epsom derby 2013/
Trainer Alan Bailey Could Have First Runner in Investec Derby 16/04/13
The British Flat season steps up a gear this week with plenty of Classic clues on display in the trials taking place at Newmarket and Newbury.
King George River, formerly trained by Irish champion Aidan O'Brien, will have his first start on turf for Newmarket handler Alan Bailey in the Listed ebm-papst Feilden Stakes over nine furlongs at Newmarket tomorrow, April 17, before a potential tilt at the Investec Derby at Epsom Downs on Saturday, June 1.
The three-year-old son of Danehill Dancer scored impressively on his debut from Sugar Boy at Gowran Park in July last year but, after trailing home last behind Investec Derby hopeful First Cornerstone in a Listed contest at Tipperary the following month, he was sold to current owner John Stocker for 34,000 guineas at the Tattersalls Autumn Horses-In-Training Sale in October.
Since joining Bailey, King George River has finished in the first three in five starts on Polytrack at Lingfield and Wolverhampton, and his form figures have done nothing but improve.
The colt has won his last two races and, most recently, was a decisive two and a half length winner of an extended nine-furlong handicap at the latter course on March 7.
Connections paid £8,000 to enter King George River for the Investec Derby at last week's second entry stage for the premier Classic, worth at least £1.325 million and run over a mile and a half at Epsom Downs on the second day of the Investec Derby Festival.
Bailey said: "King George River has got some improving to do before we look at the Investec Derby but if he proves he is good enough, we will consider it.
"He is in good form at the moment and he runs tomorrow at Newmarket. Hopefully, he will run well but I would like to see some cut in the ground. I think that's what he wants but just as long as there is no jar in it, it will be fine.
"We have been running him on the all-weather because he is a big baby of a horse. We want to get the experience into him and he seems to be improving with every run.
"We will have to see how he gets on and comes out of the Feilden before we think about another trial but a step up to a mile and a half is what he wants."
King George River, with Ryan Moore in the saddle for the first time, takes on six rivals tomorrow and another one of the record 17 second entries for the Investec Derby was Glory Awaits, trained by Kevin Ryan in North Yorkshire.
Toronado, unbeaten in three starts, is a 14/1 shot with Coral, the official betting partner of the Investec Derby Festival, for the Investec Derby. He will put his Classic credentials on the line in the Group Three Novae Bloodstock Insurance Craven Stakes over a mile at Newmarket on Thursday, April 18. Richard Hannon's colt will clash with stablemate Havana Gold and Group Three winners Dundonnell and Tawhid.
Glory Awaits makes his seasonal debut in the Feilden Stakes and improved from winning a Haydock maiden to finishing fourth in the Group Three Autumn Stakes at Newmarket in October.
Another Investec Derby entry in tomorrow's race is the Andrew Balding-trained lightly-raced Race And Status, who scored stylishly on his debut at Newbury in September before finishing third behind Ghurair in a valuable sales race, also over seven furlongs, at Newmarket the following month.
Filly Alta Lilea, trained by Mark Johnston in Yorkshire, also has an Epsom Downs Classic entry, but in the Investec Oaks which takes place on Investec Ladies' Day, the first day of the Investec Derby Festival, Friday, May 31.
The Galileo filly, an easy winner of a Leicester seven-furlong maiden in October, finished third in a Listed race over an extra furlong at Nantes in France on her only other start.
Day one of Newmarket's Craven Meeting tomorrow includes a potentially informative 10-furlong maiden in which five Investec Derby aspirants are declared to run.
The most notable are the Sir Henry Cecil-trained pair, Demonic and Frankel's Oasis Dream half-brother Morpheus. Demonic finished fourth only his only start in a Lingfield Polytrack maiden on November 28 while Morpheus shaped with some promise when seventh on his debut at Nottingham in October and was added to the Investec Derby at the second entry stage last week.
The other Investec Derby entries in the Newmarket race are the unraced Battalion (trained by William Haggas), Improvisation (Mahmood Al Zarooni) and Tinghir (David Lanigan).
Thursday's card at Newmarket also features the £200,000 Tattersalls Millions 3-Y-O Trophy and the 16 runners include Kempton Park maiden scorer Greatwood, who is a 40/1 chance with Coral for the Investec Derby.
One horse who may have already booked his Investec Derby ticket is the Aidan O'Brien-trained Battle Of Marengo (10/1 with Coral), who emulated his sire Galileo (successful in the 2001 Derby) by taking the Group Three Ballysax Stakes over 10 furlongs at Leopardstown on April 14. He beat Sugar Boy by a length and three quarters.
The Investec Derby Festival commences with a fantastic seven-race card on Investec Ladies' Day, Friday, May 31, when the fillies' Classic, the Investec Oaks, worth £400,000, is the highlight.
As well as the Investec Derby, Saturday, June 1, also features the Group One Investec Coronation Cup, one of the highlights of the year for older horses. Prize money for the mile and a half contest has increased from £300,000 to £350,000 this year.
INVESTEC DERBY FESTIVAL - LATEST CORAL ODDS
Investec Derby: 5/1 Telescope, 6/1 Mars, 8/1 Dawn Approach, Kingsbarns, 10/1 Battle Of Marengo, 14/1 Toronado, 16/1 Ocovango, Foundry, 20/1 Trading Leather, Rule Of The World, Secret Number, Zand, 25/1 Steeler, Van Der Neer, Indian Chief, Hillstar, Leading Light, Pedro The Great, Sardinia, Sir Walter Scott, Victory Song, Tarikhi, 33/1 bar
Investec Oaks: 6/1 Liber Nauticus, 10/1 Certify, 16/1 Moth, 20/1 Half Moon, Lady Nouf, Just The Judge, Our Obsession, Secret Gesture, Tarana, Hot Snap, Rasmeyaa, Shuruq, 25/1 bar