Ireland’s champion Flat trainer Aidan O’Brien has made six entries for the £100,000 G3 Betway Winter Derby at Lingfield Park on Saturday, February 24, it was revealed today.
This is a break from tradition for O’Brien, who last had a runner at a British All-Weather track in 2002.
O’Brien’s team is headlined by two five-year-old sons of Galileo, American G1 scorer Deauville and seven-time G1 winner Highland Reel’s brother Idaho, who has succeeded in two G2s, most recently the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot last year.
Neither has raced on the All-Weather yet, with Deauville last appearing in the G1 Hong Kong Cup on turf at Sha Tin on December 10, while Idaho finished fifth of 17 in the G1 Japan Cup at Tokyo on November 26. Betway has priced up Deauville at 5/1 and Idaho at 8/1.
The trainer also has three four-year-old War Front colts, led by Lancaster Bomber (8/1), who finished runner-up in both the G1 Breeders’ Cup Mile and G1 Woodbine Mile year. One of his 15 starts has not been on turf and came when winning the G2 UAE Derby on dirt at Meydan in March, 2017.
Both War Decree (5/1), an impressive winner of the G3 Diamond Stakes on Polytrack at Dundalk in September and a G2 winner on turf, and War Secretary (16/1), two from two at Dundalk including a Listed success over seven furlongs last year, are unbeaten on the All-Weather.
The final O’Brien entry for the G3 Betway Winter Derby is the J P McManus-owned mare Clear Skies (20/1) a four-time winner at Dundalk this winter – one maiden and three handicaps – at distances up to 12 furlongs.
The 10-furlong Betway Winter Derby on Polytrack is one of the highlights of the All-Weather Championships and a Fast-Track Qualifier, with the winner guaranteed a free start in £200,000 Betway Easter Classic over the course and distance on £1-million All-Weather Championships Finals Day, Good Friday, March 30.
The 36 entries for the 2018 Betway Winter Derby represent an increase of 10 on the level of entries in 2017
Last year’s winner, six-year-old Convey (11/2), who followed up in the Betway Easter Classic, is one of two entries for Sir Michael Stoute and could try to become for the first two-time winner of the Betway Winter Derby. He only raced once on turf after his Betway Easter Classic victory on Good Friday last year, finishing sixth of seven in the G1 Champions Mile at Sha Tin, Hong Kong in May. He is unbeaten in three All-Weather outings.
Stoute’s other potential runner Autocratic (6/1), a five-year-old Dubawi horse owned and bred by Cheveley Park Stud, is held in high regard and captured the G3 Brigadier Gerard Stakes on turf at Sandown Park in May.
Fellow Newmarket trainer Hugo Palmer has a lightly-raced four-year-old in Star Archer (25/1). Khalid Abdullah’s homebred was a six-length winner of a two-year-old maiden at Haydock Park in 2016, but missed the whole of last year through injury before returning with a comfortable victory in a novice race on Tapeta at Wolverhampton on January 15.
Palmer reported: “Star Archer has a fair bit to find [rated 90] as things stand, but we expected him to win pretty much on the bridle at Wolverhampton last week and he did.
“He has always been a horse I have thought the world of and it is great to have him back on the track.
“He has taken the race really well and will need to run again before the Betway Winter Derby. It could conceivably be in the Winter Derby Trial [Lingfield Park, Saturday, February 3] or alternatively there is a handicap at Wolverhampton the following week.
“The Betway Winter Derby might just come a month too soon in his preparation, given he was off the track for so long, but if everything clicked and went according to plan, we might give it a go.”
Master The World (David Elsworth, 8/1) and Victory Bond (William Haggas, 9/2 favourite) occupied the first two places in the Listed Betway Quebec Stakes over the course and distance in November, separated by a length and three quarters. Victory Bond franked the form next time out by winning a conditions race impressively at Wolverhampton.
David Simcock’s three entries include multiple Listed scorer Mr Owen (20/1), while dual G3 victor Frankuus (10/1), a four-year-old Frankel colt who is yet to run on the All-Weather, and popular seven-year-old Fire Fighting (25/1) are the two possible runners for Yorkshire-based handler Mark Johnston.
Elbereth (Andrew Balding, 12/1), one of three mares among the entries and fourth in the 2017 Betwaty Easter Classic, finished fourth in the G1 Coronation Cup on turf at Epsom Downs in June.
G2 King Edward VII Stakes runner-up Khalidi (Clive Cox, 13/2) plus Petite Jack (Archie Watson, 10/1) and in-form handicapper Goring (Eve Johnson-Houghton, 20/1), both victorious at Lingfield Park last time out, are also engaged.
George Hill, Clerk of the Course at Lingfield Park, commented: “We are delighted with the entries for the G3 Betway Winter Derby, which is one of the feature races of the All-Weather Championships. It is an excellent race in its own right and, being a Fast Track Qualifier, is often a pointer towards the Betway Easter Classic on Good Friday.
“The quality of the entries is excellent, and it is great to see Sir Michael Stoute’s Convey back to defend his title, alongside stablemate Autocratic amongst 34 others.
“We have worked hard to increase the awareness of the All-Weather Championships abroad, particularly Ireland and France, so are pleased to see entries from Aidan O’Brien and David Marnane.
“We will, of course, continue to offer assistance to foreign connections with their travel arrangements and logistics to come along and enjoy Finals Day.”
