Racing: Armiger leaves clear run for Tenby: Commander In Chief will be the Derby favourite's supporting act as Henry Cecil ends the uncertainty for punters

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The Independent Online
FIVE DAYS after proving he had recovered from indigestion, Tenby also had his main headache eased yesterday when his stable-mate Armiger was removed from Derby calculations.

Henry Cecil, who trains the pair, has long believed that Armiger would not be suited by Epsom's gradients, and yesterday came accord from the colts' owner, Khalid Abdullah. Tenby will still have back-up in Abdullah's pink and green silks, however, in the shape of Commander In Chief, who was subsequently reduced to 8-1 (from 9-1) by Ladbrokes.

'I'm sure the Prince has made the right decision,' Cecil said at Sandown. 'I never thought the Derby would be the ideal race for Armiger, but Commander In Chief is well balanced and should be suited by the course.'

Armiger, who was as low as 3-1 (with a run) with the bookmakers, may now go for the Prix du Jockey Club (French Derby) at Chantilly on Sunday, though prevailing dry weather in France means he may have to wait to re-establish himself in the Warren Place pecking order.

Tenby, who provided a satisfactory piece of work on the Newmarket gallops last Wednesday to confirm his recovery from colic, will be back on the workgrounds this morning, along with Commander In Chief.

'They will be given a little pipe- opener tomorrow morning, but they are fit and very well,' Cecil said. 'The horses are happy and relaxed and ready to do their best on Wednesday. The people seem to think that Tenby's my No. 1 and I'm not going to contradict them.'

Coral may have come up with the Derby's No. 1 silly bet at an early stage. They offer odds of 20-1 that Tenby, who has won his two trial races by an aggregate of 3 1/2 lengths, will equal or beat Shergar's winning distance of 10 lengths in the race proper.

Armiger's defection means a maximum of 16 runners will go to post tomorrow, when the ground is expected to be perfect. The going was officially good yesterday and with showers and strong winds cancelling each other out, there should be little change.

A smaller field is in prospect for Saturday's Oaks, though with 14 declared for the fillies' Classic yesterday, this may still be the largest gathering for six years. The favourite is Barry Hills's Yawl, who was further cut by William Hill yesterday to 7-2 (from 4-1).

Three of the declarations are the property of Sheikh Mohammed, and while his French-trained runner, Intrepidity, is expected to be partnered by Thierry Jarnet, there is no indication yet on whether Michael Roberts, the owner's retained jockey, will ride Marillette or Iviza.

Lester Piggott has been linked with Marillette, but the Sheikh's racing manager, Anthony Stroud, said yesterday: 'No decision has been made on who rides. You would not expect Graham Taylor to announce his England team so far ahead.' This brand of bulletin may explain why Sheikh Mohammed's team is enjoying fortunes similar to the England football XI at the moment.

THE DERBY (Epsom, tomorrow): Coral: 4-6 Tenby, 6-1 Fatherland, 8-1 Barathea & Commander In Chief, 14-1 Bob's Return, 16-1 Planetary Aspect, 20-1 Geisway, 25-1 Desert Team, 33-1 Wolf Prince; Ladbrokes: 4-6 Tenby, 6-1 Fatherland, 8-1 Commander In Chief, 10-1 Barathea, 16-1 Bob's Return, 20-1 Planetary Aspect, 25-1 Desert Team & Geisway, 33-1 Wolf Prince; William Hill: 8-13 Tenby, 7-1 Commander In Chief & Fatherland, 12-1 Barathea, 14-1 Geisway, 16-1 Bob's Return & Planetary Aspect, 25-1 Wolf Prince.

THE OAKS (Epsom, Saturday): Acceptors: Abury, Alouette, Bashayer, Bobbie Dee, Gisarne, Grove Daffodil, Intrepidity, Iviza, Marillette, Oakmead, Royal Ballerina, Sueboog, Wemyss Bight, Yawl.