Rascal Gives Haggas Derby Hope
Last week saw the first of the flat racing Spring Festival’s with three days at Chester and this week sees the three-day Dante Festival at York.
The big Derby trials took centre stage. At Chester The William Haggas trained Young Rascal broke the stranglehold that Aiden O’Brien has had on the Chester Vase. The colt only won by ½ length but his margin of victory would have been greater as he didn’t really get the best of runs on a couple of occasions inside the final two furlongs.
It was a good display by the son of Intello who made it 2 wins from 2 runs so far this season. He’s very much on the upgrade and has to be considered an each-way contender for the Derby.
How good the form is, well we shall find out on the first Saturday in June? I have my doubts but there is no doubt he looks a nice 3-year-old and he can win more nice races this year. His sire won the French Derby and his dam won over 1m 2f.
Dunlop and Weld Horses Enter Derby Picture
On Saturday it was Lingfield and its Derby Trial although you have to go back to 1988 since the last winner of the race went on take the Epsom Classic.
Knight to Behold trained by Harry Dunlop got the better of his eight rivals by 3 ¾ lengths. The son of Sea The Stars took up the running a mile from home and his jockey Richard Kingston rode a very enterprising race going well clear of the field coming to the bend. The Aiden O’Brien trained Kew Gardens was the only one to get close to the winner but he looks more of a Leger horse than a Derby one. The winner and possibly the runner up will head to Epsom but given the pace of the race there has to be some doubt as to the value of the form.
On Sunday, it was over to Leopardstown and the Derrinstown Derby Trial over 1m 2f. The winner was Hazapour trained by Dermot Weld who held off a pair of Aiden O’Brien trained colts in Delano Roosevelt and The Pentagon inside the final furlong.
A winner of a Galway maiden on his three starts as a juvenile. There is no doubt the son of Shamardal has wintered well and developed into a very useful colt. Travelling best, he took the lead inside the final furlong and was holding on. The runner up looks like a stayer who should improve for 1m 4f.
The Pentagon is another who is bred to appreciate 1m 4f and if you are on the colt ante-post for the Derby I wouldn’t tear up your tickets just yet, as I think he’s still an each-way contender for Epsom.
He’s closely related to the trainer’s Derby winner Harzand although given his sire there has to be a slight stamina doubt about 1m 4f. Still he looks like he will handle the Epsom undulations and deserves a shot at the Derby for which he’s now a best priced 14/1.
In the last ten years only Harzand out of 18 runners has gone onto to victory at Epsom. But it’s worth noting that Sinndar (2000), Galileo (2001) and High Chaparral (2002) did so in the early part of the century.
Of the three Derby trials, I think the Derrinstown was the best and if Saxon Warrior fails to get the 1m 4f at Epsom, Hazapour or Delano Roosevelt and The Pentagon could take advantage.
Its now onto the Dante this week. A race which has produced six Derby winners. The latest of which was Golden Horn in 2015.
Keyser Soze, trained by Richard Spencer was well fancied to build on his third-place finish in the Newbury Spring Cup, being sent off the 9/2 favourite for the 7f Victoria Cup at Ascot on Saturday.
Everything that could go wrong did for the 4-year-old. He had to be reshod before the start of the race and then lost plenty of lengths with a poor start. He eventually finished 4 ¼ lengths in 10th, but he had lost more lengths than that at the beginning of the race.
Given a typical Jamie Spencer hold up ride he travelled well at the rear of the field but could never really get involved. He will now head to the Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot and with a decent draw and even more importantly a better start will be a live contender.
In the same race it should pay to follow the George Scott trained Gilgamesh. The 4-year-old ran poorly in the Spring Cup but the soft ground was against him that day. He’s a much better horse on a quick surface as he showed here. He did best of the group that race on the stands side and was only beaten 2 lengths into 7th.
He finished off his race as well as anything and the extra mile of the Hunt Cup will be very much in his favour on the evidence of this performance. Big chance at Royal Ascot with luck in the draw and of course fast ground.
Plenty of racing today over both codes both sides of the Irish Sea. Over in Ireland we have the second day of the Killarney May Festival with feature race being the 3m 2f Killarney National.
7:40 – Top weight Sandymount Duke has a touch of class, he was 5th in last years Galway Plate and races off the same mark here. Ran well for a long way in the Grade 1 Punchestown Gold Cup on his last start before weakening three out. That was the 9-year-old’s first run since August so he was entitled to need the run. Comes into the race fresher than most and drying ground is very much in his favour.
Of those lower in the weights All Hell Let Loose trained by Henry De Bromhead needs respecting. The 9-year-old looked to have a big future ahead of him over fences when jumping well to win a good ground Kilbeggan Beginners Chase back in June 2016. He clearly hasn’t been the easiest to keep sound as he’s only had five starts since.
He finished runner-up on his first start for 280 days at Tramore 29 days on heavy. The better ground will suit him and although his stamina for 3m 2f has to be proved he looks on a workable mark of 130 and given his lightweight of 9-12, with Dylan Robinson taking off a further 5lb you have to be hopeful he can run well.
All Hell Let Loose – 10/1 each way
All that’s left now is to wish you a profitable weeks punting.
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