06/03/2010 12:00AM

Rewilding can topple O'Brien trio

Email

Rewilding can give Godolphin its first Epsom Derby title Saturday, when he takes on 11 rivals in the $2.1 million, 1 1/2-mile classic.

Three of his rivals are trained by Aidan O'Brien, including Jan Vermeer, who will go off as the favorite, but Rewilding is the value play at 8-1. Purchased by Sheikh Mohammed's bloodstock agent, John Ferguson, as a Tattersalls yearling for $911,000, Rewilding began his career in France with Andre Fabre. In his 3-year-old debut, he was second to French Derby co-favorite Planteur in the 1 5/16-mile, Group 2 Prix Noailles. Switched to Mahmoud Al Zarooni at Newmarket, he scored by four lengths in the 1 3/8-mile Cocked Hat Stakes, which, while only a listed race, convinced Godolphin to supplement him to the Derby.

Frankie Dettori will ride Rewilding, who is a half-brother to 1 1/2-mile Dubai Sheema Classic winner Dar Re Mi, 1 5/8-mile Prix Maurice de Nieuil winner Darazari, and 1 1/4-mile Queen Elizabeth II Cup winner River Dancer. Rewilding's sire, Tiger Hill, won the 1 1/2-mile Grosser Preis von Baden twice.

With the withdrawal of St Nicholas Abbey because of a muscle injury Tuesday, Johnny Murtagh chose Jan Vermeer as his Derby ride. The four-length winner of the one-mile, Group 1 Criterium International last fall, Jan Vermeer scored a 1 3/4-length win in his 2010 debut May 23 in the 1 1/4-mile, Group 3 Gallinule Stakes. Jan Vermeer, a Montjeu colt, will carry Michael Tabor's blue and orange colors as he seeks to give O'Brien his third Epsom Derby win.

O'Brien also sends At First Sight and Midas Touch, who comes off a two-length victory in the 1 1/4-mile, Group 2 Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial, a race his sire, Galileo, won in 2001 before vaulting to victory in the Derby.

Workforce was a six-length winner in his debut at seven furlongs at Goodwood in September. In his only other start, he was second in the 1 5/16-mile, Group 2 Dante Stakes three weeks ago. Workforce is a son of King's Best, the sire of Sunday's Japanese Derby winner, Eishin Flash. He will be ridden by Ryan Moore.

Bullet Train, a son of Sadler's Wells, was a 2 1/4-length winner in the Group 3 Lingfield Derby Trial for four-time Derby winner Henry Cecil. Azmeel and Ted Spread are also coming off Group 3 victories.

In 1995, Lammtarra won the Epsom Derby under the supervision of Saeed bin Suroor and his Godolphin team but sported the green-and-white colors of Saeed Al Maktoum, the son of the late Maktoum Al Maktoum. A victory by Rewilding would be an overdue Epsom Derby first for a horse carrying Godolphin blue.