Trainer John Dunlop saddled both classic hopefuls Kong and Cassydora to victory in the Derby and Oaks trials at Lingfield.
KONG booked his place in the line-up for the Vodafone Derby on June 4 as he held off the challenge of Keiren Fallon and Walk In The Park at Lingfield to take the Letheby & Christopher Derby Trial.
Kong (9-2), ridden by Richard Quinn, hit the front two furlongs out and held on for an impressive victory with Kevin Darley's mount Melrose Avenue (12-1) one and a half lengths back in third.
Trainer John Dunlop sent out Silver Patriarch to win this race in 1997 before the gallant grey was denied by a short head in the big race itself the following month. Although Kong’s performance yesterday hardly left bookmakers in raptures, he handled the course well and did enough to satisfy connections that he will not be disgraced in the world’s most famous Flat race at Epsom.
In the totesport.com Oaks Trial for fillies, Cassydora beat Seven Magicians and 11-10 favourite Ayam Zaman.
It's Derby Trial Time Again At Lingfield Park
- Dunlop Aiming Kong & Cassydora At Classic Trials
This Saturday, May 7, Lingfield Park stages one of the most prestigious horse racing contests of the year, the Lingfield Derby Trial with a total prize fund of £60,000. The trial is run a month before the Vodafone Derby, perfect timing for the country's best three-year-olds to experience an undulating course with so many similarities to the Epsom test.
The 2005 Lingfield Derby Trial has attracted 20 high-class colts at the five-day stage including the John Dunlop-trained Kong.
The Sadler's Wells colt went down by the narrowest of margins to Gold Gun on his seasonal debut in a maiden at Newbury last month, when looking a surefire winner at the two furlong pole.
Marcus Hosgood, racing secretary to trainer John Dunlop, said: "Hopefully Kong will run in the Lingfield Derby Trial. He has come out of Newbury well but I would rather not talk about that race!
"I suppose that it was quite encouraging that the first two were 11 lengths clear of Sea Wall, who just got beat at Salisbury on Sunday so I'm not sure whether one can take any kind of encouragement from that and we'll see. Hopefully this race will tell us where we are with him."
Ireland's in-form champion trainer Aidan O'Brien has confirmed Yehudi, a winner of two races last year as well as runner-up in a Group One race in France, as a runner in the Lingfield Derby Trial,.
Supporting races on the day include the prestigious totesport Victoria Cup also with a total prize fund of £60,000, the £50,000 totepool Chartwell Fillies race and the Lingfield Oaks Trial worth £50,000 taking the prize money on the day to a total of £241,000.
Michael Jarvis will run Ayam Zaman, a five-length winner of a Listed contest at Newmarket on her last start, in the £50,000 Lingfield Oaks Trial, in which Dunlop is likely to be represented by Cassydora.
She won a Newmarket maiden last season, beating leading Vodafone Oaks fancy Playful Act by two and a half lengths. The runner-up subsequently reversed the form in the Group Two betfair.com May Hill Stakes, over a mile, at Doncaster last September, when Cassydora was fourth after possibly taking the field along at too fast a gallop.
"Hopefully Cassydora will run in the Lingfield Oaks Trial - the trainer is happy with how she has done over the winter which is the main thing," reported Hosgood.
"As for the step up in trip, while she's by Darshaan, the dam and the second dam really didn't get beyond ten furlongs or rather that was their optimum trip so arguably there could be a doubt about her getting the trip but I would hope that she does.
"On her last start at Doncaster, I think, while one hates to criticise jockeys, arguably Richard [Quinn] went off a bit too fast on our filly and she didn't really get home - a rather more conservative ride would have been in order shall we say.
"Hopefully both Kong and Cassydora will perform creditably at Lingfield and then racing fans will be able to come and see them on display at Mr Dunlop's charity open morning at Castle Stables at Arundel on Sunday, May 29. The trainer is celebrating his fortieth year at Arundel."
Recent visitors to Lingfield Park will be aware of the £6 million refurbishment which has thoroughly enhanced the facilities throughout. The ever popular carvery viewing restaurant has nearly doubled in size and is fully booked on a regular basis seating 270 people with the best view over the winning line. It was quoted in the Times newspaper as probably the best and most improved racecourse restaurant in the country.
