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Stoute sweet on chances of Ulysses in Derby

24 May 2016

Trainer "very hopeful" runaway Newbury winner can provide him with a sixth triumph in QIPCO British Champions Series showpiece

Sir Michael Stoute

Stoute will run Ulysses and Across The Stars in the Derby on Saturday week. Picture courtesy of Racingfotos.com

More pieces of the Investec Derby puzzle fell into place at Epsom today when the course held its annual Breakfast With The Stars morning.

John Gosden, Andre Fabre, Roger Varian, Hugo Palmer and Mick Channon worked horses set to run in either the Derby, Oaks or Coronation Cup – all Investec-sponsored Group 1 races that form part of the QIPCO British Champions Series.

Wings Of Desire, who is disputing favouritism at around 7-2 for the Derby on Saturday week, worked satisfactorily over a mile with two stablemates under Frankie Dettori.

“He’s got a cool mind on him and I like the way he was business like today,” Gosden said. “We were not coming here for a flat-out piece of work, we were coming here to learn about the track.

“Frankie was really happy with him, and is thrilled with way he has come on mentally. He loved the way he came down the hill, changed his legs in the straight and picked up when he wanted.”

Cloth Of Stars, generally 8-1 to give Fabre and Mickael Barzalona a second Derby triumph, worked nicely over a mile and a quarter, while Postponed impressed in his spin ahead of the Coronation Cup on Friday week.

Sir Michael Stoute and Aidan O’Brien, who have each trained five Derby winners, gave live interviews over the phone.

The former will run Ulysses and Across The Stars, with Andrea Atzeni and Kieren Fallon booked to ride respectively.

“Of the two, I think Ulysses is the more mature and ready for it,” Stoute said. “I’d be very hopeful of his chance. He’s really well-balanced and we’ve always loved him.

“He ran with a lot of promise on his Newbury maiden as a two-year-old and then had a hiccup in January, so we didn’t have fully fit for when he ran at Leicester but we needed to get him moving.

“He’s been really pleasing me since and could not have done it better than he did at Newbury.”

O’Brien revealed he intends running US Army Ranger, Port Douglas, Deauville and Idaho. Bravery and Shogun might also run, but that pair have the French Derby as an alternative.

The Gurkha, commanding winner of the French 2,000 Guineas, is almost certainly heading for the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot on June 14. That is one of eight glittering QIPCO British Champions Series races at the royal meeting.

Beacon Rock is likely to miss Epsom and instead run in the King Edward VII Stakes.