/ Racing

Dawn Approach heads list of 17 colts added to Derby

Updated: Thursday, 11 Apr 2013 15:31 | Comments

Dawn Approach is a best-price 12-1 for the Derby
Dawn Approach is a best-price 12-1 for the Derby

Last season's champion two-year-old Dawn Approach is among a record 17 second-stage entries for the Investec Derby.

The unbeaten son of 2008 Epsom hero New Approach was added to the premier Classic at a cost of £8,000. He is already hot favourite for the Qipco 2000 Guineas.

As well as the Jim Bolger-trained Dawn Approach, Godolphin have also entered the Saeed bin Suroor-trained pair of Secret Number and Steeler.

First Cornerstone, owned by Team Valor whose runners include Dubai World Cup hero Animal Kingdom, has been put in by trainer Andy Oliver.

Winner of two of his first three starts, First Cornerstone was a creditable fourth to Kingsbarns in the Group One Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster in October.

"First Cornerstone is in the Investec Derby, the Prix du Jockey Club and the Irish Derby," said the County Tyrone handler.

"The idea would be to start him off in a Derby trial and then we will pick out which one to go for from there. We will just weigh things up nearer the time but it gives us some options.

"Physically, he has done well over the winter. He had a nice long break and really enjoyed himself. He is not a huge horse, but he stands over a lot of ground and is a lovely, easy moving horse.

"On bare form, he looks as if he deserves an entry in the Derby. Everything about him smacks that he will stay the trip and his current owners, Team Valor, said they want to aim him at a Derby.

"He is a very relaxed horse and loves his work, and at this stage we are very happy with his preparation. We haven't asked him any serious questions yet but we will start to wind him up now.

"All things being equal, he will probably start off in the Derrinstown Derby Trial but we also have the option of running him in the Dante Stakes at York.

"We are a bit in the dark about how he will go on better ground. He is a very sound and easy moving horse but he has done all his winning on soft or heavy ground.

"I'm not going to avoid better ground, though, because I have no reason to but it is something we will keep in mind."

North Yorkshire trainer Ann Duffield has given an entry to Willie The Whipper.

The Whipper colt, bought by Qatar Racing, was second in the Group One Criterium De Saint-Cloud in November.

"We are looking at the Investec Derby for Willie The Whipper. It's obviously tilting at windmills but he has got decent form - second in that French Group One - and we have always thought he is a very nice horse so he is entitled to have an entry," said Duffield.

"He is fine at the moment and will probably start off in the Chester Vase (9 May). He has strengthened up over the winter and come out of it well so we are very hopeful.

"We never got the opportunity to run him on anything over than heavy ground last year and, although he handled it well, we have always thought he would be better on better ground, but time will tell.

"He is out of a Slip Anchor mare who won over a mile and five furlongs so I don't think the step up to a mile and a half will be a problem."

Four-times Derby winning trainer Henry Cecil has made second entries for Al Waab, Frankel's half-brother Morpheus and Squire Osbaldeston.

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