Epsom Derby Day - 5th June 2010 

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Guineas Flops Eye Differing Derby Targets

St Nicholas Abbey and Elusive Pimpernel, the two horses who dominated the betting for the 2000 Guineas but failed to make the frame, remain on course for a bid for Derby glory in June, although they are unlikely to run in the same event, writes Elliot Slater.

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Ballydoyle's St Nicholas Abbey, sent off the even money favourite on the Rowley Mile could only finish sixth behind surprise French winner Makfi. He has now drifted in the Epsom Derby betting from 7/4 to 4/1 but remains the market leader.

Aidan O'Brien's Montjeu colt, the outstanding juvenile of the 2009 season, was always considered more likely to win the Epsom Classic than the Newmarket race - the horse is expected to show his true capabilities once stepped up to a mile-and-a-half.

It was clear that once the pace eventually quickened in a muddling renewal of the 2000 Guineas, St Nicholas Abbey didn't have the basic speed necessary to win in Group 1 company over eight furlongs, but the way he stayed on up the hill at HQ will have given those still holding ante-post Derby vouchers cause to be optimistic looking ahead to Epsom. Indeed, with his racing odds having lengthened some brave punters might be tempted to back him again.

John Dunlop's Elusive Pimpernel finished fifth, a neck in front of the O'Brien colt, and was probably amongst those least suited by the stop-start gallop set during the course of the contest. He kept on well enough in the closing stages and this suggests the mile-and-a-quarter of the French Derby at Chantilly will prove to be his optimum trip, endorsing the view held by his veteran handler that a true run mile-and-a-half might stretch his stamina.

Like St Nicholas Abbey, Elusive Pimpernel is reported to have come out of the race well and is on course to bid for Classic success in France next month under regular pilot Eddie Ahern.

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