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Fallon steers North Light to Derby delight
Kieren Fallon made it back-to-back Epsom Derby wins as North Light shone brightest of all today.

Disappointment for Dettori
Frankie Dettori's Derby hoodoo continued as Snow Ridge, the joint-favourite with the triumphant North Light, finished back in seventh.

Derby attracts field of 14
Stable companions Yeats and Moscow Ballet were the only withdrawals at the final declaration stage for the Vodafone Derby leaving a field of 14 for the premier Classic.

Gatwick flying ahead of Derby tilt
Gatwick shone in his winding up gallop for Saturday's Vodafone Derby when working over six furlongs at West Ilsley on Tuesday morning.

Handlers vote for strike action
Stalls handlers have voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action bringing the prospect of a flip-start Derby ever closer.

Light at end of the tunnel
North Light, third favourite for the 2004 Vodafone Derby, has so far managed to avoid a bug that has hit Sir Michael Stoute's yard.

Percussionist on song for classic tilt
John Gosden issued an upbeat bulletin on Percussionist as the colt continued his preparation for the Vodafone Derby.

Dramatic win for Post
American Post, trained by Criquette Head-Maarek, won a truly dramatic race for the Gainsborough Poule d'Essai des Poulains (French 2000 Guineas) at Longchamp.

Derby due off later
The Vodafone Derby is to have its latest ever start next month with the premier Classic due off at 4.20pm.

Chester to leave trials unchanged
Officials at Chester are keen to persevere with their two recognised Derby trials despite both races this year being won by geldings


Kieren FallonFallon steers North Light to Derby delight
Kieren Fallon made it back-to-back Epsom Derby wins as North Light shone brightest of all today.

Michael Stoute’s improving colt (7-2) beat Rule Of Law to give the trainer and champion jockey back-to-back victories in the blue riband following Kris Kin last year.

Let The Lion Roar was third.

Fallon is the first jockey to have ridden successive winners of the blue riband since Willie Carson on Troy (1979) and Henbit (1980).

He was also completing a Classic double after landing the Vodafone Oaks on Ouija Board yesterday.

Today Fallon had North Light, winner of the Dante Stakes, in an ideal position on the shoulder of Meath from the start.

He was always going to try to make use of his mount’s undoubted stamina and so it proved, as he took up the running with three furlongs to run.

Third favourite American Post tried to sit in his slipstream but could never get to the leader and faded a furlong and a half out.

Percussionist came with a challenge, having lost his position at the top of the hill, but he could not get there either as the Stoute team won the day by a length and a half from the Godolphin second string Rule of Law (20-1).

John Dunlop’s Let The Lion Roar (14-1) was a head back in third.

Frankie Dettori's Derby hoodoo continued as Snow Ridge, the joint-favourite with North Light, never looked happy on the course and failed to get in anything like a serious blow.

Disappointment for Dettori
Frankie Dettori's Derby hoodoo continued as Snow Ridge, the joint-favourite with the triumphant North Light, finished back in seventh in the Vodaphone Derby.

Dettori, yet to claim a Derby win, admitted that 7-2 priced Snow Ridge never looked happy on the course and failed to get in anything like a serious blow.

He said: "It is one of those things. The horse felt brilliant going to post.
" I had a little look coming round Tattenham Corner and felt him coming good and I knew that he has a good turn of foot. However, he only went a few hundred yards and then the stamina started to tell.

" I went from maybe finishing second or third to dropping out and I wanted to jump on Rule Of Law in the last furlong.

" I am a bit disappointed and have to wait another 12 months now. I don't know what it is about the Derby but it took Sir Gordon Richards 49 years to do it, so I hope it doesn't take me that long."

Derby attracts field of 14
Stable companions Yeats and Moscow Ballet were the only withdrawals at the final declaration stage for the Vodafone Derby leaving a field of 14 for the premier Classic.

Aidan O'Brien, their trainer, will now be represented by Meath at Epsom on Saturday.

Frankie Dettori, attempting to win the blue riband for the first time, rides the favourite Snow Ridge while last year's successful partnership of Sir Michael Stoute and Kieren Fallon saddle North Light.

The Criquette Head-Maarek-trained American Post will bid to give the French their first Derby triumph since Lester Piggott scored on Maurice Zilber's Empery in 1976.

Gatwick flying ahead of Derby tilt
Gatwick shone in his winding up gallop for Saturday's Vodafone Derby when working over six furlongs at West Ilsley on Tuesday morning.

Mick Channon delayed the workout for 24 hours in the knowledge that rain was forecast and it was in a heavy downpour that big-race pilot Richard Quinn got acquainted with the colt.

The colt, who is owned by a syndicate which includes Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, worked in company with Millennium Force and Top Seed.

Millennium Force took the trio along with the three-year-olds on either side of him and, as they finished around a left handed bend, Quinn looked to have plenty of horse under him.

