Lingfield’s Derby Trial hasn’t been the most prolific of the trial contests when it comes to throwing up the winner of the Epsom showpiece, with High-Rise in 1998 being the last horse to do the double.
It’s certainly overdue another Derby winner and Harry Dunlop will be hoping his colt Knight To Behold is the horse to get the job done in 2018. Impressive last season, particularly when repeatedly finding more to fend off the talented Bow Street on his final start, he came home more that three lengths to the good at Lingfield on Saturday, with the Aidan O’Brien runner, Kew Gardens, chasing him home.
Whilst it is true he was afforded a soft lead throughout – a lead which Richard Kingscote took full advantage of – he nevertheless powered right up the run-in and wasn’t showing any signs of stopping. By Derby winner Sea The Stars, he’s an appealing sort on paper, and given its similar layout to Epsom, this Lingfield win should set him up nicely for the big one.
Weld Runner Also Haz A Chance
Dermot Weld had to wait a long time for his first Derby success, with the veteran handler grabbing Epsom glory for the first time with Harzand in 2016. Going in the same colours of the Aga Khan, Weld will be hoping he can quickly record a second win in the race this year with Hazapour.
Sundays Derrinstown Sud Derby Trial Stakes at Leopardstown looked like having the main purpose of giving us some idea as to the Ballydoyle pecking order when it comes to their Derby contenders, with three of the eight runners hailing from the Aidan O’Brien yard.
In the end though it was the Weld runner who upstaged them all. Travelling smoothly into contention, he slowly but surely forged clear in the straight to lead home the O’Brien duo of Delano Roosevelt and The Pentagon.
Ladbrokes make Hazapour a 14/1 shot to become the first winner of this race to follow up at Epsom since the great, High Chaparral in 2002.
Hayley Takes Her Turn In The Spotlight Again
Saturday’s big handicap contest came down at Ascot with the 2018 renewal of the Victoria Cup, and was won by a lady who this time last year was on TV presenting duties for the contest.
Hayley Turner is no doubt pretty pleased about her decision to come out of retirement now. Having been riding with some success over in France, she returned to her homeland to record a big Saturday success aboard the David Elsworth trained bottom weight in the race, Ripp Orf. A perfectly timed ride from Turner to get this one up in the shadow of the post, once again showing that she’s the lady for the big occasion.
A second Victoria Cup success for the excellent Elsworth, following that of Speculative Bid in 2015.
Dante Attracts Derby Hopefuls
Looking ahead to the coming week, the pick of the racing action comes on the Knavesmire as York plays host to its always absorbing three-day Dante Meeting which kicks off on Wednesday.
The Dante Stakes itself takes place on Thursday and having been won by the likes of Derby winners, Golden Horn, Authorized, Motivator and North Light since the turn of the century, this race is always worth a look with the Epsom Derby in mind.
John Gosden’s, Roaring Lion, heads the betting for this year’s renewal following his solid effort in the 2000 Guinea’s. Betfair make the son of Kitten’s Joy a 15/8 shot.