Sport Horse Racing

Sunday 25 February 2018

Curragh-bound Galileo Gold retains Derby option

2000 Guineas victor, Galileo Gold: 'If he happens to go to Ireland and win impressively, who knows?' Photo: Julian Herbert/PA
2000 Guineas victor, Galileo Gold: 'If he happens to go to Ireland and win impressively, who knows?' Photo: Julian Herbert/PA
Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

York will host the final major Derby trial tomorrow when Michael Stoute's Classic favourite Midterm tackles the Dante Stakes under Pat Smullen.

Aidan O'Brien will rely on Deauville and Black Sea in the quest to upset Midterm's momentum in the Group Two, with John Gosden's duo Wings Of Desire and Foundation also getting a chance to earn their place in the Investec-sponsored Classic on June 4.

As a rule, the Betfred-sponsored Dante would be the last-chance saloon for Derby hopefuls. However, having initially ruled out Epsom in favour of a tilt at a Guineas double at the Curragh next week, connections of Hugo Palmer's 2,000 Guineas victor Galileo Gold were singing from a slightly different hymn sheet yesterday.

"We just want to leave all options open because you never know," said Harry Herbert on behalf of Galileo Gold's owners Al Shaqab. "If he happens to go to Ireland and win impressively, who knows?

"Just to shut the door completely is not something Sheikh Joaan wants to do, and that's absolutely fine. I'm not saying he's going to run in the Derby. That's not going to happen unless lots of pieces of the jigsaw fall into place and, even then, he may not. It's purely keeping everything open which is perfectly sensible."

This afternoon's York card sees the fillies get their chance to book a place in the Oaks on June 3. O'Brien's Best In The World flopped on her Navan return. A Galileo full-sister to the mighty Found, she may have got stuck in the mud that day, so she is worth taking a chance on here at odds of up to 11/2.

Gosden's unbeaten So Mi Dar is a deserving market leader. A daughter of Dubawi, she did lots right when edging out Humphrey Bogart at Epsom three weeks ago. Clearly, that form reads well in light of Humphrey Bogart's Derby trial success at Lingfield on Saturday, while the third home was Viren's Army, which won the Dee Stakes at Chester.

There is absolutely no doubt that So Mi Dar is a serious Classic prospect. Still, Best In The World could be as well, because she shouldn't be written off on the basis of one below-par turn.

Last year, she looked a fine sort when beating Dolce Strega at the Curragh, and the runner-up is unbeaten in two starts this term, including in a Curragh Group Three. On that occasion, she conquered Steip Amach, a Group Three winner herself on Sunday.

Given their respective odds today, then, Best In The World is value to thwart So Mi Dar under Ryan Moore.

Dick Whittington also represents Ballydoyle in the Clipper Logistics Stakes over six furlongs. Eddie Lynam will saddle Moviesta in that Group Two, and he is another raider that could run well at even bigger odds.

A Goodwood Group Two winner in 2013 for Bryan Smart, Moviesta has had a mixed time of things since joining Lynam.

He ran better than his finishing position suggests on his Naas comeback, and the suspicion is that six furlongs on fast ground is what he needs these days. Andrea Atzeni's mount gets that here, so he is fancied to step up.

Irish Independent

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