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Aidan O’Brien has favourite chances to pull off historic classic hat-trick at Epsom and Chantilly

Soft ground conditions could persist at Epsom up to Friday’s Oaks

A historic classic hat-trick could be on the cards for Aidan O’Brien this weekend if betting markets prove accurate.

Friday’s Betfred Oaks at Epsom kicks off a unique run of three classics in three days with Saturday’s Derby followed 24 hours later by its French equivalent, the €1.5 million Prix Du Jockey Club at Chantilly.

On Monday, O’Brien had the favourite for all three races in most ante-post lists, opening the potential for an incomparable feat, even by the Irishman’s own lofty standards.

City Of Troy is the Ballydoyle No. 1 hope to supply his trainer with a record 10th Derby after 20 entries were left in flat racing’s ‘Blue Riband’ on Monday.


They included a handful of other O’Brien-trained colts but while Los Angeles is on course to accompany City Of Troy, Diego Velazquez is a general 5/1 market leader to skip Epsom and instead try to give his trainer a second French Derby victory on Sunday.

St Mark’s Basilica broke his duck in the Jockey Club three years ago, just a couple of days after Snowfall memorably spreadeagled her Oaks opposition at Epsom. In between, though, no Ballydoyle runner made the frame as Adayar claimed the Derby.

In 1990, Roger Charlton pulled off the Epsom-Chantilly Derby double with Quest For Fame and Sanglamore.

Ylang Ylang tops the betting to give O’Brien an 11th Oaks success on Friday, just ahead of another Irish hopeful in Dermot Weld’s Ezeliya.

The centre of attention however is City Of Troy and whether O’Brien can once again pull off a remarkable transformation from Guineas flop to Derby hero.

A year ago he memorably managed it with Auguste Rodin and despite City Of Troy’s dismal effort in Newmarket’s 2,000 Guineas, when ninth of 11 as an odds-on favourite, the Justify colt is still rated the one to beat.

Monday’s latest acceptance stage saw the English-trained Tabletalk supplemented into the Derby at a cost of £75,000 (€88,000.)

Godolphin’s Futurity winner Ancient Wisdom is in line to test the form of the Dante Stakes at York, the impressive winner of which, Economics, skips the race.

Ambiente Friendly, winner of the Lingfield Trial, is another major cross-channel hope while also in the mix for Ireland is Adrian Murray’s Ballysax winner, Dallas Star.

Although O’Brien left in the trio of Diego Velazquez, Illinois and Portland, he has indicated that only the outsider Euphoric is likely to join City Of Troy and Los Angeles at Epsom.

Diego Velazquez is joined by another stable companion Cambridge among 21 now in the French Derby although there is a supplementary stage later in the week.

Ground conditions at Epsom are currently soft on the Derby course and a forecast of up to 15mms of rainfall this week suggests similar conditions on Friday.

Despite City Of Troy’s Guineas setback, the form of that Newmarket classic was boosted in a major way last weekend. Rosallion and Haatem, second and third to Notable Speech, dominated the Irish Guineas while Inisherin (sixth) landed the Sandy Lane at Haydock.

Taking encouragement from that is English trainer Clive Cox who has targeted the French Derby with Ghostwriter since the colt finished fourth at Newmarket.

“I’m very pleased indeed with him, he’s had a healthy timeframe between the Guineas and this weekend,” said Cox.

“He’s pleased me very much indeed and the form of the Guineas has worked out brilliantly, with Kevin’s [Ryan] horse winning as well as Richard’s [Hannon] two finishing first and second in Ireland, so we’re very happy.

“We’ve been looking forward to stepping him up to a mile and a quarter, more importantly. He did really well last year when he was unbeaten and winning over a mile at two would give us every indication that he should get a little bit further this year.

“I hope we fare well in the draw and I’m really looking forward to it,” he added.

Ahead of his enviable classic engagements, Ryan Moore will be in action for a couple of days at Tipperary.

He has three spins at the track on Tuesday evening including on board the newcomer Alfred Tennyson in a juvenile conditions event. Another newcomer, Truly Enchanting goes later in a maiden.

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