Friday 21 October 2016

Golden Horn win calls for Derby run

Golden Horn ridden by William Buick wins The Betfred Dante Stakes during day two of the Dante Festival at York Racecourse, York
Golden Horn ridden by William Buick wins The Betfred Dante Stakes during day two of the Dante Festival at York Racecourse, York

Billed as the most crucial of this season’s Derby trials, it was somewhat ironic, in this wide open year for the Epsom Classic, that yesterday’s Dante Stakes winner doesn’t currently hold an entry for the race on the first Saturday of next month.

If any horse this season has so far stood forward to stake a claim as a potential Derby winner, it was John Gosden’s Golden Horn, who did just that yesterday. But a discussion, which will no doubt be a lengthy one, between trainer and owner will have to determine if £75,000 is paid to supplement the now unbeaten son of Cape Cross.

The Prix du Jockey-Club at Chantilly was the pre-race target of Golden Horn but the Epsom Derby rather than the French equivalent would have to come under serious consideration now after yesterday’s two-and-three  parts of a length win over stable companion Jack Hobbs.

The Anthony Oppenheimer-owned colt is now a best priced 3/1 favourite with BoyleSports for the Epsom Derby, while bookmakers Paddy Power go 6/4 with a run. Gosden said afterwards: “Mr Oppenheimer has been very firm with me that he’s a mile-and-a-quarter horse and he told me that all along, so we will see. The jockey felt he finished strongly today. He’s a horse who has really come on since he won the Feilden Stakes. When he won the Feilden, we said we’d come to the Dante and that’s what we’ve done.

“Coming up on the train today, I knew they could well be first and second but I half felt this guy is the professional at the moment.

Of Jack Hobbs, Gosden added: “The other horse ran great, but was stacked three wide the whole way and I told William to tuck in at the back and go to sleep as he has a good turn of foot.


“He had a dream trip, but Jack was rather wide all the way and then babyish and wondering what to do.

“Frankie (Dettori) said he was waiting for him to tell him, so I’m delighted with his run and I think the third horse (Elm Park) gives you a very solid benchmark of form. He’s a Group One horse and the fourth was a long way back.

“Jack Hobbs could go to Epsom or the King Edward VII (at Royal Ascot). He’s still a very tall, lanky, rangy, talented horse. He won his handicap off 85 doing handstands, so I would just like to think about it.

“He doesn’t have to answer those questions now, and I’m sure Mr Oppenheimer will have a think about whether he wants to stump up the 75 grand or not (to supplement). That’s his business, not mine.”

He added: “Golden Horn is a well-balanced horse and he’s neat, whereas Jack Hobbs is a big, rangy boy - they are different types. I can see the logic in supplementing him, but it’s not my money.”

Aidan O’Brien fielded both Ol’ Man River and John F Kennedy but the pair were outpaced when the race began in earnest, finishing second to last and last of the seven runners respectively.

John F Kennedy had previously suffered a surprise defeat on his reappearance, while Ol’ Man River had been last in the 2000 Guineas, where he was eased when his chance had gone.

O’Brien said: “ There’s obviously something amiss with both of them at the moment. We can’t find anything wrong with them at home. There’ll be no Epsom for them. As for what we will run in the Derby, we will see what happens in the next two weeks.”

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