Jenkins defends Diore decision
Trainer John Jenkins has defended his owner's decision to run apparent no-hoper Diore Lia in the Investec Derby at Epsom on Saturday, where she will be ridden by apprentice Gina Mangan.
The daughter of Yeats has made just two competitive appearances to date, beating only one rival on her Epsom debut late last month before finishing down the field at Lingfield.
She is as big as 1,000-1 for the premier Classic, but while her intended participation has drawn criticism from some quarters, owner-breeder Richard Aylward is keen to let his filly take her chance to generate publicity and funds for Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital.
Diore Lia – one of 20 horses in Derby contention following Monday's confirmation stage – made her first two starts for trainer Jane Chapple-Hyam, but has rejoined Jenkins to run in the world's most famous Flat race.
"The filly was with me originally and then she went to Jane's because she thought she might be able to get Michelle Payne over from Australia to ride her," Jenkins explained.
"When that didn't happen, the owner decided to send her back to me and all being well she'll run on Saturday.
"At the end of the day it's the owner's decision. He pays the bills, he's paid all the entry fees and he's entitled to run her if he wants.
"If I didn't run her, someone else would. The owner is keen to run her and has set up a charity. He's there for the big day.
"I had a runner in the Derby a long time ago. That was an outsider as well and it didn't finish last.
"Has there ever been a 1,000-1 winner of the Derby?"
With Melbourne Cup-winning rider Payne unavailable, 7lb claimer Mangan has been booked for the ride and will donate her riding fee to the charity.
Mangan, who is based with Jenkins, has ridden only one winner – at Roscommon in 2009 – and has never ridden around Epsom, but Jenkins feels she is more than capable of doing the job.
"Gina is a good, competent rider. There are no worries on that score," the Royston-based trainer continued.
"We'll see how things pan out on the day, but we won't be getting in anybody else's way, I can assure you."
Aylward has promised to donate any prize-money Diore Lia picks up to Great Ormond Street and has also set up a Just Giving page.
The John Gosden-trained Cracksman, who carries the same colours as 2015 Derby hero Golden Horn, is unbeaten in two starts including a victory at the track in last month's Derby Trial.
That form has been well advertised since, with the runner-up, Permian, going on to land a Listed prize at Newmarket and the Dante Stakes at York. As expected, Permian has been supplemented for the Derby by Mark Johnston at a cost of #85,000.
Dee Stakes winner Cliffs Of Moher is one seven possible runners for Aidan O'Brien as he bids to win the race for a sixth time.
The other potential Ballydoyle representatives are Capri, Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial winner Douglas Macarthur, Finn McCool and Chester Vase one-two-three Venice Beach, Wings Of Eagles and The Anvil.
Gosden also has a numerically strong hand, with Cracksman joined by stablemates Crowned Eagle, Glencadam Glory, the supplemented Khalidi and Pealer.
Other contenders include Martyn Meade's 2000 Guineas third Eminent, the Joseph O'Brien-trained Rekindling and Saeed bin Suroor's trio of Benbatl, Best Solution and Dubai Thunder.
Sylvester Kirk's Salouen makes up the field.