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Sunday, 18 November, 2018

O'Brien trio out to prove their credentials for Epsom Classic

Capri: lands the Irish Derby for Aidan O'Brien and Seamie Heffernan
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3.20 Leopardstown 
Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial Stakes | Group 3 | 1m2f, 3yo | ATR

There was once a time when the Derrinstown was the top trial for Epsom. The perfect prep. Sinndar did the double in 2000, Galileo also achieved the feat in 2001 and High Chaparral completed the hat-trick in 2002. It was the only place to go practice your driving, chipping and putting before stepping up onto the tee box at Epsom. 

However in recent seasons the Derrinstown has failed to find an Investec Derby winner and it is now 15 years since the double was done. 

Aidan O'Brien is the most successful trainer with ten wins to his name. The first of those was Risk Material in 1998 and the most recent was Battle Of Marengo in 2013. 

The Ballydoyle trainer is a very short price to win the Group 3 for an 11th time but the big question is with which of his trio. Douglas Macarthur (second), Yucatan (third) and Capri (fourth) all met in the Ballysax, but will they finish in the same order this time? 

Seamie Heffernan is on board Yucatan, suggesting he is the number one from Ballydoyle, but O'Brien believes they have all improved since their returns last month.

O'Brien said: "The three of them ran in the Ballysax over the course and distance when they were just ready to start off, and we think they've all progressed since. They're in good order."


Jim Bolger has sent out two of the last four winners. Light Heavy did the business in 2012, while Moonlight Magic was an impressive winner of the race 12 months ago.

Dubai Sand, who was behind the Ballydoyle trio in the Ballysax when fifth, is Bolger's sole representative this time and it would come as little surprise to see him step up on that encouraging comeback effort.

Willie McCreery has opted to ignore a probable penalty kick in a maiden with Naturalist and pops the imposing son of Nathaniel into this Group 3 instead for only his second start.

The trainer said: "He's a lovely horse and we have to see where we're going with him. We're up against a better grade of horse but he'll come on for the run and I hope they go quick for him." 

Naturalist has to try to reverse course maiden form with Insayshable. There was a length and a quarter between the pair when they clashed over course and distance on soft ground in early April and it will be interesting to see how the unexposed pair fare against more experienced rivals.

Race as an Epsom pointer

2016 Moonlight Magic 16th
2015 Success Days 12th
2014 Fascinating Rock 8th
2013 Battle Of Marengo 4th
2012 Light Heavy did not run
2011 Recital 6th
2010 Midas Touch 5th
2009 Fame And Glory 2nd
2008 Casual Conquest 3rd
2007 Archipenko 17th
2006 Dylan Thomas 3rd
2005 Fracas 4th
2004 Yeats DNR
2003 Alamshar 3rd

They were just ready to start off and we think they've all progressed since and they're in good order
E.W. Terms
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