sport

Australia still in Derby field

Ante-post favourite Australia heads 29 possibles from the Aidan O'Brien team as 118 horses remain in the Investec Derby at Epsom.

Bred in the purple by 2001 Derby hero Galileo and out of 2004 Oaks winner Ouija Board, the colt went into his winter quarters on the back of a six-length romp in a Group Three contest over a mile at Leopardstown in September.

O'Brien, who has saddled the last two winners of the world's premier Classic, goes for a fifth triumph in all in this year's renewal on June 7.

Others in the Ballydoyle handler's powerful team include Geoffrey Chaucer and Indian Maharaja. Both horses are unbeaten in two starts and impeccably bred.

The Irish challenge does not end with O'Brien, as two-times Derby-winning trainer John Oxx has 10 left in and Jim Bolger, who struck with New Approach in 2008, has four at the latest scratchings' stage.

The promising Free Eagle is one of two horses from Dermot Weld's yard.

There are 17 entries owned by Godolphin, 12 from Saeed bin Suroor's stable and five trained by Charlie Appleby, headed by Be Ready.

Trained by the former, the New Approach colt won a Listed race convincingly at Doncaster in September.

The five French-trained entries include Jonathan Pease's Karakontie, winner of the Group One Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere over seven furlongs at Longchamp in October.

The unraced colts going forward for the Investec Derby include The New Pharaoh, trained in Newmarket by Chris Wall.

The three-year-old son of Montjeu is a full-brother to Motivator, the winner in 2005 for Michael Bell.

Wall said: "At this moment, it is a speculative entry for The New Pharaoh in the Investec Derby.

"He has always been quite a backward horse and is not as precocious as his brother. We have left him in at this stage because of how he's bred and what he is, so we will have to see how he progresses in the early part of the spring.

"We are in the dark with him because we have not done any fast work, so we don't know what we've got.

"If he's capable of running in a maiden in the spring, you would probably be looking to start him off over a mile or a mile and a quarter. We are just starting to step things up in their work at present, so we will see how he progresses over the next month or so.

"It's exciting to have a horse with his pedigree in the yard."

The horses currently engaged in Flat racing's most famous race were all originally entered as yearlings in December 2012.

There is a second entry stage on April 8 and a final supplementary entry stage on June 2.

Among those who could be added to the potential Investec Derby field at the second entry stage is the Roger Varian-trained Kingston Hill, winner of the Group One Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster in October.