Representing Godolphin and trainer Charlie Appleby, Military Order booked his place in the Classic line up with a comfortable trial success at Lingfield and he is the only contender for his handler, who has won the race twice with Masar (2018) and Adayar (2021).
“From the team’s point of view, we’re very happy with him. He came out of his Lingfield Derby Trial win very well and we’ve been very pleased with him since,” Appleby told www.godolphin.com.
“He’s improving week on week physically, and we can’t fault him to date on what he has been doing in his work and on the racecourse. He goes out and gets the job done in the mornings without being flash.
“He’s a mile-and-a-half horse, so you don’t expect flashy work. That hasn’t changed from his two-year-old days and I wouldn’t expect it to change.
“Military Order, like his brother Adayar, goes out and gets the job done.”
Sir Michael Stoute saddled Desert Crown to victory last year and he looks to Passenger to give him seventh overall win the in the race.
Owners the Niarchos Family opted to stump up the £85,000 fee to add him to the 12-furlong Classic after enduring a luckless run when third in the Dante last time out.
Aidan O’Brien is the race’s leading trainer with eight wins on his CV and Auguste Rodin captains a possible four-strong team as he seeks to put a disappointing 2000 Guineas run well behind him stepping up in trip.
Adelaide River, Covent Garden and Chester winner San Antonio complete the potential Ballydoyle squad.
Frankie Dettori is set to have his last ride in the Derby aboard the John and Thady Gosden-trained Arrest, an impressive winner of the Chester Vase on his seasonal bow while Dante winner The Foxes is in contention for Andrew Balding.
York second White Birch reopposes for John Murphy, Jessica Harrington’s Leopardstown Derby Trial winner Sprewell and the Donnacha O’Brien-trained Alder round out the Irish hopefuls.
Charlie Johnston’s 2000 Guineas fifth Dubai Mile is set to be joined by stablemate Dear My Friend, who was eighth in the Dante, with Ralph Beckett’s unbeaten Artistic Star, the Roger Varian-trained King Of Steel and Waipiro for Ed Walker the other candidates.
Ed Walker does not think his Betfred Derby contender Waipiro faces an “impossible” task in attempting to turn the tables on favourite Military Order from their run at Lingfield.
The pair were first and second, separated by a length and a quarter, in the Derby trial at the Surrey track, which was this year was moved from the saturated turf to the all-weather course.
The Godolphin runner was immediately promoted to the head of the betting while Waipiro is around a 16-1 chance, and Walker feels that offers each-way value given it was just the third run of his life.
“He didn’t show a lot on his debut at Kempton Park but we left him in the Derby for a reason. It wasn’t a total surprise that he won at Newmarket but it was obviously very pleasing,” said Walker.
“It looked a very hot race but we chose a race like that to answer questions as we believed he was a nice horse and we wanted to see where he sat with other nice horses. The result was very rewarding and he stepped up again at Lingfield.
“You have to be very pleased with his run at Lingfield. He was very relaxed and very professional. He performed to a high level and it was a satisfying run.
“I think he stamped himself as a high-class colt there as he gave the Derby favourite a good run for his money and you have to be pleased with that.”
Waipiro was forced wide off the bend at Lingfield and Walker feels he could have finished closer on another day.
“The race didn’t go as smoothly in the last couple of furlongs as it did for the winner, who looks a very good horse, and he is bred for the job and he is a very worthy favourite for the Derby,” said Walker.
“Military Order was dominant in the last 100 yards and we are going to have to make another significant step forward to beat him, but I don’t think it is impossible for him to turn it around.
“I think the void is the massive difference in price. I’d imagine, in an open Derby, he might attract attention from punters having an each-way bet. I certainly wouldn’t put anyone off having an each-way bet on him.
“I think he will handle the track and the occasion. He can get a bit warm at home and I wouldn’t be worried seeing him get a bit warm in the preliminaries.
“He is most likely going to wear a red hood to post to help keep a lid on him a bit, because he was a bit noisy at the start at Lingfield. He is generally a very relaxed horse and a professional horse.”READ: 2023 Betfred Derby - a guide to every contender and a tip
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