Epsom yearlings revealed

December 15, 2017

The Investec Derby at Epsom may be a few months away, but details of the potential line-up for the world's greatest horse race in 2019 are gradually taking shape.

This week saw the announcement of the yearling entries, with 338 young horses hoping to find their way into the starting line-up. 

Over time, this will be whittled down, but the 18-month lead-in offers a chance to test just who the real contenders are going to be when the race comes round. 

Before that, of course, racing fans can now book corporate hospitality packages for the 2018 edition of the race. 

Irish outfit Coolmore have no less than 45 entries for 2019 as they seek to continue a spectacular run of success in the classic race that has seen them enjoy seven winners in various winner combinations, including five so far this decade. Pour Moi won in 2011 and Camelot the following year, Ruler of the world was a third successive Coolmore victor in 2013 and the following year Australia made it four in a row. After a couple of misses, this year brought another triumph thanks to Wings of Eagles. 

The Aga Khan, who won his fifth Derby in 2016 with Harzand, has 22 entrants, headed by the unbeaten Zarkava - definitely a horse to watch.

Racegoers may also be watching the form of Hamdan Al Maktoum's 21 horses. He won with Nashwan in 1989 and Erhaab in 1994. 

King Abdulla has 18 entrants and is seeking a fourth win, while Godolphin has 11 and Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum has entered ten.

Her Majesty the Queen should be feeling cheerful when she comes to Epsom this year, as it is just a couple of weeks after her grandson Harry gets married, but she will be happier still if she can finally win the race. 

She has five entries for 2019 and will hope to do better than the runner's up spot from 1953 with Aureole and the third place achieved by Carlton House in 2011. 

A number of entrants have been sired by leading horses who have been retired to stud. Australia leads the way on 46, with 2009 winner Sea of Stars next on 22, Dubawi in 21 and the unbeaten Aussie wonder horse Frankel on 20.  

Andrew Cooper, the head of racing & clerk of the course at Epsom Downs, commented: "There are now more ways than ever to secure a place in the Investec Derby. This year we created a fifth one when we offered the winner of the two-year-old conditions race at Epsom Downs' Season Finale fixture a wild card entry into the following year's Investec Derby.
"Yearling entry remains the most cost-effective way of entering the Investec Derby and I would like to thank all the owners and trainers who have supported the premier Classic in this way for 2019. It's exciting to think the world's best horse could be one of these yearlings."

Further opportunities to enter will also be presented between September next year and May 2019.

The second entry stage comes in April 2019 and the supplementary entry stage on May 27th 2019. There will also be wildcard places for the winners of two races at Epsom Downs before then - an extended mile in September next year and the ten-furlong Investec Derby Trial in April 2019.

Image: Warren Little / Getty, from Keith Prowse subscription 

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