Mickael Barzalona is confident Andre Fabre’s Cloth Of Stars has what it takes to give him a second Investec Derby success from just his second ride in the historic race.
The Frenchman shot to fame aged 19 when he produced Pour Moi to win right on the line in the 2011 renewal, famously standing up in his irons to salute the crowd.
Read more: Cloth of Stars good bet for Epsom
This year he rides Cloth Of Stars, who took to the Epsom track yesterday morning as part of the racecourse’s Breakfast with the Stars event, and he was full of praise for the colt.
“He has proved he is the best three-year-old in France over 1m2f and I think he will stay the extra two furlongs.
“The Investec Derby is a very hard race but I think I have the horse to win it again.
Fabre’s challenger won the Group Two Prix Greffulhe last time out and was brought over to get accustomed to Epsom's unique undulations.
“In France most of the tracks are really flat,” said Barzalona. “The undulations here make a big difference so it's very important for the horse to get some experience of the course.”
“He’s very well-balanced and I was happy with him. He’s fast out of the gates which will be a big help to get a good position early.”
Another horse on view at Epsom was Dante winner Wings Of Desire, trained and ridden by last year's winning duo John Gosden and Frankie Dettori.
After his canter, Dettori said: “Golden Horn won the Dante by three-and-a-half lengths and it was obvious he was the best three-year-old in the Derby, so it's unfair to compare the two.
“We’re hoping for the best as there are 10 horses in there that could be as good as mine.”
Gosden's colt shares the head of Betway's market at 4/1 with Coolmore's US Army Ranger.
He is one of eight left in the race for five-time Derby-winning trainer Aidan O'Brien, but the Irishman almost certainly ruled out French Guineas winner The Gurkha who, according to O'Brien, “will probably go to the St James's Palace” at Royal Ascot.
Commenting on his plan for Chester Vase victor US Army Ranger, O'Brien said, “I think he's very likely to go to Epsom.”
“I'd say there's a good chance Ryan [Moore] will ride him but I couldn't say for definite.”
Moore will have a tough decision to make as O'Brien could also field Dante runner-up Deauville and Chester Vase second Port Douglas.
“US Army Ranger is open to the most improvement as he has been the biggest baby. He should progress and has an awful lot of class.”
On Deauville, O'Brien said: “We couldn't have been happier with that run in the Dante. He's not too big, but he's well balanced and a good moving horse.”
Sir Michael Stoute's Ulysses didn't make the trip to Epsom, but his trainer sounded confident of him running well in the big race.
“He's got an Epsom pedigree and a beautifully balanced action so should handle it well.”
Andrea Atzeni takes the ride on the colt and admitted: “to get a ride on a horse like Ulysses is pretty amazing.”
Atzeni was on the Downs to canter Roger Varian's red-hot Coronation Cup favourite Postponed.
According to Varian, "the whole day out would have been a better experience for him than what I could have done at home."