Before the 2018 Epsom Derby was even run, owners and trainers across the UK and beyond were already entering horses for the 2019 renewal of the World’s Greatest Flat Race. This is such a prestigious event and because it is strictly for three year old horses, there is only ever one shot for any given horse.
Meticulous planning is required, many months and even years in advance of the race itself, and that’s why the list of 2019 Derby entries is already starting to take shape.
As far back as December 2017, a total of 338 yearling entries were declared ahead of the Epsom Derby 2019. Naturally that list will dwindle in the months ahead but the size of that initial list in itself underlines the vast importance of this race.
Heading the overall list are Sue Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith. Collectively known as Coolmore they have dominated the event in recent years and have made an initial declaration of 45 2019 Derby entries. Their premier sire and 2001 Derby winner Galileo has been particularly busy with no fewer than thirty of his sons included in that list.
The Coolmore Partners have provided five of the last seven winners and they look well-placed for success at the Epsom Derby 2019.
The Aga Khan will be keen to gain ground on the Magnier, Tabor and Smith axis with his list of 22 2019 Derby entries. The renowned owner is a five time winner with his most recent success coming via Harzand in 2016.
Other owners with a strong pedigree in this race have declared multiple 2019 Derby entries. Hamdan Al Maktoum enjoyed success with Nashwaan in 1989 and Erhaab in 1994 and he has 21 horses lined up in the initial entries. Close behind is Khalid Abdullah, a three-time Derby winning owner, with 18 entries while Sheikh Mohammed’s powerful Godolphin stable has 11 on the opening list.
Despite her close connections to UK horse racing, Her Majesty the Queen has yet to win this blue riband event so could the Epsom Derby 2019 finally see the breaking of a Royal duck? Queen Elizabeth II has made a modest initial entry of five potential runners but there are high hopes in particular for the foal of 2013 Gold Cup winner Estimate.
Other standout names from the horse racing world also feature strongly with the Niarchos Family and Phoenix Thoroughbred Limited among those with a strong early contingent lined up for the 2019 renewal.
Long way out
With more than a year left until the Epsom Derby 2019, owners have two more opportunities to declare further entries for the race - in April 2019 and May 2019 respectively - but the fact that it is far more cost effective to enter so far in advance has led to a big early list. For those not in the race and reluctant to pay the high later entry fees, winning the Epsom Derby Trial, in late April 2019, is the only other way into the race.
Form and fitness will dictate which of those horses make the final cut and take their place among the official 2019 Derby entries but when we consider the pedigree of many of those listed on the initial declaration, the 240th renewal of this historic race is bound to be another absolute thriller.