BY: Craig Simpkin
One of the standout races of the Flat season takes place this Saturday with the prestigious Epsom Derby.
The race is sure to have plenty of money staked upon it, and with most bookmakers paying out on the top three places for each way bets on a 17 horse field, there is seemingly cash to be made.
Golden Horn (from 13/8)
When an owner pays a £75,000 late entry fee to get their horse into a race then you know it stands a good chance of entering the winners’ enclosure.
That’s exactly the lengths that Anthony Oppenheimer has gone to in order to add Golden Horn to the field.
Trained by the legendary John Gosden and ridden by Frankie Dettori, Golden Horn triumphed in the recent Dante Stakes which is usually a good indicator of a horse’s form heading into Epsom, was under consideration for the Prix du Jockey Club over 1m2½f due to worries about his stamina for the Derby but after discussions.
Speaking in an interview in Monday’s Racing Post, Oppenheimer said: “John understands and agrees with me that there is a possibility Golden Horn may not have the stamina, but we’ve got to take the chance. We’d look very stupid if he turned out to stay a mile and a half and we hadn’t gone, wouldn’t we?
“I’ve always had my doubts about the horse staying, but we’re getting very close with the York trip of one mile two furlongs and almost another half a furlong
Zawraq (from 9/2)
ANGUS GOLD has revealed that having worked Zawraq over a mile and a quarter on Saturday morning trainer Dermot Weld and jockey Pat Smullen are now confident the twice-raced unbeaten colt will see out the mile and a half of the Investec Derby.
Zawraq has not raced beyond a mile in either of his two career starts and at Breakfast with the Stars Weld said he would not try to find out beforehand if the 5-1 shot had the requisite stamina for the Epsom Classic.
However, Gold, racing manager to Zawraq’s owner Hamdan Al Maktoum, revealed a change of heart. He said: “I spoke to the trainer and the jockey this morning after they did a bit of work with him and they were happy.
“They worked him a mile and a quarter this morning and said he was doing his best work at the end, which has led both of them to feel much more confident he will stay. I will be surprised if he doesn’t stay.
Jack Hobbs (from 7/1)
Jack Hobbs raced into Derby contention in April with a 12-length victory in a Sandown handicap
Jack Hobbs was beaten by Golden Horn in their prep race and the trainer does not seem to expect a reversal of that form.
“He’s still a big, rangy boy, he’s still quite unfurnished and it’s all coming soon enough for him, quite frankly,” John Gosden says.
Gosden added: “I wanted William to tell me how he [Jack Hobbs] handled the hill and Tattenham Corner. He was very happy with him.
Elm Park (from 7/1)
Now Elm Park goes to Epsom with a serious chance – albeit that the colt, one of last season’s leading two-year-olds, must renew battle with the Derby favourite, John Gosden’s unbeaten Golden Horn, who beat the Balding horse into third in the Dante at York 17 days ago.
Balding Snr was pleased enough: “He has a wonderful temperament, which is a great thing for Derby Day. But he never does more than he has to do. He’s not the sort of horse that will go away and win four lengths, like Mill Reef. But he did pretty well. He’s in terrific shape.”
Also taking in the course was the Andrew Balding-trained Elm Park, who did not appear to relish the topsy-turvy course quite so much.
Hans Holbein (from 12/1)
Once raced as a juvenile, Hans Holbein may not have been regarded as the premier Classic contender to go to battle with this season, but the son of Montjeu has blossomed as the season has gone on and he will now aim to continue on an upward curve and bag victory in the 2015 Epsom Derby on June 6.
He kicked off the season with a defeat in a Cork maiden, where he was a red-hot favourite, but he managed to bag his first success next time up at Leopardstown, where he relished the 1m 2f distance and showed that he could be another Group winning performer for the Ballydoyle operation.
However, he launched into the Classic reckoning when bounding to victory in the Group 3 Chester Vase on May 7 and with stablemate Ruler Of The World having won that prize for O’Brien before going on to Derby success then Hans Holbein will be aiming to emulate that sparkling double