17 Going in Vodafone Derby
Edited Epsom Downs release
The 229th running of the Vodafone Derby (Eng-I) at Epsom has attracted 17 3-year-old runners that were declared June 5 for Saturday’s race.
The favorite, trading at 7/2 or 4/1, for the premier British classic, worth £1,413,500 (about $2.7 million), is Casual Conquest, who was supplemented by owners Moyglare Stud Farms at a cost of £75,000. The Hernando colt, trained in Ireland by Dermot Weld, is unbeaten in two starts, most recently when showing a devastating turn of turn of foot to land the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial (Ire-II) by six lengths at Leopardstown May 11.
A close second in the betting is New Approach, who came back into Vodafone Derby calculations at the beginning of this week. Last year's champion juvenile, who finished runner-up in the group I English and Irish Two Thousand Guineas this year, runs for owner Princess Haya of Jordan, trainer Jim Bolger, and jockey Kevin Manning from stall three. He is the second of seven declared runners from Ireland.
New Approach is offered at either 4/1 and 9/2 by bookmakers, with the Luca Cumani-trained Curtain Call next in the odds at between 4/1 & 5/1.
The Newmarket-based handler has sent out a Derby winner in each of the previous two decades when the year ended in eight, namely Kahyasi (1988) and High-Rise (1998). Curtain Call was a group II winner in Ireland last year and returned to action at Nottingham April 23 when an easy winner of a conditions race. He missed an intended run in the Derby Trial (Eng-III) at Lingfield May 10 because of fast ground there.
Doctor Fremantle, trained by Sir Michael Stoute, entered the reckoning for the Vodafone Derby after landing the Chester Vase (Eng-III) May 8. He is the second of the three supplementary entries made on Monday.
Stoute is also represented by group II Dante Stakes winner Tartan Bearer, who will be bidding to follow in the footsteps of 2004 Epsom Derby winner North Light for owners Ballymacoll Stud, and Dee Stakes (Eng-III) winner Tajaaweed.
If the Newmarket-based handler wins this year’s Vodafone Derby, he would become the most successful current trainer in the premier classic with five wins. His other previous successes came through Shergar (1981), Shahrastani (1986), Kris Kin (2003), and North Light.
Tartan Bearer is priced between 6/1 and 7/1, with Tajaaweed offered from 7/1 to 9/1, and Doctor Fremantle from 8/1 to 10/1.
Four-time Vodafone Derby-winning trainer Henry Cecil could also become the most successful current handler in the 12-furlong event if victorious with Kandahar Run, scorer of the listed Newmarket Stakes last time out. Cecil's previous Derby scorers were Slip Anchor (1985), Reference Point (1987), Commander in Chief (1993), and Oath (1999).
Godolphin's contender is group I French Two Thousand Guineas runner-up Rio De La Plata, a group I winner in France last year. Frankie Dettori has the mount.
Andrew Cooper, Clerk of the course and director of racing at Epsom Downs, this afternoon changed the going to good from good to soft. The GoingStick reading is 7.3. There has been warm sunshine, blue , and a steady breeze at Epsom Downs today.
He said: "The ground is continuing to dry out and I have changed the going description to good from good to soft. It is lovely ground and we will see how it rides tomorrow.
"The forecast is for mainly dry weather between now and the Vodafone Derby on Saturday afternoon. Some light showers could fall overnight Friday into Saturday.
"The way the ground has dried this week watering for Saturday may have to be considered. I am not anxious to water and would much prefer nature to do it for me - a couple of millimeters at any time would probably suffice."
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