Sports News of Tuesday, 22 May 2018
Source: Steven Davies
Roaring Lion showcased his claims for the Derby at Epsom this year with victory in the Dante Stakes, recently, in what is one of the best trials for the British Classic. John Gosden’s runner was too quick for his rivals inside the final couple of furlongs, as he surged clear of the pack under the hands of Oisin Murphy to score four lengths.
At the start of the season, Roaring Lion was one of the major contenders for glory at Epsom as he impressed in his two-year-old campaign. The colt was successful in Group Two Royal Lodge Stakes at Newmarket where he finished a neck in front of the Ballydoyle-trained Nelson. Just weeks later, he travelled up to Doncaster where he came home second behind Saxon Warrior in the Group One Racing Post Trophy.
The 2018 season started off poorly for the Qatar Racing-owned colt as he was the odds-on favourite for the Craven Stakes at Newmarket. Unfortunately for his connections, he struggled inside the closing stages of the race won by Masar. Although he did not disgrace himself in the 2000 Guineas earlier this month, with a fifth-place finish, he never really troubled Saxon Warrior, who was the comfortable winner of the British Classic.
Roaring Lion had his first test over 1m2f at York in the Dante Stakes, where he looked to appreciate the extra distance. He settled well in the early stages of the contest and then was produced with a strong run to kill off the race. After his victory on the Knavesmire, Gosden’s runner was cut into 7/1 with the bookmakers to win the Derby. He will then most likely appear in the St James Palace Stakes where he could be one of the selections from tips at Timeform for Royal Ascot which takes place later in June.
Saxon Warrior May Be On Course For Triple Crown
Saxon Warrior is the hot favourite for the Derby heading into the meeting next month on the back of his excellent display at Newmarket in the 2000 Guineas. Aidan O’Brien’s runner has yet to suffer defeat in his four racecourse starts so far.
The son of Deep Impact made his debut at the Curragh back in August where he looked very professional in his maiden success. A month later he stepped up in class to claim the Group Two Beresford Stakes at Naas where he beat a number of his stablemates to establish himself as number one in the pecking order of two-year-olds at Ballydoyle.
O’Brien’s colt was made to work hard in the Racing Post Trophy but that was largely down to the horse being hampered as he started his challenge for the finish line. With former Champion Jockey Ryan Moore on his back, the pair were able to recover and got up to finish a head in front of Roaring Lion.
In the 2000 Guineas, Saxon Warrior was held up for as long as possible by Aidan’s son Donnacha. As soon as he hit the front of the field, he soon became in control of the 1m contest.
That victory has kick-started talk about a possible Triple Crown bid for the three-year-old. If he wins the Derby at Epsom, the St Leger at Doncaster in September will most likely be his main target for the rest of the campaign. So a colt has won all three Classics since Nijinsky in 1970. O’Brien went close with Camelot in 2012, however, he had to settle for second place in the final leg.
Young Rascal Wins Chester Vase For William Haggas
British trainer William Haggas last won the Derby in 1996 with Shaamit, however, his long wait for another success could come to an end this year with Young Rascal, who has emerged as a contender for the Derby. The lightly raced colt has only had three racecourse appearances but has improved with each run so far.
The French bred colt did not make his debut until last November in a maiden at Nottingham where he finished second behind My Lord and Master. He was then tucked away for winter until last month as he made his seasonal reappearance at Newbury in what proved to be a comfortable victory for Haggas’ runner.
Young Rascal was well backed on his latest start in the Group Three Chester Vase at May meeting and that strong market support was justified as, despite not getting a clear run in the home straight, he found a path in the end and got up to score by half-a-length ahead of Dee Ex Bee and Hunting Horn respectively.
Haggas’ Derby contender is one of only six horses who have won over the 1m4f trip for the British Classic. He is 12/1 to become the first horse to win the Chester Vase and then go on to prevail at Epsom since Ruler of the World in 2013.
Hazapour Set For Trip Across Irish Sea For Dermot Weld
The Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial has produced numerous Derby winners over the years and Dermot Weld will be hoping his horse Hazapour will be the latest to go on to land the biggest flat race of the season for three-year-olds in the UK.
The colt, who runs in the colours of Aga Khan, was ridden into the lead at Leopardstown by his jockey Declan McDonogh, where he stayed on strongly to suggest the Derby trip will be well within his reach.
Hazapour won just one of his three races as a two-year-old. He broke his maiden at Galway over 1m on soft ground. Ballydoyle’s Hunting Horn finished a length behind him on that occasion, which then led to Weld considering Group races for his horse.
The son of Shamardal had to settle for third place in the Eyrefield Stakes last October, however, a break over winter looks to have helped the horse who looked much bigger in the paddock before his victory at Leopardstown earlier this month.
The 2018 Derby takes place on June 2 in what will be the 239th annual running of the British Classic.