Atzeni targets Derby success
Jockey Andrea Atzeni says winning Saturday’s Investec Derby on Ulysses would be his greatest accomplishment in the plate.
The 25-year-old Italian will partner Sir Michael Stoute’s colt as the trainer bids for a record-breaking sixth success in the Epsom classic.
Atzeni, who will also be on board Roger Varian’s Postponed in the Coronation Cup the same afternoon, said: “It’s a jockey’s dream to win the Derby.
“It would provide me with the biggest day of my career, ahead of winning both the King George and the Sheema Classic.
“I’m just delighted that Sir Michael has given me the chance, as 10 days ago I didn’t even have a ride.”
Ulysses is a son of the champion sire Galileo, himself a Derby winner and father to three other winners of the classic.
Light Shift, who won the Oaks in 2007, is Ulysses’ mother.
“I’ve sat on him a couple of times now and he is a very well balanced horse,” said Atzeni, who was second in the Classic on Kingston Hill back in 2014.
“He’s bred to win the race and Sir Michael knows what it takes to win the Derby.It’s a wide-open race. There are a lot of unknown horses and everyone is taking their chance.
“He is very well proportioned, a good moving horse. He is not massive, he is a good size — you wouldn’t want to be too big anyway to go around Epsom,”
Sir Michael first won the race with Shergar 35 years ago before further glory with Shahrastani (1986), Kris Kin (2003), North Light (2004) and Workforce (2010).
The Freemason Lodge Stables handler is double-handed for the big race with Lingfield Derby Trial third Across The Stars, who will be ridden by Kieron Fallon, also entered.
John Gosden’s Wings of Desire, one of four supplementary entries, is among the 18 horses currently standing their ground for the 237th running of the race.
Ed Dunlop’s Red Verdon has also been supplemented, along with French raider Cloth of Stars and Richard Hannon’s Humphrey Bogart.
The extra fees have boosted the prize money to £1.5 million.
Twenty-four hours earlier, Godolphin’s Skiffle will contest the Oaks after being supplemented for the fillies’ Classic.
The Charlie Appleby-trained three-year-old has been added to the field for the mile-and-a-half Group One contest at a cost of £30,000.
The horse only made her debut when third in an Ascot maiden 17 days ago, but she took a giant leap forward when beating The Black Princess by a length in the Height Of Fashion Stakes at Goodwood.
Eleven horses now stand for the race.
Appleby said: “She did a routine piece of work on Saturday and we were very happy with her.
“She’s a nice filly, she’s done nothing wrong and if we can run into a place I’ll be delighted.”
Skiffle will be hoping to emulate Snow Fairy, who won the 2010 Oaks after previous success at Goodwood.
The Oaks’ field is headed by 1000 Guineas winner Minding, favourite for the race which now has a prize fund of £475,000.