Friday, June 05, 2015

Derby day deliberations 2015

My record in the Derby speaks for itself - one win in forty odd attempts; this year's renewal looks decidedly mediocre.

Coolmore has dominated this showpiece in recent times (Camelot 2012, Ruler Of The World 2013 and Australia last year) but the market and the media suspect change is afoot; 2000 Guineas winner Gleneagles misses the race while filly Found now has the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot as her target. Ryan Moore rides Giovanni Canalleto, rated a 16/1 chance at the beginning of the week.

John Gosden saddles the top two in the betting. Favourite Golden Horn beat stablemate Jack Hobbs (Elm Park third) in the Dante; Frankie Dettori rides and the media have practically written the story already.

There is a query in some quarters about whether Golden Horn will stay - the colt certainly wasn't stopping at York. He will appreciate a quick surface while Jack Hobbs would prefer some cut. Dante also-rans coming to Epsom have a poor record.

The unfortunate withdrawal of Zawraq has taken some of the interest out of the race.

A piece in The Times on Monday highlighted the chance of William Haggas' Storm The Stars (by 2009 winner Sea The Stars) and Malcolm Heyhoe makes the same each-way selection in The Weekender. Initially priced at 25/1, the colt is 20/1 at the time of writing - The Times article indicated Haggas' stable had been slow at the start of the season and was now playing 'catch-up'.

For me, two intriguing runners have shown all their form on soft - Success Days made all to win the Derrinstown Trial at Leopardstown while I don't think Criquette Head-Maarek has sent Epicuris over as an after-thought.

That said, the fact remains the winner has come from the top three in the market on every occasion in the past decade, with four favourites obliging. I'm not going to get involved.

Changing tack slightly, I note that recently-retired champion A P McCoy 'has been enticed out of retirement for one day only' to ride in the Ledger Legends Classified Stakes at Doncaster in September.

For one day only? Or could this be the start of a trend?