing a race against time to make the race on June 1, the chances of O'Brien adding the Dante to last week's haul of  victories in the Chester Vase, Dee Stakes, Lingfield Derby Trial and Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial have been boosted.

Of the quartet of winners, Battle Of Marengo is shortest in the ante-post market around the 4-1 mark behind favourite Dawn Approach, and Indian Chief, as big as 20-1 for the Derby, will attempt to strengthen the trainer's hand.

O'Brien said: "He won his maiden nicely at Leopardstown and while we haven't done a lot with him since we've been happy with him. The better the ground the more it will suit him, so we wouldn't want to see it get very soft."

Although there is no Telescope, owners Highclere Racing have a ready-made replacement in the form of Greatwood, who missed last Saturday's trial at Lingfield due to the ground going too soft.

With the going changed to good to soft, good in places (from good to firm) on day one of the meeting on the Knavesmire, connections are hoping the rain stays away, and trainer Luca Cumani said: "There is apparently no more rain forecast but with a bit of luck it will go back to good which will be fine. Greatwood is the supersub that has come off the bench.

"The shorter trip is a worry slightly because I wanted to move him up to a mile and a half because he would appreciate that but he ran well over a mile and a quarter at Newmarket and hopefully will run another sound race. If it became seriously slow ground then a discussion would have to be had."

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