Saturday 18 November 2017

Coolmore fillies still in mix for historic tilt at Derby

Curvy, with Wayne Lordan up, crosses the finish line to win the Airlie Stud Gallinule Stakes ahead of Giovanni Canaletto, with Ryan Moore up, hidden, and Prince Gagarin, with Adam Kirby up, left on Sunday (Cody Glenn / SPORTSFILE)
Curvy, with Wayne Lordan up, crosses the finish line to win the Airlie Stud Gallinule Stakes ahead of Giovanni Canaletto, with Ryan Moore up, hidden, and Prince Gagarin, with Adam Kirby up, left on Sunday (Cody Glenn / SPORTSFILE)
Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

Coolmore's Epsom plans remain unclear after yesterday's 'Breakfast with the Stars' event at the Surrey track and a Derby tilt for Legatissimo or Found could still transpire.

After looking lacklustre when denied by David Wachman's Curvy on Sunday, Giovanni Canaletto might have ruled himself out of Aidan O'Brien's bid for a fourth successive victory in the Classic on June 6.

He could now wait for the Irish equivalent, and the brilliant dual Classic hero Gleneagles is expected to be aimed at the St James's Palace Stakes over a mile at Royal Ascot.

That leaves the slightly less precocious trial winners Hans Holbein and Kilimanjaro as the only Ballydoyle contenders with the 12-furlong Group One as their stated objective. They are as big 12/1 and 20/1 for the £1.3m feature, while Sunday's 1,000 Guineas runner-up Found is 10/1 "with a run".

Found would need to be supplemented at a cost of £75,000. O'Brien tends not to pitch his fillies in against the colts at such an exalted level, but Coolmore spokesman Kevin Buckley wouldn't rule out such an eventuality.

"The plan is to come to Epsom, probably for the Oaks but possibly for the Derby," Buckley said of Found.

"'We have a good representation in the Oaks with (O'Brien's) Diamondsandrubies and Together Forever, so we have to look at the Derby for Found.

"Aidan maintains Gleneagles is a specialist miler. Being realistic, the St James's Palace is his likely target. Giovanni Canaletto is still being trained with the Derby in mind, but the race may come too soon."

In the Derby's 234-year history, only six fillies have won the race, and none since Fifnella in 1916, when the race was run at Newmarket due to wartime restrictions. Nobiliary, second to Grundy in 1975, was the last to be placed, while none has even run since Cape Verdi (ninth) in 1998.

Emulate

The Godolphin filly had won the 1,000 Guineas, as has Wachman's Legatissimo. She isn't quoted for the Derby and is a market-leading 4/1 to emulate Kazzia, the last filly to do the 1,000 Guineas-Oaks double in 2002.

However, given that all options are being explored by John Magnier and Co, there must be as good a chance that she would be supplemented for the Derby as Found, bearing in mind that she was last week added to the Irish Derby field at a cost of €12,500

Only one horse, Tagalie in 1912, has won both the 1,000 Guineas and the Derby. Wachman will have to see where his filly fits in Coolmore's plans, but he expressed himself satisfied with his star.

"She seems very well and we are happy with her as she has done nothing wrong," he said of Legatissimo.

"A mile is a short as she would ever go. She has definitely got stronger since her win at Newmarket."

As a general 5/1 second favourite for the Derby behind the Dante winner Golden Horn - which John Gosden will run along with the York runner-up Jack Hobbs - Zawraq is the most likely Irish winner according to the market.

A minor setback and deep ground for the Derrinstown Derby trial mean that he hasn't run since beating Saturday's 2,000 Guineas runner-up Endless Drama with some ease over a mile at Leopardstown on April 12, but Dermot Weld is looking forward to seeing him attempt to break his Derby hoodoo.

"He certainly has the right temperament and is a very good mover," he said of Zawraq. "I haven't tried to find out if he'll stay - I'll find out on the day!"

Andrea Atzeni said that he will keep his options open, refusing to commit to Qatar Racing's Elm Park over the firm's Karpino, Rogue Runner and Sumbal.

Irish Independent

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