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O'Brien's strong Derby hand.

Aidan O'Brien, bidding to make history by becoming the first trainer of three consecutive winners of the Vodafone Derby, has left in seven horses at Wednesday's forfeit stage for the premier Classic at Epsom.

The master of Ballydoyle, successful with Galileo (2001) and High Chaparral (2002), has a strong hand, headed by Racing Post Trophy winner Brian Boru.

His six others among 31 acceptors are Alberto Giacometti, Balestrini, Handel, Hold That Tiger, Solskjaer and The Great Gatsby.

He has, however, taken out Catcher In The Rye, who is favourite for the Entenmann's Irish 2000 Guineas at the Curragh on Saturday,

Irish trainers appear to hold the key to the Derby as the first three in the betting hail from the Emerald Isle. They are headed by Sagitta 2000 Guineas winner Refuse To Bend, from Dermot Weld's yard.

The unbeaten Sadler's Wells colt bids to become the first since Nashwan in 1989 to win both Classics and only the third since Nijinsky in 1970.

Refuse To Bend could be joined on June 7 by his stable companion Multazem, an impressive winner of a maiden race at the Curragh on his only start last month.

The strong hand of the Irish this year is boosted further by the presence of the John Oxx-trained Alamshar.

The Key Of Luck three-year-old has followed the same path as the last three winners of the blue riband, having won the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial at Leopardstown on his latest appearance.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:May 22, 2003
Words:244
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