Sport Horse Racing

Monday 19 February 2018

Bogart might get Derby chance

Trainer Richard Hannon. Photo: Getty Images
Trainer Richard Hannon. Photo: Getty Images

Marcus Armytage

It is a standing leg-pull with Richard Hannon's fellow trainers that mile-and-a-half horses are not his thing but, this season, he seems to be collecting Derby trials like they are going out of fashion. Indeed, he has won more of them this time than Aidan O'Brien.

Yesterday he added to the Feilden Stakes and Dee Stakes to collect his third Derby trial of the campaign when Humphrey Bogart, the only one of the five runners not entered in racing's blue riband, came from last to first to win the Betfred Derby Trial Stakes at Lingfield and earn a quote of 20/1 for Epsom.

Hannon originally assumed that Humphrey Bogart, by Tagula, would be a seven-furlong horse, a miler maximum. In fact he is no more entitled to stay a mile and a half than the Guineas winner Galileo Gold, who has been ruled out of the Derby after a genetic test suggested he would not get the trip. But yesterday's trial was only 100 yards short of what Humphrey Bogart will have to cover at Epsom in a month's time and he did not appear to be stopping at the end of it.

Having been switched off at the back of the field of five, he was still last turning in but came with a strong run down the outside to beat the Prince of Wales's Carntop a cosy half-length in a time five seconds quicker than the fillies' trial half an hour earlier.

Richard Morecombe, who fronts Chelsea Thoroughbreds, the syndicate which bought him for just £33,000 as a yearling, was champing at the bit to fork out the £75,000 required to supplement him for next month's Classic. Certainly, they would appear not to have much to lose if they were to get Sean Levey to drop him out the back in the race and see how many he can pass up Epsom's longer straight - he could easily run into enough prize money to pay for his entry.

"He could have got a free entry to the Derby for winning the Epsom trial but he was beaten by the filly (So Mi Dar)," said Hannon. "Now we'll have to splash out £75k. I don't normally have this problem, I'm usually getting over a Guineas disappointment at this time of year! But I do think a few more of the trials should be 'win and you're in.' They've done it with the Epsom trial and its made it a very good race now."

Carntop ran a solid race in second but will now go for Royal Ascot's King Edward VII Stakes instead of the Derby.

The result of the colts' trial probably had more effect on the Oaks - it was another form boost for So Mi Dar - than the actual Betfred Mobile Oaks Trial itself. It was won in a tight finish by Aidan O'Brien's Seventh Heaven, which was uncomfortable on both the ground and the track, according to its jockey Ryan Moore, by a neck from Hugo Palmer's Architecture in a sprint finish after it had been run at a dawdle.

Seventh Heaven was cut to 16/1 for the Oaks while Architecture is a 20/1 shot. I am not sure the evens favourite, Minding, will be as worried about either of them as she is about So Mi Dar which goes to York on Wednesday. Today Hannon attempts to win a fourth trial when he sends Ventura Storm over for the Derrinstown Derby Trial at Leopardstown, where O'Brien runs half the field - Beacon Rock, Idaho, Lieutenant General and Shogun - as the search for this year's Derby winner continues.Observer

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