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Ballydoyle maestro eyeing Derby glory.

Byline: CHRIS WRIGHT

IN the week when legendary trainer Vincent O'Brien sadly died his successor at Ballydoyle Aidan O'Brien is a 50-1 chance with bet365 and Victor Chandler to saddle the first five home in Saturday's Investec Derby at Epsom.

The Ballydoyle handler has almost half the field for the Epsom Classic now he has six of the 13 horses entered as he looks to win the race for a third time.

O'Brien is responsible for the 3-1 favourite with William Hill, Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial winner Fame And Glory, while 2,000 Guineas fourth Rip Van Winkle (6-1 with Ladbrokes and Coral) and Dante Stakes hero Black Bear Island (8-1 generally) are among the first five in the betting.

Masterofthehorse, Age Of Aquarius and Chester Vase winner Golden Sword complete O'Brien's sextet.

The only opposition in the betting market at present are also Irishtrained with John Oxx's 2,000 Guineas winner Sea The Stars and Newmarket third Gan Amhras from Jim Bolger's stable, who sent out last year's winner New Approach.

Sea The Stars bids to become the first horse in 20 years to complete the 2,000 Guineas/Derby double since Nashwan and is 7-2 with Coral and Sportingbet, while Gan Amhras is 8-1 with totesport and Paddy Power.

O'Brien, who continues to set the standards from the same Ballydoyle stable as Vincent O'Brien, is firmly focused on the Derby, but he paid tribute.

to his predecessor: "It is with great sadness that I learned of the passing of Dr Vincent O'Brien today..

"As for so many people in racing, he was my hero growing up. For Anne Marie (wife) and me to come to Ballydoyle, to the training facility he established, was an extraordinary privilege.

"I feel the sense of history every morning when I walk into the yard that had horses such as Nijinsky, Sir Ivor to Sadler's Wells.

"His dedication to the sport of racing and to the highest standards knew no bounds. It is humbling to follow in his footsteps." The home team for this Saturday's Derby includes Brian Meehan's Crowded House, although the trainer said: "Crowded House has been confirmed for the Derby this morning, but he will also be confirmed tomorrow for the French Derby, "He worked very well this (Monday) morning, but we want to continue to monitor him for the next couple of days, consider both races and then decide what to do."

TODAY'S NAP: High Office (4pm Ripon)..

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Age Of Aquarius (right) beats Montaff to win the totesport.com Derby Trail
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jun 2, 2009
Words:424
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