City Of Troy strengthens as Eclipse favourite after White Birch connections confirm his absence

City Of Troy has shortened to 2/5 with race sponsors Coral ahead of his outing in the Eclipse Stakes at Sandown on Saturday.

CITY OF TROY (left, dark blue cap) winning the Epsom Derby at Epsom Downs in England.
CITY OF TROY (left, dark blue cap) winning the Epsom Derby at Epsom Downs in England. Picture: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

The Aidan O'Brien-trained Epsom Derby was already 1/2 to complete the big-race Group 1 double on Saturday, but found his odds further trimmed by bookmakers when connections of main market rival White Birch revealed he would not be at Sandown on Saturday after blood results this afternoon returned 'not 100% perfect'.

Coral's David Stevens said: "It's obviously disappointing for all concerned that White Birch will not be lining up in Saturday's big race, and he would have been the chief market rival to City Of Troy, but in his absence, the Derby winner is now 2-5 favourite to complete the big-race double,"

The two home challengers Dancing Gemini and Ghostwriter are now 7/1 second favourites with Roger Teal, trainer of the former, hoping his contender can bridge some of the eight-and-a-quarter length gap he has to make up with City Of Troy on their Epsom meeting.

Speaking on a call organised by the Jockey Club, Teal said: "It's quite sad news for connections (of White Birch), maybe not so sad for us, but he will be a big loss to the race, that's for sure,"

"City Of Troy is a very good horse and Aidan has been very confident and bullish about him. Even after the Guineas run, he knew that was an off day.

"We've got to respect him, but we've got to roll our sleeves up and do what we do – and if we can get anywhere near him, then we would have run a blinder.

"We had a wide trip in the Derby and were further back than we wanted to be. Ryan (Moore) went down the inner and Dylan (Browne McMonagle) went on the outer, so City Of Troy gained many lengths on us there. If we are a lot closer to him, I can see him shortening the distance for sure.

"The horse is fit and well and we've just got to let the horse do what he can do.

"I think the whole team does a great job and we seem to find a good one each year or every other year. For a yard of our size, it is brilliant, and we've been to some big occasions – and I don't think we've ever disgraced ourselves."

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