By Simon Jackson.
Sir Michael Stoute is set to run Ulysses and Across The Stars in the Investec Derby at Epsom on June 4 as he bids to win the World’s most important horse race for the sixth time.
The Newmarket handler has an exemplary record in the Derby, winning with Shergar (1981), Shahrastani (1986), Kris Kin (2003), North Light (2004) and Workforce (2010) and has booked Andrea Atzeni to ride Ulysses and his former stable jockey, Kieren Fallon for Across The Stars.
Stoute has not had a runner in the Derby since 2011 when Carlton House was third to Pour Moi. He confirmed that he is likely to field two runners this year after Ulysses and Across The Stars worked at the ‘Breakfast with the Stars’ at Epsom Downs last week.
Ulysses had earlier impressed with an eight-length victory at his third start in a 10-furlong maiden at Newbury on May 13. Meanwhile Across The Stars followed up on his win in a 12-furlong maiden race on the all-weather at Lingfield, with a good third in the Listed Derby Trial Stakes at the same track in early May.
“Ulysses is a really well-balanced athlete with an Epsom pedigree,” Stoute said. “We have always loved him and he ran with a lot of promise in his Newbury maiden as a two-year-old.
“He had a hiccup in January and we did not have him fully fit when he went to Leicester but needed to get moving.
“But he has really pleased since then and could not have won his maiden any better than he did at Newbury. I am happy with his preparation at the moment.
“I think he should handle Epsom well.
“Across The Stars ran well at Lingfield [Derby Trial] where things did not go quite right for him. He is a lovely big improving horse and the owner is keen to run so he will be in the line-up. We hope for the best.
“Of the two, Ulysses is more mature and ready for it at this stage – I would certainly be very hopeful of his chance.”
Atzeni added: “Ulysses looked very impressive when he won his maiden at Newbury and for Sir Michael to run a [last start winner of a] maiden in the Derby he must think quite a lot of him.
“He is bred to win a Derby and I am very lucky to get a ride.”
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