Betway’s Alan Alger, said: “After a record-breaking season of 28 Group One victories last year, Aidan O’Brien could be planning something of an after-party at the Betway Winter Derby.
“With six horses entered for the feature race, we make O’Brien just 11/4 to train a very first Winter Derby winner, a trophy that would sit nicely on the mantelpiece next to his six from Epsom.
“War Decree and Deauville, both 5/1 shots, look the most likely to represent O’Brien at Lingfield, while William Haggas’ Victory Bond is the early favourite at 9/2.
“Last year’s winner, Convey, hasn’t been on the track since April and can be backed at 11/2 to successfully defend his crown.”
Betway Winter Derby – Betway prices:
Victory Bond 9/2, War Decree 5/1, Deauville 5/1, Convey 11/2, Autocratic 6/1, Khalidi 13/2, Master The World 8/1, Idaho 8/1, Lancaster Bomber 8/1, Frankuus 10/1, Petite Jack 10/1, Born To Be Alive 12/1, Intern 12/1, Elbereth 12/1, Utmost 16/1, War Secretary 16/1, Goring 20/1, Mount Tahan 20/1, Mr Owen 20/1, Red Label 20/1, Tricorn 20/1, Clear Skies 20/1, Battalion 25/1, Calling Out 25/1, Contrast 25/1, Fire Fighting 25/1, London Protocol 25/1, Star Archer 25/1, Battle Of Marathon 33/1, Elleval 33/1, Gabrial 33/1, Man of Harlech 40/1, Abe Lincoln 50/1, C Note 50/1, Mitchum Swagger 50/1, Mia Tesoro 50/1.
The Betway Winter Derby
G3, £100,000 total prize fund. Lingfield Park, Saturday, February 24, 1m 2f. For four-year-olds and upwards. Weights: colts and geldings 9st, fillies 8st 11lb. Penalties: after August 31, 2017, a winner of a G3 race 3lb, a winner of a G2 race 5lb, a winner of a G1 race 7lb. Entries closed January 23, entries revealed January 24 (36 entries), scratchings deadline February 6, five-day confirmations February 19, final declarations February 22. Maximum field 14 runners.
|ABE LINCOLN (USA)||5||Susan Roy||Jeremy Noseda|
|AUTOCRATIC||5||Cheveley Park Stud||Sir Michael Stoute|
|BATTALION (IRE)||8||Melbourne 10 Racing||Jamie Osborne|
|BATTLE OF MARATHON (USA)||6||G Smith-Bernal||John Ryan|
|BORN TO BE ALIVE (IRE)||4||Tim Dykes & Elaine Burke||Karl Burke|
|C NOTE (IRE)||5||G C Stevens||Heather Main|
|CALLING OUT (FR)||7||Tick Tock Partnership||David Simcock|
|CLEAR SKIES||5||J P McManus||Aidan O’Brien IRE|
|CONTRAST (IRE)||4||Highclere T’Bred Racing – Thomas Hardy||Richard Hannon|
|CONVEY||6||Robert Ng||Sir Michael Stoute|
|DEAUVILLE (IRE)||5||Fitri Hay/Michael Tabor/Sue Magnier/Derrick Smith||Aidan O’Brien IRE|
|ELBERETH||7||David Taylor||Andrew Balding|
|ELLEVAL (IRE)||8||D Lavelle||David Marnane IRE|
|FIRE FIGHTING (IRE)||7||Alan Spence||Mark Johnston|
|FRANKUUS (IRE)||4||Hussain Lootah & Ahmad Al Shaikh||Mark Johnston|
|GABRIAL (IRE)||9||Dr Marwan Koukash||Richard Fahey|
|GORING (GER)||6||G C Stevens||Eve Johnson Houghton|
|IDAHO (IRE)||5||Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith & Sue Magnier||Aidan O’Brien IRE|
|INTERN (IRE)||4||Orbis Bloodstock (UK) Limited||David Simcock|
|KHALIDI||4||Nizar Anwar||Clive Cox|
|LANCASTER BOMBER (USA)||4||Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith & Sue Magnier||Aidan O’Brien IRE|
|LONDON PROTOCOL (FR)||5||Ontoawinner, R McKeown & E Burke||Karl Burke|
|MAN OF HARLECH||7||Elite Racing Club||Jim Boyle|
|MASTER THE WORLD (IRE)||7||K Quinn/ C Benham||David Elsworth|
|MIA TESORO (IRE)||5||Deron Pearson||Charlie Fellowes|
|MITCHUM SWAGGER||6||The Anagram Partnership||Ralph Beckett|
|MOUNT TAHAN (IRE)||6||T A Rahman||Kevin Ryan|
|MR OWEN (USA)||6||Qatar Racing Limited||David Simcock|
|PETITE JACK||5||W Burn||Archie Watson|
|RED LABEL (IRE)||4||Les Boyer Partnership||Marco Botti|
|STAR ARCHER||4||Khalid Abdullah||Hugo Palmer|
|TRICORN (IRE)||4||H R H Princess Haya of Jordan||John Gosden|
|UTMOST (USA)||4||George Strawbridge & John R Hass||John Gosden|
|VICTORY BOND||5||Bloomsbury Stud||William Haggas|
|WAR DECREE (USA)||4||Andrew Rosen/Sue Magnier/Michael Tabor/Derrick Smith||Aidan O’Brien IRE|
|WAR SECRETARY (USA)||4||Derrick Smith, Sue Magnier, Michael Tabor||Aidan O’Brien IRE|