Nijinsky, Shergar and Sea the Stars are among the great horses to have won the Epsom Derby, the 'blue riband' of flat racing. On Saturday racegoers will witness who joins them on the roll of honour.

The Jockey Club, which runs Epsom Racecourse, will pray the injunction which a judge granted them to "prohibit acts intended to disrupt the Derby Festival" will deter protests from the Animal Rising group.

The activists have already caused delays to the Grand National and the Scottish National this year.

On the track, Irish trainer Aidan O'Brien bids for a record-extending ninth winner with Auguste Rodin and Charlie Appleby seeks a third winner in the last six editions with Military Order.

Those two are the bookies favourites but AFP Sport picks out three horses who could provide a crowd-pleasing fairytale:

Dettori won't mind being Arrest-ed in final Derby


Superstar jockey Frankie Dettori will hope Arrested his final ride in the Epsom Derby brings him the same joy 2015 winner Golden Horn did / © AFP

Frankie Dettori's trademark flying dismounts will be a thing of the past come season's end but the exuberant Italian hopes for a third and final one in the Derby with Arrest, his 28th ride in the race.

The 52-year-old's last Derby victory came on Golden Horn in 2015 for trainer John Gosden.

Gosden saddles Arrest though he now shares the training duties with his son Thady.

"I have been fortunate enough to win The Derby twice and it is still the most famous race in the world for us," said Dettori.

"At least I am going into my last Derby with a great chance."

Dettori, who won the English 2000 Guineas on Chaldean, is sweet on Arrest's chances after winning the Derby trial, the Chester Vase.

"He is growing up and getting stronger," said Dettori.

The Foxes in Derby hunt


The late owner of Leicester City, Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, also poured money into horse racing / © AFP

The late owner of Leicester City, Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, also poured money into race horses and should The Foxes win on Saturday "it would be a fitting tribute to a great man", said trainer Andrew Balding.

Srivaddhanaprabha was killed in a helicopter crash in 2018 but his heirs maintained the interest in "The Sport of Kings" and have enjoyed success on the track, though nothing as big as the Derby.

"King Power Racing has been extremely good to me since they started," said Balding, who trained Chaldean to Guineas success.

"(Srivaddhanaprabha) had a huge vision and this would have given him immense satisfaction as the whole thing was to play at the highest level.

"To have had a horse that is a worthy contender for the Derby is what he set out to try and achieve."

Balding has twice gone close to emulating his father Ian's Derby success with the legendary Mill Reef in 1971 -- Khalifa Sat in 2020 and Hoo Ya Mal in 2022 were both runners-up.

Harrington looks to Derby as battles cancer


Sprewell's trainer Jessica Harrington has been battling breast cancer but a Derby victory would tick one of the things on her bucket list / © AFP

Jessica Harrington says training the winner of the Derby is "definitely on the bucket list" -- there would be no better time to tick that box than while she is undergoing treatment for breast cancer.

The 76-year-old Irish training great -- who has proved as adept on the flat as the jumps where she has trained the winner of the Cheltenham Gold Cup -- saddles Sprewell, only her second Derby runner.

"Things are great and I'm lucky enough to have finished the worst part of it now that the chemo is done," said Harrington, who was diagnosed in October 2022.

"We're moving on to the next stage now and it'll take a bit longer, but I hope that I'll be out and about again very shortly."

Sprewell has earned his place in the field due to winning the Derby trial at Leopardstown. Sinndar (2000), Galileo (2001) and High Chaparral (2002) used it as a springboard for their success in the Epsom showpiece.

Harrington is delighted with Sprewell.

"It would be very special to win the Epsom Derby," she said. "It's great to go there with a horse that's got a chance and it's very exciting."

Sprewell's jockey Shane Foley said it was terrific to have a live contender.

"If you don't have a ticket, you don't win the draw!”