The facilities throughout the entire course have been totally refurbished to a very high standard, the various food outlets and bars have been extended and cater for all tastes and budgets. There will be additional entertainment for children (under 16 accompanied are FREE) at all weekend and holiday time race meetings including a creche for 0 - 8 year olds.
Private suites over looking the course are a popular alternative for family parties or corporate entertainment. Various tailor made all inclusive packages are available (although selling fast) with fully inclusive drinks, a three course meal, waitress service, racecards, members raceday badges and car parking. A celebrity tipster or betting advisor, as well as behind the scenes tours can make the day extra special for guests and/or clients.
Racegoers who wish to book either the viewing restaurant or corporate boxes on Derby Trial day are advised to book soon as there is limited availability in the restaurant and, at the time of this release, only four hospitality boxes left to sell.
For further information or to pre-book badges, restaurant or hospitality, please telephone 0870 2200022 and speak to sales and marketing team who will be pleased to help you with your specific requirements.
Ian Renton, Director of Racing at Arena Leisure, said today: "I am delighted at the level of entries for Saturday and looking forward to a fantastic day's racing."
Chris Stickels, Lingfield's Clerk of the Course, said today: "The going is currently Good to Soft, Good in places, and the forecast is for unsettled weather over the next two days before improving on Thursday then it's looking good for the weekend."
For further information, please contact:
Lingfield Park Derby Trial Meeting
Order of Running
Roll of Honour
Year Winner SP Jockey Trainer Owner
History of the Lingfield Derby Trial
In its 72 year history the Lingfield Park Derby Trial has cemented its position as the most successful of all the specialist trial races - hardly surprising when you consider that Lingfield's configurations are the closest any Derby horse will experience to the unique undulations of Epsom.
The trial was the brainchild of Fred Wilmot, who was clerk of the course in 1932 and obviously saw the similarities between Lingfield racecourse and it's Surrey neighbour. Wilmot could hardly have dreamed of a better start when the first winner April The Fifth, who was owned and trained by actor Tom Walls, stormed home by two lengths from Firdaussi and went on to confirm the form at Epsom, landing the spoils by three-quarters of a length with his old Lingfield rival back in fifth.
It took just five years for the trial to produce another winner when Midday Sun won both races by a length and a half. After a fifteen year barren spell Lingfield was back amongst the Derby winners in the shape of the Aga Khan's brilliant colt Tulyar, who won seven out of seven during the 1952 season. He hacked up in the Lingfield Park Derby Trial by an easy two lengths before battling tenaciously to win at Epsom from Gay Tune, who was ridden by a 16-year-old whippersnapper named Lester Piggott. Following Parthia's win in both races in 1959 the Derby Trial went through something of a barren spell, but there was a huge upturn in fortunes at the start of the 1980s and the race subsequently went through a golden period.
Teenoso stopped the rot in 1983, winning the Derby Trial and the 'big one' by three lengths but his efforts were overshadowed two years later by the great Slip Anchor - surely the best ever winner of this race. Henry Cecil's colt, partnered by the brilliant young American Steve Cauthen, astonished the Lingfield crowd when sluicing to victory by ten lengths and then went on to land the Blue Riband at Epsom by a mind-boggling seven lengths. Only the legendary Shergar has won the Derby by a wider margin in the modern era.
In 1988 Luca Cumani's Khayasi made it three Derby winners in six years for the Lingfield Park Classic Trial, giving the Aga Khan another Lingfield Derby Trial/Derby double. Cumani clearly appreciated the benefit of giving a Derby hopeful a spin on a very similar circuit as he did exactly the same thing nine years later with High-Rise, who was made to work really hard for both victories, landing the trial by a neck then scraping home by a head in the Derby.
Down the years the Lingfield Park Derby Trial has been responsible for producing plenty of star performers and looks set to do so for many years to come. Aureole (won the Coronation Cup, Hardwicke Stakes and King George, also second in the Derby), Cacoethes (Derby runner-up), Rock Hopper (multiple Group winner), Bob's Return (St Leger winner) and Silver Patriarch (Derby runner-up and St Leger winner) are just a few of the top-class racehorses who clearly appreciated starting off their three-year-old campaigns at Lingfield Park.
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