PATRICK CALLAGHAN REPORTS FROM YESTERDAY’S BREAKFAST WITH THE STARS EVENT AT EPSOM
THE successful rekindling of the partnership between John Gosden and Frankie Dettori has been one of the stories of the season.
And the first-named holds all the aces ahead of the Investec Derby at Epsom on Saturday 6 June as he looks to add a second Derby to his CV after Benny The Dip in 1997.
Dettori is set to partner unbeaten favourite Golden Horn for Gosden in the world's most famous Classic as he too aims for a second Derby success, eight years after Authorized stormed to glory.
The Dante winner worked with his stablemate and third favourite for the contest, Jack Hobbs – who Gosden confirmed would almost certainly line up – at yesterday's Epsom media event, Breakfast with the Stars.
Golden Horn saw off Dickdoughtywylie in workmanlike fashion, certainly compared to Jack Hobbs, who slammed the useful Marzocco. Although only a work canter the son of Halling, second in the Dante, was mightily impressive.
William Buick, Jack Hobbs’ new pilot as Godolphin have taken a majority share in him, joked that the horse had “run away with him” up the home straight.
“Golden Horn was thriving, but don’t dismiss Jack Hobbs,” said Dettori. “He’s a very good horse, more raw than Golden Horn, and there’s more improvement to come.”
Gosden's Derby hopes look clear, but the big surprise is that Aidan O'Brien, the handler who made history with a hat-trick in the race last year, has not produced a realistic contender.
The likes of the highly-regarded John F Kennedy, Ol' Man River and, most recently, Giovanni Canaletto were all beaten in their trials.
That leaves the rather unfashionable duo of Hans Holbein (11/1 with Betway) and Kilimanjaro (20/1 with Coral) leading the Ballydoyle challenge.
But Coolmore’s Kevin Buckley was very taken by Hans Holbein’s Chester win and expects him to give a good account. Buckley joked that Ryan Moore had “that wry smile” on his face when he was asked what he thought of the horse’s potential.
Kilimanjaro was another certain runner, but the race was likely to come too soon for Giovanni Canaletto.
In all probability dual-Guineas winner Gleneagles will run in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot next rather than the Derby.
However, connections are seriously considering supplementing Irish 1,000 Guineas second Found for the race, particularly as the owners currently have four of the top five in the betting for the Investec Oaks.
Elm Park could be the sole Group One winner lining up and his trainer Andrew Balding was pleased with the horse’s workout on his first trip to this unique course.
Balding said the Phoenix Reach colt is a very different horse to Bonfire, who finished sixth in the 2012 Derby, and punters shouldn’t be worried that he changed his legs several times coming down the camber as he “always does that when he’s warming up”.
Interestingly, Qatar Racing’s retained jockey Andrea Atzeni revealed he wouldn’t commit to the ride on Elm Park if either Sumbal or Karpino were late entries to the race.
Both are unbeaten in three starts in France and Germany respectively. A decision will be made on Sumbal by tomorrow afternoon, said racing manager David Redvers. Karpino is an unlikely runner as there's too little time after his brilliant German 2,000 Guineas victory on Monday.
Trainer Dermot Weld also gave an update on the exciting Zawraq, who he described as a “beautiful mover with a super temperament”. “Hopefully he’ll stay,” he said. The colt is as short as 4/1 after his form was given a boost when Endless Drama was a close second in the Irish 2,000 Guineas.