Gatwick was supplemented into the premier Classic at a cost of 75,000 on Monday following his successes in handicap company at Goodwood and Haydock.

And Channon believes the son of Ali-Royal has a good chance of a place.

"This horse has an attitude you could die for and he's the type of colt who will scramble and pick up," he said.

"Yes, it will be a different ball game at Epsom but he's a street fighter and he has a good chance of finishing in the money."

Top Seed, who is to run in the French Derby on Sunday, also looked in good order.

He will be Channon's first runner in the Longchamp showpiece after his fourth place behind North Light in the Dante Stakes at York.

Handlers vote for strike action
Stalls handlers have voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action bringing the prospect of a flip-start Derby ever closer.

They voted 29 to 4 in favour of a strike in a dispute with their employers RaceTech over new contracts.

Peter Medhurst, the Transport and General Workers' Union regional organiser and spokesman for the stalls handlers, said: "This is an overwhelming vote which sends a crystal-clear message to RaceTech and the industry that our members will fight back."

The handlers must give seven days notice of industrial action which effectively means they could walk out from June 4, the day of the Vodafone Oaks with the Derby 24 hours later.

A flip start involves stretching elastic across the course and then releasing it, allowing the horses to go.

Light at end of the tunnel
North Light, third favourite for the 2004 Vodafone Derby, has so far managed to avoid a bug that has hit Sir Michael Stoute's yard.

The Dante winner is being isolated from many of his stablemates by Stoute after the multiple Classic-winner became the latest in a series of Newmarket trainers to have his yard suffer from the problem, which typically includes symptoms such as high temperatures and dirty noses among the string.

Currently 7-2 for the Blue Riband event with most of the top bookmakers, North Light worked with First Charter on Wednesday and came through unscathed, and has also been seen out on the Limekilns in preparation for his Epsom Downs target.

Stoute has been unable to gallop as many horses as he would like recently on account of the bug, but he is determined to do whatever he can to ensure that the Danehill colt avoids the problem. To that end he has railed off part of his yard at Freemason Lodge so that North Light and some of his other unaffected horses do not come into contact with those who have it.

Percussionist on song for classic tilt
John Gosden issued an upbeat bulletin on Percussionist as the colt continued his preparation for the Vodafone Derby.

Percussionist, who carries the colours of the late Robert Sangster, staked his claim for the blue riband with a 10-length victory on soft going in the Lingfield Derby Trial.

"I know everybody is enjoying the weather, but I hope that comes to an end very quickly and it starts raining again as Percussionist is by Sadler's Wells and likes to get his toe in," Gosden, who tasted Derby glory with Benny The Dip in 1997, told BBC Sport.

"Percussionist is in great form. I took him to Newbury and schooled him on Saturday.

"He was as cool as a cucumber being saddled up because he got a bit bothered at Lingfield. We'll probably take him to Epsom give him a school there and wander round and see the place. He couldn't be in better form."

A decision has yet to be made on Salford City's participation in the Derby.

David Elsworth's colt won the Lane's End Greenham Stakes at Newbury before finishing a four-length sixth behind Haafhd in the UltimateBet.com 2000 Guineas at Newmarket at the beginning of the month.

"We've always considered him for the Derby," Elsworth said.

"After the Guineas we were pondering, but we were always going to declare him on Wednesday this week and it's still a strong consideration.

"However, I would emphasise a final decision still hasn't been made, but we will have him organised for the Saturday in June at Epsom. If we decide not to go there we'll go for the St James's Palace."

Dramatic win for Post
American Post, trained by Criquette Head-Maarek, won a truly dramatic race for the Gainsborough Poule d'Essai des Poulains (French 2000 Guineas) at Longchamp.

Antonius Pius looked all set to score for Ireland when he led well inside the final furlong.

However, Aidan O'Brien's colt, ridden by Jamie Spencer, appeared to collide with the running rail and was headed close home as Richard Hughes seized the opportunity to drive Khalid Abdullah's colt ahead to score from Diamond Green.

It came as no surprise when a stewards' inquiry was announced.

Spencer said of Antonius Pius, who finished fifth: "He just jinked, I don't know why - he hit the rail so hard and he did well to stay on his feet. I can't believe it."

"I rode him wrong last time (when second to American Post). There was no pace and I got caught out. But he has got a turn of foot to kill any horse and that's how I rode him."

Hughes said: "He was staying on again at the end. That's what won him the race and I certainly don't think the trip at Epsom (mile and a half) would be a problem.

"But he didn't stretch like he can. Personally, I wouldn't run him in the Derby if it was fast ground."

Mme Head-Maarek agreed, saying: "I thought he didn't have his normal action today. I'm not going to decide anything for at least a week, but Richard said he would need soft ground if we were to go to Epsom and I'm not about to disagree with him."

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