epsom derby 2011/
Carlton House’s Investec Derby Prospects
Trainer Sir Michael Stoute admitted that he is feeling additional responsibility in the build-up to this year’s Investec Derby as he bids to give the Queen a first winner in the world’s most famous Flat race after an ownership career spanning more than 60 years.
The Queen’s Carlton House became favourite the Investec Derby, run at Epsom Downs on Saturday, June 4, following a comfortable victory in York’s totesport Dante Stakes last week and will bid to win the only British Classic missing from the Queen’s CV. The Queen had her first Derby runner in 1953, when Aureole finished second, and has had nine in total. Carlton House is currently trading at 2/1 with William Hill
, official betting partner of the Investec Derby Festival.
Stoute and Carlton House’s rider Ryan Moore were at an Investec Derby press morning on Newmarket’s Warren Hill gallops yesterday morning.
"It was a satisfying trial at York although it was slowly run and we don’t know how good the form is," said Stoute. "Ryan and I were hopeful that he’d win at York and, although the race was a bit inconclusive, we were happy with what he did.
"He has come out of the race very well and we’ll give him a loosener on Saturday but it will be his work next Wednesday that will be more an indicator of his wellbeing.
"I don’t have any worries about him staying at Epsom, the dam was second in the Lancashire Oaks, and he’d done plenty of left-handed work in preparation for the track.
"We always liked him from the start, he worked well and was a good stamp of a horse. We were worried about the ground for his first race at Salisbury but he did what we hoped he would after that at Newbury. It was late October, but he won by nine lengths and we realised we had a potentially nice horse then.
"You do feel a bit more responsibility with this horse because there is so much expectation from people. He’s got a big following, lots of well-wishers and one is aware of the media interest. I’d prefer to be back at home having breakfast but realise you have a responsibility.
"The Queen was up in Newmarket before the Dante and she adores her horses, they are a subject that really engage her. She’s a real horsewoman and I speak to her before she has a runner and then after the race. It was a nice easy call to make after the Dante! It would obviously be nice if she did win the race but she is very philosophical if we don’t win. She’s a great realist who has been in this for a long, long time but let’s hope there’s a great end to the story.
"I’ve trained for the Queen since 1999 and should have won the 2001 Oaks for her with Flight Of Fancy. The filly had a pelvic injury in the race and didn’t race again but I think she would have won otherwise."
Stoute is the most successful current trainer in the Investec Derby with five winners and he reflected that his previous Epsom scorers had been different types of horses.
Stoute added: "Carlton House is coming along nicely but Shergar (1981) just annihilated them in his trials and had always shown a high level of ability. Shahrastani (1986) was a good two-year-old and he should have won the Haynes, Hanson and Clark at Newbury, while Kris Kin (2003) was a bit of an unknown because he showed nothing at home. North Light (2004) had always shown promise and it was a big concern with Workforce (2010) that he was inexperienced.
"They have got to have the temperament to handle the occasion at Epsom and physically have the talent to get a nice position, be athletic and have some gears."
Ryan Moore added: "Carlton House’s work had been good in the spring and I expected him to win at York. You just really wanted him to show on the racecourse what he had been showing at home in the morning.
"The trip will be no problem for at Epsom and I think people worry too much about the track there. If a horse has got the pace to travel, they are OK there and he has the pace. He’s given us every reason to have confidence in him.
"I know exactly how I’d like to ride the race, but it’s hard to put into words and it probably won’t happen as I want. Last year went exactly how I wanted (when he partnered Workforce to win the Investec Derby).
"I don’t really treat this differently to any other big race and I always look forward to the best races. I’ve been lucky to ride for the Queen since I was 18, when I was with Richard Hannon, so I’ve ridden for her for my whole career. I’ve got to meet the Queen a good few times and I’m very much at ease with her. She adores everything about it, from the foals onwards and sees the horses regularly and loves the sport. But I haven’t spoken to her since the Dante and I just treat this horse in the same way as if it belonged to any other owner in the yard.
"I know it’s a big story but for me it’s just a horse race. Everyone makes a big deal of all the Classics but the only one I’m interested in is the Derby. It’s always been the biggest race to me, the Derby is the Derby, otherwise I’d rather be winning King Georges or Breeders’ Cups.
"My dad started training in Epsom and I’ve always liked it there. I always used to go racing a lot there when I was 12 or 13 on Wednesday nights and things."
Comparing last year’s winner Workforce, Moore added: "Workforce is a lot bigger horse, this lad is smaller and a bit more agile. Workforce is very relaxed and this horse is pretty cool and, while they are different in their styles of running, they each have a lot of ability."
CARLTON HOUSE (USA) FACTFILE
b c Street Cry (IRE) - Talented (Bustino)
Owner: HM the Queen
Trainer: Sir Michael Stoute
Jockey: Ryan Moore
Bred by Sheikh Mohammed’s Darley Stud operation, Carlton House is by Group One Dubai World Cup winner Street Cry out of Talented, winner of the 1993 Group Two Sun Chariot Stakes over 10 furlongs at Newmarket. Carlton House was reportedly one of four yearlings given to the Queen as a present by Sheikh Mohammed after she had gifted Highland Glen to him to race in Dubai.
Put into training with Sir Michael Stoute, the colt made his debut in a soft ground mile maiden at Salisbury on September 29. Having been settled in rear, Carlton House stayed on to take second under Ryan Moore, four lengths behind the victorious Pivotman. It was a different scenario at Newbury a month later when Moore had his mount handy through the initial stages of the mile maiden. Shaken up to lead approaching the final quarter-mile, Carlton House drew clear for an impressive nine-length verdict.
Carlton House made his three-year-old debut in the Group Two Dante Stakes at York on May 12, for which he was sent off an 11/4 shot. Among his five opponents were the Aidan O’Brien-trained Group One Racing Post Trophy runner-up Seville and the highly-regarded Henry Cecil-trained maiden winner World Domination.
The Queen’s colt was reluctant to enter the stalls and, once underway, he raced keenly through the early stages when held up as outsider Pisco Sour set a moderate pace up front. Moore settled Carlton House in behind and, when the race began in earnest with less than three furlongs to race, he nursed his mount into contention, producing him between Seville and Pisco Sour inside the distance. Carlton House, head down and willing, quickened to lead under a considerate hands and heels ride to land the spoils well by a length and a half from Seville.
The Investec Derby Festival’s official betting partner William Hill immediately offered the colt as 5/2 favourite for Epsom Downs glory but the price that was quickly snapped up and he is now a 7/4 chance (April 17).
Starts: 3; Wins: 2; 2nd: 1; 3rd: -; Win & Place Prize Money: £90,713