Churchill the star name as 129 horses remain in Investec Derby at Epsom

Thu 9 Mar 2017

Last season's champion two-year-old Churchill heads 129 hopefuls for the Investec Derby following the scratchings deadline.

The Aidan O'Brien-trained colt tops the ante-post market for both the Derby and the Qipco 2000 Guineas after a superb 2016 that saw him win five of his six starts, culminating in the Dubai Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket.

O'Brien has won the Epsom Classic five times and has 27 remaining entries.

Other leading Ballydoyle contenders include Sir John Lavery, Capri and Yucatan.

O'Brien's son, Joseph, enjoyed two Derby triumphs as a jockey on board Australia and Camelot and could be represented this year for the first time as a trainer with three entries going forward - Druids Cross, Rekindling and Renaissance Man.

Last year's premier Classic went to Harzand for trainer Dermot Weld and owner the Aga Khan.

The same team could be represented in the summer by Haripour, a half-brother to Harzand.

David Menuisier is dreaming of having a first runner in the Derby in Contrapposto, who was runner-up to Rivet at York in August but well beaten behind that same horse in the Racing Post Trophy after winning a maiden at Nottingham.

The Pulborough trainer said: "H e needs to prove himself in the next few months and then we will see where we go.

"It is all very exciting."

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