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Can Aiden O’Brien Have Success in the Epsom Derby and Oaks?

Aiden O’Brien had a disappointing time at Newmarket in both the 1000 and 2000 Guineas. The Irish trainer will be looking to bounce back in style at both Epsom and Royal Ascot. Can he train the winners of the Derby or Oaks or will Charlie Appelby have another successful year?


The first two classics of the English flat-racing season took place at Newmarket in early May. O’Brien was expected to win the 2000 Guineas with hot-favourite City of Troy but he could only finish ninth. Ylang Ylang did slightly better in the 1000 Guineas but finished fifth.


O’Brien will be hoping for much better results at Epsom. He’s trained the winner of the Epsom Oaks on ten previous occasions. This year it’s his 1000 Guineas runner Ylang Ylang who is currently heads the market at 4/1 to win the classic on May 31.


It’s still possible that this runner might opt to go for the Irish 10000 Guineas that is being run on May 26 (and currently 11/1 to win) but that’s over a shorter distance. Ylang Ylang may only have finished fifth at Newmarket but was just a length behind the winner Elmalka.


The three-year-old was at the rear early on in the race but stayed on well. This race at Epsom is over half a mile further and her sire Shambolic regularly ran at this longer distance.


If Ylang Ylang doesn’t win an 11th Oaks for O’Brien, another of his runners Opera Singer may well do so. Available at 16/1 with current bonus bets, this filly won two Group Races last year. Opera Singer is yet to run as a three-year-old but could well be a major force at Epsom. The filly is 3/1 to win the Irish 1000 Guineas and that may be the race for her that is chosen by O’Brien.


Another possible winner of the Oaks is Tamfana who is trained by David Menuisier. This runner is 15/1 and was fourth in the 1000 Guineas. A clear run didn’t come her way at Newmarket but ran on and was still only beaten by a length and has good each-way prospects in the Oaks. Ylang Ylang looks the one to back though.


The Epsom Derby was first run in 1780 and is always a glamorous occasion. Currently the favourite to win this year’s race on June 1 is Charlie Appelby’s Arabian Crown. Appelby has trained the winner of the Derby twice in the past six years. Can he get another winner in 2024?


Arabian Crown didn’t make a winning debut as a two-year-old but did put in an eye-catching performance. That was proved to be a correct view with a couple of wins, including a Group 3 win at Newmarket.


His seasonal reappearance was in the Derby Trial at Sandown and he won that by three-and-a-quarter lengths. That race was over 10 furlongs and his sire Dubawi came third in the Derby 19 years ago. A bold effort at current odds of 4/1 looks likely.


Appelby is also likely to run Ancient Wisdom who is 10/1 to win the Epsom Derby. This runner won four races as a two-year-old. That included winning two Group Races and a Listed Race. His last run saw him win the Group 1 Futurity Trophy at Doncaster. He’s due to make his seasonal reappearance in the Dante Stakes at York on May 16 and a good run there will show just how hot his Derby hopes are.


No trainer has had more winners of the Epsom Derby than Aiden O’Brien. He’s trained nine Derby winners including Auguste Rodin last year. He has several horses currently entered for the 2024 Epsom Derby.


At 5/1 in the market is City of Troy who O’Brien will hope to see run better than he did in the 2000 Guineas. The feeling was that the early fast pace didn’t help the previously unbeaten runner.


His sire Justify won over a mile-and-a-half at Baltimore Park in America. The longer distance shouldn’t therefore be a problem for City of Troy but he has a lot to prove after what happened at Newmarket.


O’Brien also runs Henry Longfellow who is the third favourite at 8/1. He’s unbeaten in two runs and is the 7/2 favourite to win the Irish 2000 Guineas. It’ll be interesting to see which race he’ll run in next month. He was sired by Duwabi and his dam Minding won the mile-and-a-half Epsom Oaks eight years ago so should be effective over 12 furlongs.


This year’s Epsom Derby looks like an open race. Arabian Crown has been impressive so far and could well be the winner unless City of Troy can rebuild his reputation.