Sir Michael Stoute’s Quick Defence (6/4 max bet) and May Queen (11/8 4 point bet) gave us a great start to the month on Monday after one of my most frustrating months on record it’s nice to be in the top five in the table, but as I keep telling you this is the hardest game in the world and your only as good as your last winner.
The 2015 Breakfast With The Stars at Epsom Downs Racecourse last week had everything – with three of the first four in the betting for Britain’s premier Classic, the Investec Derby, exercising on the course, France’s top trainer Andre Fabre flying in by helicopter, Frankie Dettori and lots of news, comment and opinion.
Connections, the media, Investec and some of the course’s annual members gathered to see six Classic contenders work on the unique undulating Epsom Downs course.
Golden Horn (John Gosden/Frankie Dettori) Jack Hobbs (John Gosden/William Buick) and Elm Park (Andrew Balding/Andrea Atzeni) are 7/4 favourite, 6/1 and 8/1 respectively after going through their paces ahead of the Group One Investec Derby, Britain’s richest race, on Saturday.
Star Of Seville (John Gosden/William Buick), Jazzi Top (John Gosden/Frankie Dettori) and Al Naamah (Andre Fabre/Gregory Benoist) were also exercised and are 7/1, 9/1 and 20/1 respectively for the Investec Oaks at Epsom Downs on Friday, June 5 with Coral, official betting partner.
John Gosden, the Newmarket trainer, said: “My jockeys still don’t do what I tell them to do. Frankie was perfect on Golden Horn, doing the right thing. I said pull up a good half furlong before the winning post and don’t go over the top but William had to have a feel (on Jack Hobbs) and went flying past the winning post and ended up right down by the stables.”
Golden Horn worked steadily and then a bit faster with Dickdoughtywylie (Rab Havlin – a 102 rated 10-furlong horse) over short of a mile and cruised up two and a half furlongs out before going to the front and passed the winning post two lengths ahead after being eased down.
Jack Hobbs, who also went over just less than a mile, came well clear of his work companion, Marzocco (Nick Mackay – a 108-rated stayer) in the closing stages.
Frankie Dettori declared: “The Dante is a telling factor at this stage and Golden Horn is thriving but don’t dismiss Jack Hobbs, who is a very good horse too. A mile and a half is definitely within Jack Hobbs’ compass and he is rawer than Golden Horn and has more improvement in him.”
“Golden Horn is a very laid-back character and the important thing was to get him to whiz around the bend. He gave me a good feel. But he is the sort of horse who needs the crowd to rev him up and he is a better horse on a raceday.”
Gosden said: “As Golden Horn walked down, and it was very kind of my wife to lend me a lead horse, Dickdoughtywhylie, he was wandering along asleep but his temperament is big plus – like his father Cape Cross. If you don’t relax early on, you don’t stay.”
“Jack Hobbs is an equally laidback horse but I noticed he was far more alert this morning, taking a look. He was very on the ball today and is a mighty improving horse.”
“It is great for all of us to have these two horses for the Investec Derby and tremendously exciting. If the ground is like this on Derby Day, then Jack Hobbs will be running.”
William Buick commented: “I got ran away with! Jack Hobbs felt very comfortable on the track and we did not press any buttons today but he swapped his leads down the hill. He is still learning about the game but every step he takes he is going forward.”
“He gave me a nice feel, handled the track and the ground which was perfect. All in all, I am very happy.”
“I rode Star Of Seville also this morning. She led well around there and has good form. She too enjoyed the ground and handled the track well so she has a good chance in the Oaks.”
Dettori continued: “I don’t know which of the two fillies I will be riding in the Oaks, both won their trials and both are entitled to run well. We have 10 days to decide which one I will ride. Both are in great nick.”
Gosden said: “I would have Frankie jock off Ryan and ride Crystal Zvezda! In all seriousness, I thought she was hugely impressive in the Newbury trial and she is the one to beat. I am teasing now but we will work out our Oaks fillies.”
“Jack Hobbs did not run until December 27 and Golden Horn won in October. I am pretty clear what Ballydoyle will do, even if they are staying tight-lipped themselves. I think they will leave their brilliant miler, Gleneagles, at a mile. It is a bit like asking me if I would have run Kingman in the Derby – no, I wouldn’t.”
“What a nice stallion Gleneagles will make if he is a top miler and that is their business. I think they will be tempted to supplement Found into the Investec Derby.”
Dettori recalled his first Derby victory on Authorized (2007). He said: “He was a good horse and it was a push-button ride, winning by five lengths. It was an important win for me, I had never won the Derby, it was my last Classic to achieve and my father was there – the day was very emotional.”
“I know what to expect now. I was extremely nervous in 2007 – with a few more years under my belt, I am a bit more relaxed. Tony McCoy must have felt it in the Grand National – you never think you are going to win the race and then, when you do, there is great relief. I will get excited on the day but that is quite normal.”
Gosden remarked: “It is about having the right horses. The worse thing for jockeys is being put on Formula 2 horses in Formula 1 races.”
“It is lovely to come here with four possible runners – two for the Derby and two for the Oaks – and let them have a nice feel of the track.”
“I didn’t have to do much arm twisting after the Dante as Golden Horn’s owner (Anthony Oppenheimer) likened the situation to a casino – he had won the money (in the Dante) and it was there on the table to supplement for the Derby.”
“I wanted William to tell me today whether Jack Hobbs handled the hill and Tattenham Corner. He was very happy and with the ground too and, with similar ground, Jack Hobbs will run in the Investec Derby. Golden Horn for me is the class horse in the race and I will be very surprised come Saturday if he does not enter the Epsom winners circle for big John Gosden.”
Dolniya has strong claims in the Coronation Cup and Steps is worth a E/W bet in the 5f Dash on Derby Day at Epsom Downs.
Yours in sport
Back Next Thursday.
Kevan Minter – The Colonel.