Andrea Atzeni is excited about his Investec Derby prospects after being snapped up by Michael Stoute to ride Ulysses.

The Italian finished second on Kingston Hill two years ago and will certainly be on the best-bred horse in the race given Ulysses is by 2001 Derby winner Galileo and out of 2007 Oaks heroine Light Shift.

It was a little disappointing Ulysses took three races to break his maiden but he is a typical Stoute late-developer and the fact the Freemason Lodge handler feels it is worth rolling the dice, having won the Classic five times already, suggests he will not be out of place.

Atzeni said: "I didn't think I was going to get a ride in the race until about 10 days ago, when Michael phoned me up and asked if I wanted to partner Ulysses. I was delighted to accept.

"Everyone likes Ulysses in the yard and they've always thought a lot of him, even as a two-year-old. I know it's a big step up from a maiden to a Derby, but it's been done before and he's trained by Michael, who knows how to win the race.

"Everyone likes Ulysses in the yard and they've always thought a lot of him"

"He's a beautifully-bred horse and the couple of times I've sat on him he's given me a very good feel. He's got a good mind, is a good mover and will definitely stay. I would not swap him for anything.

"A lot of horses jig-jog or pull, especially when they know they are going to the gallops. But he walks there calmly, sets off and travels nicely behind. That will stand him in good stead on Saturday.

"The two bits of work I've done on him have been on the all-weather and nothing crazy - you don't want to be leaving the race on the gallops - but I let him stretch him legs and he quickened away from the lead horse. He moved good and is ready to go.

"It's an open Derby, not like in previous years when you had odds-on shots like Camelot and Australia. Everyone is going there thinking they have a chance. I'll just worry about my horse and getting him a nice run round."

Sean Levey should know what a Derby winner feels like, having worked at Ballydoyle, and he gets the leg-up on Richard Hannon's Humphrey Bogart, one of four horses in the field to have been supplemented.

"There are a lot of green horses in this year's field, nowhere near as battle-hardened as he is," he said.

"I've always thought you need a horse with three things to win the Derby - speed, very good balance and a good attitude. Humphrey ticks all those boxes.

"Every day he's got his head over the door, neighing at you. He's ready to get up and go every morning. You could say he's nearly overly genuine - he can't wait to get on the gallops and give you 110 per cent.

"We rarely work him because he keeps himself fit, but I've sat on him out every day since his win at Lingfield. His coat looks amazing, he's full of himself, I could not knock not him for anything - it's all gone perfectly."