Derby no clearer

May 14th, 2015 | Uncategorized

The Derby picture didn’t really get any clearer today when Golden Horn, who does not currently hold an entry for Epsom, beat stable-companion Jack Hobbs and Elm Park emphatically in the Dante Stakes.

The winner’s owner Anthony Oppenheimer has always insisted that the colt’s optimum trip would be a mile and a quarter, but William Buick said today that the winner was “strong” passing the line. It will cost £75,000 to supplement the colt for the Derby, and John Gosden says the decision will be down to the owner. Gosden said of the runner-up that he would be considering the King Edward VII Stakes, but given that his wife is a part-owner of the colt I think it would be very hard for them not to go to Epsom. Jack Hobbs was staying on well at the finish and as a son of Halling out of a daughter of Swain, and given his physical scope, he is entitled to improve for the step up in trip. Mind you it’s possible that someone may step in to buy him. There were apparently calls to the trainer after his imperious display at Sandown, and there is a case for suggesting he would be the most attractive long-term prospect from the Dante field.

Elm Park ran a respectable race in third and his trainer Andrew Balding expects him to improve for the run. I am probably alone in harbouring a slight doubt about him staying a mile and a half.

Aidan O’Brien admitted in the aftermath of the poor runs of John F Kennedy and Ol’ Man River that a few of his horses have been under the weather – something I suggested here a while back. I expect him to follow his usual practice and go in mob-handed on the day, with the likes of Hans Holbein, Kilimanjaro and possibly Giovanni Canaletto, who is rumoured to be the pick of his middle-distance prospects.

The most interesting horse in the field is Zawraq. Dermot Weld has still not said whether the colt will run in the Irish 2,000 Guineas or the Derby – or possibly in both. It must now be tempting to go to Epsom, although the trainer has expressed uncertainty over the colt’s stamina.

We are faced with an absorbing situation and the next few days will be very interesting.

Bye for now

Marten Signature