13 Runners Face Saturday’s Derby Challenge

The final declarations stage has passed for the on Saturday revealing that 13 runners will go to post for the Group 1 event that will have the eyes of the sporting world and beyond focused on The Queen’s Carlton House who is among the final list of potential classic winners, writes Elliot Slater.

There has been much speculation as to whether or not the royal runner and long time ante-post favourite will actually face the starter on Saturday afternoon having sustained a bruised joint after exercising on the gallops on Sunday. The presence of Carlton House, an impressive winner of last month’s Dante Stakes at York, in the 48-hour declarations suggests that connections are very hopeful he will be fit enough to do himself justice, but concerns over his participation have seen him drift out from 6/4 favourite at the start of the week to a current price of as big as 9/4 in the Epsom Derby odds.

There were four scratchings from the list of potential Derby runners, with Godolphin’s Casamento and Genius Beast both missing from the declarations having been handed the task of tackling the French Derby at Chantilly on Sunday. Another missing from the list is Aidan O’Brien’s Irish 2000 Guineas winner Roderic O’Connor, who will also head to France for Sunday’s big race. The one minor surprise absentee is John Gosden’s Nathaniel, the horse who so nearly beat the mighty Frankel on debut as a two-year-old last season, who has been taken out of the contest with his trainer fearing that he ground will be just a shade too quick for his charge.

Both of the big French hopes Pour Moi and Vadamar will run, as too will four representatives from Ballydoyle – Recital, Seville, Treasure Beach, and Memphis Tennessee. Native Khan, Godolphin’s Ocean War, Masked Marvel, and the three rank outsiders Castlemorris King, Marhaba Malyoon, and Pisco Sour, make up the 13-runner field.