Ante-post favourite Military Order leads 16 contenders for Saturday’s Betfred Derby at Epsom, with Passenger the sole supplementary entry.
Representing Godolphin and trainer Charlie Appleby, Military Order booked his place in the Classic line up with a comfortable trial success at Lingfield and he is the only contender for his handler, who has won the race twice with Masar (2018) and Adayar (2021).
“From the team’s point of view, we’re very happy with him. He came out of his Lingfield Derby Trial win very well and we’ve been very pleased with him since,” Appleby told www.godolphin.com.
“He’s improving week on week physically, and we can’t fault him to date on what he has been doing in his work and on the racecourse. He goes out and gets the job done in the mornings without being flash.
“He’s a mile-and-a-half horse, so you don’t expect flashy work. That hasn’t changed from his two-year-old days and I wouldn’t expect it to change.
“Military Order, like his brother Adayar, goes out and gets the job done.”
Sir Michael Stoute saddled Desert Crown to victory last year and he looks to Passenger to give him seventh overall win the in the race.
Owners the Niarchos Family opted to stump up the £85,000 fee to add him to the 12-furlong Classic after enduring a luckless run when third in the Dante last time out.
Aidan O’Brien is the race’s leading trainer with eight wins on his CV and Auguste Rodin captains a possible four-strong team as he seeks to put a disappointing 2000 Guineas run well behind him stepping up in trip.
Adelaide River, Covent Garden and Chester winner San Antonio complete the potential Ballydoyle squad.
Frankie Dettori is set to have his last ride in the Derby aboard the John and Thady Gosden-trained Arrest, an impressive winner of the Chester Vase on his seasonal bow while Dante winner The Foxes is in contention for Andrew Balding.
York second White Birch reopposes for John Murphy, Jessica Harrington’s Leopardstown Derby Trial winner Sprewell and the Donnacha O’Brien-trained Alder round out the Irish hopefuls.
Charlie Johnston’s 2000 Guineas fifth Dubai Mile is set to be joined by stablemate Dear My Friend, who was eighth in the Dante, with Ralph Beckett’s unbeaten Artistic Star, the Roger Varian-trained King Of Steel and Waipiro for Ed Walker the other candidates.