Snow Sky withdrawal leaves 16 battling for Derby victory

 
Frank Dalleres
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SIXTEEN runners are set to contest tomorrow’s Investec Derby after the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Snow Sky was withdrawn yesterday, on the eve of the Epsom meeting.

Khalid Abdullah’s colt failed to recover from a minor knock to a joint. The Lingfield Derby Trial winner had been trading at 20-1, but was deemed “not 100 per cent” yesterday and will instead be aimed at Royal Ascot, where he could run in the King Edward VII Stakes later this month.

Favourite Australia is one of four horses who could see Aidan O’Brien become the first trainer to win the Classic three years in succession. His son Joseph will pilot the progeny of Derby winner Galileo and Oaks victor Ouija Board, with O’Brien tipping his latest star as the best he has worked with yet.

Last year’s winning jockey, Ryan Moore, rides Australia’s stablemate Geoffrey Chaucer, while O’Brien also saddles Orchestra and Kingfisher. Other fancied challengers include previous Group One winner Kingston Hill, Saeed bin Suroor’s True Story and the Dermot Weld-trained Fascinating Rock.

Snow Sky’s mount James Doyle has instead been booked for Godolphin aboard Pinzolo, meaning no ride for 2011 Derby winner Mickael Barzalona.