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Four added to Epsom Derby field

Aidan O’Brien is keeping his cards close to his chest after leaving seven horses from a total of 18 in the Investec Derby.

Wings Of Desire (right) has been supplemented for the Derby

Wings Of Desire (right) has been supplemented for the Derby

The Ballydoyle trainer has a strong hand, headed by US Army Ranger, as he goes for a sixth win in the premier Classic at Epsom on Saturday.

US Army Ranger was making only his second racecourse appearance when just beating stablemate Port Douglas in the Chester Vase, with the runner-up that day still in consideration for the Derby.

Completing O’Brien’s team are Dante Stakes second Deauville, Idaho, Shogun, Beacon Rock and Bravery.

“They are all still in the mix for the Derby, and the first half of the week will tell us a lot and we’ll see the forecast,” he said.

“Nothing has been decided yet about riding arrangements, and Ryan (Moore) will be left as long as he wants to make up his mind.

“The French Derby is the next day and we’ll try to have runners in both.”

Connections of Deauville were pleased with his effort at York behind Wings Of Desire.

Alex Cole, racing manager to co-owners Jim and Fitri Hay, said: “It was a wonderful run. He got to the front a bit early.

“We don’t know about the mile and a half yet, so let’s hope.”

Jim Bolger would like to see good ground for Moonlight Magic, who had Shogun, Idaho and Beacon Rock in his wake when landing the Derrinstown Stud Trial at Leopardstown.

“Moonlight Magic is in good form and on target for Epsom,” said the Coolcullen handler.

“I don’t think the ground will get much worse than good, and I’ll be happy if it is good.”

The other Irish-trained entry is Dermot Weld’s Harzand, who won the Ballysax Stakes at Leopardstown last month.

The market leader is Wings Of Desire, who was supplemented at a cost of £75,000 along with Cloth Of Stars, Humphrey Bogart and Red Verdon.

Wings Of Desire burst on to the Derby scene when victorious in the Dante, having only made his racecourse debut last month.

He bids to give trainer John Gosden back-to-back successes after Golden Horn 12 months ago.

Godolphin, who own Moonlight Magic, have a second string to their bow in Cloth Of Stars, who won the Group Two Prix Greffulhe at Saint-Cloud for trainer Andre Fabre.

Ed Dunlop’s Red Verdon has earned his big chance by winning handicaps in tremendous fashion.

Silvestre de Sousa, the champion jockey, has been booked for Red Verdon. He commented: “I cantered him yesterday morning and he felt good.

“Red Verdon is a nice horse with lots of scope and we have not seen the best of him yet. He won very easily last time with George (Baker).”

The Richard Hannon-trained Humphrey Bogart won the Lingfield Derby Trial and has had experience of Epsom, having chased home So Mi Dar in the Investec Derby Trial.

“I am looking forward to the Investec Derby immensely. The horse is in great form, moving well and you never know,” Hannon said.

“He has surprised me all along this season. I didn’t think he would get a mile and a quarter – he did, I didn’t think he would get a mile and a half and he did.

“He has been to Epsom, he gets the trip and has got a lot of speed for a Derby horse – he will have more of a turn of foot than a lot of them. I hope he settles and the faster they go the more it will suit him.

“To get in the first four of the Investec Derby with Humphrey Bogart would be outstanding. We are pleased to get him there, he has earned the money it cost to supplement him and he has earned his spot.”

Sir Michael Stoute is double-handed with impressive Newbury maiden winner Ulysses and Lingfield Derby Trial third Across The Stars.

The form of the 2000 Guineas is represented by Massaat, who was runner-up to Galileo Gold. He will bid to give Owen Burrows a Classic winner in his first season as a trainer.

Completing the list of entries are David Simock’s Algometer and the Karl Burke-trained Biodynamic.

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