WITH just a fortnight until the 2012 Investec Derby Festival gets underway, the final fields for the Investec Derby and Investec Oaks are beginning to take shape following last week’s scratchings deadline.
Run at Epsom Downs on Saturday, June 2 with a prize fund of at least £1,325,000, the Investec Derby has 24 colts including the unbeaten Camelot, who is one of five remaining entries for trainer Aidan O’Brien.
Camelot was the impressive winner of the first Classic of the season, the QIPCO 2000 Guineas at Newmarket and, if successful at Epsom Downs, would become the first colt since Sea The Stars in 2009 to complete the 2000 Guineas/Derby double. He is currently the 4/5 favourite with William Hill.
O’Brien, who is seeking a third Derby success following the victories of Galileo (2001) and High Chaparral (2002), could also be represented by Imperial Monarch, who was victorious in the Group Three bet365 Classic Trial at Sandown Park in April, Astrology, who was the runaway 11-length winner of the Group Three Dee Stakes at Chester this month, Father Of Science, an impressive maiden winner at Chester last week and Tower Rock, who was the neck runner-up in the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial at Leopardstown on May 13.
Another potential challenger from Ireland comes in the shape of the Jim Bolger-trained Parish Hall, who was successful in the Group One Dubai Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket last season. But the strongest rival to Camelot could prove to be Dante Stakes winner Bonfire, who is current the 6/1 second favourite with William Hill.
The son of Manduro was an impressive winner at York and winners of the Dante Stakes have had an impressive record in the Investec Derby in recent years with Authorized (2007), Motivator (2005) and North Light (2004) having won both races.
Group 1 winner Tangerine Trees looks worth a bet in the Temple Stakes at Haydcock on Saturday.
At Towcester on Tuesday night, Barton Stacey, winner of the Maiden Hurdle for David Pipe and Tom Scudamore, could be a horse to follow this summer jumps season. The 7-year-old loved the stiff track and ground and the first time blinkers helped. He should win again if turned out quickly by the West Country trainer and one day will jump some fences.
At Haydock on Saturday, Gabrial is the market move from 10-1 to 8-1 for the Betfred Silver Bowl with the high street bookmakers. The 3-year-old has Jamie Spencer in the driving seat and a good run is expected. Down at Goodwood, Sir Henry Cecil can have a double on the sussex card with Jet Away in the 2.45 and Late Telegraph in the 3.20 .
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