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Epsom Derby Update: Dettori And Aga Khan Team Up For Derby Bid

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The combination of owner HH Aga Khan 1V, trainer Dermot Weld and jockey Pat Smullen landed the 2016 Investec Derby with Harzand and would have attempted to win the world’s most famous Flat race for the second time in two years, on this occasion with Hazapour, but for the fact that the veteran rider was recently diagnosed with a tumour.

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Speaking at the Curragh on Tattersalls Irish 1000 Guineas Sunday Smullen issued a positive update on his condition, saying: “ I’m feeling well, everything is going as well as hoped. So far so good is all I can say. The shock was the first thing, ( for ) myself and my family. Once I got over that, I said that this was the situation and now I’m focused totally on fighting it. I’ve got a great medical team and I’m getting great support from everybody. What else can you do other than fight it? I’d like to thank everybody for the support I’ve had – it’s been worldwide.”

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The Aga Khan, who will be trying to win the ‘ blue riband ‘ of the turf for a sixth time, the first being with the ill-fated Shergar in 1981, has called on the services of Frankie Dettori to partner Hazapour, winner of the influential Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial Stakes at Leopardstown earlier this month. Successful on Authorized in 2007 and Golden Horn two years ago Dettori will be riding for the powerful owner for the first time in Britain for over 15 years, an association which began when the 47-year-old was just 17 and an apprentice with Luca Cumani.

A top price 14-1 with Coral, Paddy Power and Betfair Sportsbook, the son of Shamardal is sure to prove popular with the once a year punter on Saturday and will be the Italian’s 23rd ride in the great race, of which trainer Dermot Weld said: “ Frankie has ridden for me a few times in the past. With our retained jockey Pat Smullen sadly out of action, we don’t have a retained jockey and we decided Frankie was the obvious man to go for because of all his Epsom experience.”

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