5 things to know about the English Derby
LONDON (AP) — Aiden O’Brien’s quest for an unprecedented third straight victory in the English Derby is the main talking point ahead of the richest flat race in Britain, but he will have to overcome both a resurgent jockey and unpredictable weather. Here are five things to look for ahead of Saturday’s race.
Aiden O’Brien has four horses in the race this year, with Australia the favorite to give the trainer his third consecutive win — and fifth overall — at Epsom. O’Brien has chosen Ryan Moore, who rode last year’s victor Ruler of the World, to jockey Australia, who is an 11-8 favorite. Australia will be coming off a two-week break following a third place-finish at the 2,000 Guineas. O’Brien’s other three horses are Geoffrey Chaucer, Kingfisher and Orchestra.
Just last year, it looked like three-time Derby winner Kieron Fallon’s career was nearing an end. After returning from an 18-month drug ban in 2010, the 49-year-old jockey’s performance dipped with just 62 wins last year. But the jockey that won both the Oaks and the Derby 10 years ago is coming off a win at the 2,000 Guineas on Night of Thunder, and credits his resurgence to taking better care of his body and spending more time on the golf and squash courses.
FROM STABLE HAND TO JOCKEY
With the odds at 125-1, few are expecting 18-year-old Oisin Murphy to ride Red Galileo to victory on Saturday. It has still been a remarkably fast rise for the young jockey, who was handling the horses at least year’s races. Murphy had only ridden in a handful of races at this time last year, but in 12 months has accrued 84 wins, including 13 in Australia over the winter.
SNOW SKY OUT
Michael Stoute’s colt Snow Sky was among the favorites after winning at the Lingfield Derby Trial, but has been ruled out with an injured joint. Stoute was hoping Snow Sky would be healthy in time for the Derby, but will instead aim to race again at the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot June 20th.
The forecast for southeast England on Saturday is for a potential torrential downpour, meaning the weather could have a big effect on the race. In addition, warm air from the continent is expected to move in, causing the highest temperatures of the year in the area.