05/30/2007 11:00PM

O'Brien has eight in Epsom Derby


Trainer Aidan O'Brien will send out an eight-strong battalion of Irish invaders in an attempt to bring down the 4-5 favorite Authorized in Saturday's $2.47 million Epsom Derby.

The unprecedented assault on the 1 1/2-mile classic may appear to be an effort to accomplish through quantity what cannot be achieved through quality, but at least five of O'Brien runners have a good chance of winning. Whether they can overcome the talented Authorized on a turf course that is likely to be no better than good to soft, and therefore very much to the favorite's liking, remains to be seen.

By an Arc de Triomphe winner, Montjeu, out of a mare by Arc winner Saumarez, Authorized should have no problem staying 1 1/2 miles. He won his maiden in the one-mile Group 1 Racing Post Trophy on soft ground in October, then cruised to a four-length victory in the 1 1/4-mile, 88-yard Group 2 Dante Stakes in his Derby prep on good to soft ground at York. Soft going would suit Authorized, a Peter Chapple-Hyam trainee, perfectly. What's more, he will retain the riding services of Frankie Dettori who, surprisingly, is still looking for his first Epsom Derby victory.

From Team O'Brien, Archipenko has the best chance of an upset. A Kingmambo colt, he defeated stablemate and fellow Derby participant Yellowstone in the 1 1/4-mile Group 2 Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial, the race used by O'Brien to prepare Galileo and High Chaparral for their Derby victories. Big-race specialist Michael Kinane has the call on Archipenko, the 9-1 third choice at Ladbrokes.

The O'Brien-trained Admiralofthefleet won the 1 1/4-mile Group 3 Dee Stakes three weeks ago, but stablemate Anton Chekhov, winner of the 1 1/4-mile Group 2 Prix Hocquart on soft ground, stands a better chance. O'Brien also saddles the only two entrants who have won going 1 1/2 miles, both of them sons of the 2001 Derby winner, Galileo. They are an improving allowance winner, Mahler, and Soldier of Fortune, who took the Group 3 Chester Vase by a short head from Arabian Gulf, who will attempt to give Michael Stoute his third Derby winner.

Aqaleem is many people's idea of the winner. Ladbrokes' 8-1 second choice, he finished ahead of Authorized when he ran second in an allowance race last fall. Trained by Marcus Tregoning, this son of 2000 Derby winner Sinndar prepped with a victory in the 1 7/16-mile Group 3 Lingfield Derby Trial and has been working well of late. Richard Hills has the ride.

The Sandown Classic Trial winner, Regime, will have his supporters, while American interest comes in the shape of Lucarno, a John Gosden-trained son of Dynaformer who is coming off a 3 1/2-length score in the listed 1 1/4-mile Fairway Stakes at Newmarket. If the ground remains soft, however, Authorized should satisfy the appetites of the chalk-eaters.