Epsom Derby 2017: The 238th running of the G1 Investec Derby, which takes place at Epsom Downs Racecourse  at 4.30pm on Saturday 3rd June, has 20 horses going forward to glory after the five-day stage, including two supplementary entries, Khalidi and Permian.

Their addition, at a cost of £85,000 each, boost the total prize money on offer for Britain’s richest race and premier Classic from £1.5 million to £1,625,000.

Permian, trained by Mark Johnston and owned by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed al Maktoum, had been an expected supplementary entry, having won what is usually the best Investec Derby trial, the G2 Betfred Dante Stakes, at York on May 18, while another good recent performance has persuaded the connections of Khalidi, trained by John Gosden and owned by Nizar Anwar, to take the plunge.

Khalidi, by 2002 Investec Derby winner High Chaparral out of a Cape Cross mare, Bezique, cost 170,000 guineas when bought as a yearling at Tattersalls and was the impressive winner of the 11-furlong Listed EBF Stallions Cocked Hat Stakes in record time at Goodwood on 26th May.

He won, with Frankie Dettori up, by five lengths eased down from Fierce Impact in 2m 22.77s. That was his second victory in four races this year, with the first coming in another Listed race, the nine-furlong bet365 Feilden Stakes at Newmarket on April 18 by a neck from fellow Investec Derby hope Salouen (trained by Sylvester Kirk).

Golden Horn, the 2015 Investec Derby winner trained by Gosden, took the Feilden Stakes on his first start as a three-year-old.

Before that the Feilden Stakes, Khalidi, successful twice from four outings as a two-year-old, had finished third in a 10-furlong Doncaster handicap (2nd April). He disappointed when third of five behind Permian, going down by six lengths in the Listed Havana Gold Newmarket Stakes on 6th May.

Andrew Cooper, Head of Racing and Clerk of the Course at Epsom Downs, commented: “The two supplementary entries, along with the 18 other entries going forward, suggest that we will have a higher than average number of runners for this year’s Investec Derby on Saturday.

“We have rounded the prize money total up to £1,625,000 for the Investec Derby, which will be the richest race ever run in Britain.

“The Classic has an open look and certainly there are not many among the potential runners that you can rule out.”

Permian will be ridden by William Buick after the jockey’s appeal against a ban last week, while Khalidi, is one of five Gosden-trained horses still in the Investec Derby.

The joint favourites for the Epsom Downs Classic over 12 furlongs and six yards are the unbeaten Cracksman (pictured), a Frankel colt trained by Gosden, owned and bred by Anthony Oppenheimer, also responsible for Golden Horn, and Listed Homeserve Dee Stakes victor Cliffs Of Moher, one of seven remaining in the Investec Derby for Ireland’s champion Flat trainer and Coolmore partnerships.

The other O’Brien/Coolmore representatives are Capri, Douglas Macarthur, Finn McCool, The Anvil, Venice Beach and Wings Of Eagles.

Gosden, besides Dettori’s mount Cracksman and the supplemented Khalidi, also has the Lady Bamford owned and bred Crowned Eagle, heavily eased down when making all in a Windsor handicap on 15th May, Glencadam Glory, owned by Angus Dundee Distillers Plc, and 19-length Southwell maiden winner Pealer.

Godolphin has three Investec Derby contenders going forward, all trained by Saeed bin Suroor in Newmarket. They are Dante Stakes second Benbatl, Best Solution, convincing winner of the Listed Betfred Derby Trial at Lingfield on 13th May, and the once-raced Dubai Thunder, who captured a Newbury 10-furlong maiden by 10 lengths on 19th May.

Frankel colt Eminent, trained by Martyn Meade and owned by Sir Peter Vela, has already tried for Classic success, finishing sixth behind Churchill, beaten three and a half lengths, in the QIPCO 2,000 Guineas over a mile at Newmarket on 6th May and connections feel the extra half-mile at Epsom Downs will suit.

Rekindling, owned by Lloyd Williams, will be a first Investec Derby runner for Joseph O’Brien, Aidan O’Brien’s oldest son who succeeded twice as a jockey in the premier Classic – on Camelot (2012) and Australia (2014).

The potential field Investec Derby field is completed by maiden filly Diore Lia (John Jenkins).

The Investec Derby is part of the QIPCO British Champions Series.

The excellent supporting races on Investec Derby Day, Saturday 3rd June, are led by the £100,000 Investec Corporate Banking ‘Dash’ Handicap (3.45pm) over the world’s fastest five-furlong course.

There are 30 entries left in the Investec Corporate Banking ‘Dash’ Handicap, headed by top-weight Kimberella (Richard Fahey, 9st 10lb), and the maximum field allowed is 20.

Duke Of Firenze (David Griffiths, 9st 9lb) and El Astronaute(John Quinn, 8st 10lb) are the joint favourites.

The two-day Investec Derby Festival commences on Friday 2nd June, with Investec Ladies’ Day when two G1 races are staged, the fillies’ Classic, the Investec Oaks, and the Investec Coronation Cup for older horses, both also run over the Derby course of one mile and four furlongs.

 

RACHEL GROOM is Eclipse Magazine's Photography Editor. Known for her 'street' photography she is also an in-house documenter of racing activities at a training yard in Epsom and loves a big day out at the races. You can see more of her work at www.rachelgroom.com

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