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Twenty possibles stand firm for Investec Derby

29 May 2017

Big field on the cards for the premier Classic at Epsom on Saturday.

Best Solution delighted Saeed Bin Suroor with his work at Chelmsford. Picture: Racingfotos.com

The biggest Investec Derby field in more than a decade is on the cards after 20 entries were left in the premier Classic on Monday.

There were two £85,000 supplementary entries for Saturday’s showpiece at Epsom, which already boasted prize money of £1.5 million.

Permian, the Dante winner, and Khalidi, who won the Cocked Hat Stakes at Goodwood on Friday, were added by their respective connections.

Khalidi is one of five possible runners in the race for John Gosden, including Cracksman, the 4-1 favourite. Gosden indicated to British Champions Series that all five were intended runners.

Aidan O’Brien has seven possibles to shuffle with Cliffs Of Moher seemingly his main contender.

If all 20 stand their ground, it will be the first maximum-sized field for the Derby since Kris Kin won in 2003. The biggest field since was when Sir Percy defeated 17 rivals in 2006.

Lingfield Derby Trial winner Best Solution delighted his trainer, Saaed Bin Suroor, when he had a mile and a quarter workout at Chelmsford on Saturday in the company of fellow Derby contender and stablemate Dubai Thunder.

Best Solution, partnered by Neil Pollard, ended the gallop on top and Bin Suroor said: “It was a nice bit of work, it was never meant to be a race.

“Best Solution has been a horse who has never shown much in the morning. But now, after his win at Lingfield, he is working very well. He is thriving.”

Dubai Thunder was a runaway winner of a Newbury maiden on his debut this month and will be having only his second start when lining up at Epsom on Saturday.

“This was only the second time in his life that he had been away to a racecourse, and he’s constantly learning,” Bin Suroor said. “He’s come back from that experience very well.”

Bin Suroor’s third Derby challenger will be Benbatl, the Dante runner-up, who galloped on the Limekilns at Newmarket on Monday under Chris Catlin.

“I’m happy the way he has come out of the Dante at York,” Bin Suroor said. “He’s sound and healthy.”

Bin Suroor scooped the Derby with Lammtarra in 1995 but has since failed to add to that tally.

“The Derby is the biggest race in the world, and consequently it is hard to win,” he said.

“The track at Epsom is very difficult. Not many can handle it. The three we run this year are not big horses. They are medium size, and this gives them a better chance.”