English King heads final field of 16 in Derby

Guineas hero Kameko among opposition, as Moore opts for Mogul.

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Ante-post favourite English King headlines a final field of 16 declared for the Investec Derby at Epsom on Saturday.

Ed Walker’s charge booked his place in the Classic line-up with an impressive victory in the Lingfield Derby Trial and will be the mount of Frankie Dettori, as the ever-popular Italian chases a third Derby success, after Authorized (2007) and Golden Horn (2015).

The Andrew Balding-trained Kameko already has one Classic win on his CV after landing the 2000 Guineas last month and he will try to emulate Camelot, who supplemented his Newmarket win with Derby glory back in 2012.

Aidan O’Brien fields a six-strong challenge as he bids for a record eighth Derby success, with only Armory removed from his seven initial entries.

Royal Ascot winner Russian Emperor is the shortest O’Brien contender in the betting, but King Edward VII Stakes fourth Mogul features prominently along with Irish 2,000 Guineas runner-up Vatican City. Mythical, Serpentine and Amhran Na Bhfiann also represent Ballydoyle.

Ryan Moore has been confirmed as riding Mogul, with Seamie Heffernan teaming up with Russian Emperor and Padraig Beggy, who famously steered Wings Of Eagles to a 40-1 shock in 2017, aboard Vatican City.

William Buick partners Amhran Na Bhfiann, with James Doyle on Mythical and Emmet McNamara taking the mount on Serpentine.

Pyledriver was a surprise winner of the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot and he takes his chance for William Muir, with third-placed Mohican Heights reopposing for David Simcock.

Paul and Oliver Cole’s Royal meeting winner Highland Chief features, as does Balding’s Khalifa Sat, who was a Listed winner at Goodwood on his reappearance.

The field is completed by Jessica Harrington’s Irish raider Gold Maze, Emissary from Hugo Palmer’s yard, the Ralph Beckett-trained Max Vega and Worthily, who won on his only start to date for John Gosden.

Owners will be in attendance at Epsom, the British Horseracing Authority has confirmed.

It was announced earlier this week that owners would be permitted to return to watch their horses on course in person, following their absence during the coronavirus pandemic, from this Saturday – subject to successful trials taking place at Southwell and Kempton on Wednesday.

On Thursday evening, the BHA released a statement to confirm the trials went well and owners can therefore return as planned.

It read: “Following these test events we can confirm that owners will be able to attend race meetings from Saturday July 4, in line with the interim measures in place initially to ensure this is done safely and in accordance with Government guidelines on the return of sport behind closed doors.

“We will continue to review our guidance on the return of owners and, as explained previously, seek to make improvements where possible to move towards a more integrated owner experience.”

The BHA added in the statement that owners will be able to attend meetings in Scotland too, following Government approval, from July 10 at Musselburgh onwards.

English King heads final field of 16 in Derby

Epsom Downs 16:55, 4 July 2020

Epsom Downs 16:55, 4 July 2020

Epsom Downs 16:55, 4 July 2020

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