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Derby favourite Sir Dragonet may head to Chantilly instead says Aidan O'Brien

The Qipco Prix du Jockey Club at Chantilly on June 2 has emerged as a possible alternative target for Sir Dragonet, the favourite for the Investec Derby the previous day, Aidan O'Brien revealed on Sunday.

Sir Dragonet needs to be supplemented for the Epsom Classic and O'Brien said he would wait until as close as possible to the noon deadline on Monday, Monday 27 before a decision was made.

The son of Camelot produced the most taking performance of any of the Derby trials when winning the Chester Vase by eight lengths this month. That followed victory on his debut at Tipperary late last month, also on ground with plenty of ease.

Speaking at Naas, O'Brien said: "Sir Dragonet is not entered for either race and will have to be supplemented whichever race we decide to go for. He's training away and a decision as to which Derby he'll be supplemented to will be left as late as possible. The horse is well and we'll keep talking things over before making a call."

Both Sir Dragonet's wins have come over the Derby trip of a mile and a half. The Prix du Jockey Club, or French Derby, is run over 1m2½f.

The deadline for supplementary entries to the Prix du Jockey Club is Wednesday, May 27. 

O'Brien won Derby trials with Circus Maximus, Anthony Van Dyck and Broome and the latter pair were both supported for Epsom on Sunday. Broome was trimmed into a general 4-1 (from 5) while Anthony Van Dyck contracted into 5-1 (from 6), as Sir Dragonet drifted from a top-priced 11-4 to 100-30.

The uncertainty over Sir Dragonet's plans clouds an already murky Derby picture with the Dante winner Telecaster also requiring a supplementary entry, which connections have said they are not certain to make.

There are no doubts about the intent to run Bangkok, who beat Telecaster on his first start of the season before an impressive win in Sandown's Group 3 Classic Trial.

Alastair Donald, racing manager to owners King Power Racing, said on Sunday about the top-priced 12-1 chance: "He worked yesterday and we're very happy with him so it's just a case of touching wood and hoping to avoid any hiccups. Everything is on track so we've just got to keep it that way for another 13 days or so.

"The form's working out well and the horse is doing great so we can't wait to see how he gets on."

A potential visit to Epsom for Breakfast with the Stars on Tuesday has been shelved, so his next outing will be the big one.

Donald said: "Andrew [Balding, trainer] decided he doesn't need to go [to Breakfast with the Stars] – he's a well-balanced and good moving horse, he travels very well so we're confident the track will not be a problem for him.

"The unknown might be if it rained a lot, we probably wouldn't want very soft ground. We think he'll stay – he should – and he's got the advantage of being a stayer with a proper turn of foot. If he can get a good position, crossed fingers, he'll give us a good shout."

Available at 16-1 on Sunday, the Roger Varian-trained Surfman is the next shortest in the market of those trained in Britain.

Peter Winkworth, owner-breeder of the Dante third, said: "It's very exciting. He's only had four runs and already has a Racing Post Rating of 108. He's a Group 2 performer who has achieved a lot in a short space of time and we think he'll get better as the season progresses.

"He didn't sell so we bought him back and we're thrilled to have him. To have a runner in the Derby would be absolutely fantastic for a small outfit like us – it's the race of all races. I've waited 28 years for this horse.

"Very good horses come along very infrequently so you have to enjoy them when they come and if we go to the Derby, wouldn't it be nice to actually try to beat the Irish in the Derby.

"He's a big unfurnished horse who will improve as the season goes on, so why be in a rush if you don't have to be – but it's lovely if you can."

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