Epsom Derby News: Desert Crown sits atop 21 ready for Classic

21 horses have stood their ground for the Cazoo Epsom Derby on June 4 and Desert Crown is a realistic favourite say connections.

Owners of Sir Michael Stoute's Cazoo Epsom Derby favourite Desert Crown say he has every right to lead the market for the Classic on June 4.

21 horses have stood their ground for the one mile, four furlong Blue Riband, including all the major ante-post contenders.

Desert Crown went straight to the top of the market after an impressive win in the Dante at York, piling the pressure on Aidan O'Brien's Stone Age who is second favourite.

Newmarket elder-statesman Stoute has won the Epsom Derby five times already and is aiming to provide Desert Crown's owner Saeed Suhail with a second victory after the pair's win in 2003 with Kris Kin carrying the yellow and blue silks.

Suhail's racing manager Bruce Raymond said: "All reports are good, he's been out for a pick of grass and jogged for a few days, all fine.

"I think he's a very worthy favourite. I think he'll act on the track, I don't think he'll have any problems there at all. I think he'll stay well, I'm not worried about that.

"It's usually good ground there. I don't think he'd want firm ground but it's not a worry. It's usually used after the race as an excuse but it's not a worry going into it.

"There's less razzmatazz going into it than there used to be and he looked unflappable at York.

"I've seen all his work and what I can say is he will definitely improve from York, as three weeks before the race he wouldn't have been racing anywhere.

"He just blossomed which, to be fair, Michael can do to horses. He knows what they are going to do in February.

"His dam has produced all types - sprinters and stayers - but the jockey came in and said the best part was passing the post, he couldn't pull him up."

Jockey Richard Kingscote's decision to move to Stoute last year has has paid almost immediate dividends with the plum Derby ride.

"It's nice for Richard, he won on him last year too and it's worked out well," Raymond went on.

"Look at the last few years, without being detrimental, who would have thought Adam Kirby would win the Derby on a third string (Adayar, 2021) or before that the likes of Emmet McNamara (Serpentine, 2020) or Padraig Beggy (Wings Of Eagles, 2017) for Ballydoyle.

"It's not always Ryan Moore or Frankie Dettori, whereas in my day they were all ridden by Lester Piggott! Richard wouldn't be riding for Michael if he wasn't very competent."

Meanwhile, Ballydoyle's O'Brien has a formidable hand left in with five entries including Stone Age, Changingoftheguard, Ivy League, Star Of India and United Nations.

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