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Page last updated at 15:57 GMT, Friday, 28 May 2010 16:57 UK

Epsom Derby 2010: Vermeer replaces Abbey as favourite

Investec Derby meeting, Epsom 4-5 June
Coverage: BBC TV, 5 live and BBC Sport website

St Nicholas Abbey winning the Racing Post Trophy in October 2009
St Nicholas Abbbey left his rivals trailing in the 2009 Racing Post Trophy

Jan Vermeer is the new Derby favourite after jockey Johnny Murtagh said he had yet to decide his big-race ride.

Murtagh said he would not announce who he was riding until the middle of the week before the 5 June Epsom Classic.

Murtagh said on Friday that St Nicholas Abbey, an Aidan O'Brien stablemate of Jan Vermeer, did not sparkle in the same way as three days earlier.

Meanwhile, Godolphin have revealed Frankie Dettori will ride recent Goodwood winner Rewilding in the race.

Rewilding will be supplemented for the Derby at the confirmation stage on Monday.


O'Brien currently has four of the main contenders in the Derby betting - St Nicholas Abbey, Jan Vermeer, Midas Touch and Cape Blanco.

"Johnny Murtagh rode St Nicholas Abbey this morning and thought he might not have shown the same sparkle he showed last Tuesday morning, therefore he won't make up his mind what horse he rides in the Derby until the middle of next week," O'Brien told the Coolmore website.

St Nicholas Abbey was undefeated as last season's champion two-year-old but could finish only sixth behind Makfi in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket while the other three have all won their Derby trials.

Speculation over Murtagh's ride has been increasing all week, and after the latest statement, Jan Vermeer has been backed down to about 3-1 favouritism (from 6s) while St Nicholas Abbey is 7-2 from 2-1.

At no stage, has the Ballydoyle-based Coolmore team, for which O'Brien trains, suggested there is a specific problem with St Nicholas Abbey.

An interesting sub-plot is that former retained O'Brien rider Kieren Fallon appears to be waiting to see if he can pick up one of the spare Ballydoyle mounts.

Trainer Mark Tompkins had been keen to book Fallon for his contender Ted Spread after jockey Darryll Holland broke his collarbone in a fall.

But Tompkins said he could not get a commitment from Fallon and has booked Michael Hills instead.

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see also
Hills lands spare Ted Spread ride
28 May 10 |  Horse Racing
Epsom Derby meeting schedule
07 May 10 |  Horse Racing
Workforce set to tackle the Derby
26 May 10 |  Horse Racing

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