Her Majesty turns to Stoute in Derby bid

DERBY HOPES: Sir Michael Stoute
DERBY HOPES: Sir Michael Stoute

The Queen’s bid for a first ever Investec Derby victory this year will rest with Sir Michael Stoute.

Britain’s richest race — scheduled for June 2 at Epsom Downs — is the only Classic that has eluded Her Majesty as an owner.

Her colours were carried by 1953 runner-up Aureole and Carlton House, who finished third seven years ago.

At last week’s entry stage, it was announced that Elector (33/1), a winner on debut at Ascot, and the unraced Sea The Stars colt Sextant (50/1) would be her contenders in 2018.

Both homebreds are trained in Newmarket by Stoute, who has won the race on five occasions.

Moulton Paddocks-based Charlie Appleby has nine contenders at this acceptance stage, headed by Group 3 Autumn Stakes victor Ghaiyyath (16/1) and French Group 3 scorer Glorious Journey (33/1), who is unbeaten in two starts.

Saeed bin Suroor — Godolphin’s other main trainer who sent out Lammtarra to Investec Derby success in 1995 — has seven three-year-olds going forward, the majority unraced.

Roger Varian’s four entries include Yarmouth maiden scorer Willie John (40/1), who was bought out of William Haggas’ yard for 1.9 million guineas at Tattersalls in February and is now owned by Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum.

Meanwhile, John Gosden, victorious with Benny The Dip (1998) and Golden Horn (2015), has the neck Racing Post Trophy runner-up Roaring Lion (12/1), owned by Qatar Racing, and winning debutant Photographer (50/1) among his 11 entries.

As it stands, 131 three-year-olds have been put forward for the country’s premier Classic, with only 20 permitted to feature in the £1.5m race.