Investec Derby Festival 2016: Desire delights Gosden, Moore likely to partner Ranger
David Metcalf | May 24, 2016
Coral’s Investec Derby Festival 2016
Epsom held it’s annual “Breakfast With The Stars” on Tuesday morning ahead of next week’s Investec Derby Festival, with leading contenders for the feature classic contest Cloth Of Stars and Wings Of Desire having a workout on the unique undulating track.
Here’s all the news from connections involved in the Derby on Saturday, June 4th, plus latest odds from Coral – official betting partner of the Investec Derby Festival…
Gosden and Dettori delighted with Wings Of Desire
Wings Of Desire, 7/2 favourite for the Derby with Coral, thrilled connections in a workout at Epsom on Tuesday morning.
The colt burst into the Derby scene when winning the Group 2 Dante Stakes at York on just his third start, having only made his racecourse debut at Newmarket four weeks earlier.
He is bidding to follow in the footsteps of Golden Horn, who won the Dante for John Gosden last year before running out the impressive winner of the Derby.
Gosden stated: “Frankie was very happy with the horse. He hadn’t started any form of action until March and I am thrilled with how he has come on mentally.
“Frankie loved the way he came down the hill. He changed his legs down the straight and picked up when he wanted to.
“He has learnt a lot. He has got a cool mind on him and I like the way he was business-like.”
French hope Cloth Of Stars pleases in workout
Cloth Of Stars, trained in France by Andre Fabre, worked over 1m 2f at Epsom alongside stablemate Foresee and pleased jockey Mickael Barzalona.
Barzalona, teamed up with Fabre to win the 2011 Derby with Pour Moi, and Cloth Of Stars is currently 8/1 to provide them with another success in the world famous race following his impressive 2 1/2 lengths success in the Group 2 Prix Greffulhe at Saint-Cloud when last seen in action.
The leading French jockey said: “The horse handled the track very well. He only did some easy work, but I was very pleased with the work.
“I think it was very important for the horse to come and have a look round as most of the tracks in France are really flat.
“He is very well-balanced. He always travels a little bit keenly. As you saw, he travelled keenly but he never had a bad action.
“He proved in France he is the best three-year-old over a mile and a quarter. I am sure he will stay a mile and a half. He is very fast out of the gates, which is a big help to get a good position early.”
Stoute bullish about the chances of Ulysses
Newmarket handler Sir Michael Stoute received a blow when Midterm was ruled out of the Derby through injury, but has two interesting contenders in Ulysses and Across the Stars and seems particularly sweet on the chances of the former.
The colt has only had three starts, and opened his account with a runaway eight length success in a Newbury maiden last Wednesday.
Although the Derby represents a huge step up in class, Stoute sent out Kris Krin who had a similar profile to win the race in 2003.
Stoute said: “I’ve always loved him. He ran with a lot of promise in a Newbury maiden as a two-year-old then he had a hiccup in January. We didn’t have him fully fit at Leicester (second on seasonal reappearance) but we needed to get moving.
“I’ve been really pleased since then and he could have not have done better than he did at Newbury. I am happy with his preparation at the moment.
“He is a beautifully-balanced, good-actioned horse and I think he should handle Epsom well. Of the two, Ulysses is just more mature and ready for it at this stage and I certainly would be hopeful of his chance.”
Ulysses is 9/1 for the Derby. Across The Stars, who finished an unlucky second in the Derby Trial at Lingfield, is a 33/1 chance.
Ryan Moore likely to partner US Army Ranger
Top Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien has several strong contenders headed by US Army Ranger, who is likely to be partnered by Ryan Moore and 4/1 with Coral to provide the Ballydoyle handler with his sixth winner of the Derby.
The colt impressed when scoring on debut over 1m 2f at the Curragh, before scrambling home by a short-head from stablemate Port Douglas in the Chester Vase.
O’Brien daid: “We are very happy with him. We were happy with him at Chester. He has been working on the grass since his last run. He did a piece of work this morning and everything went well with it.”
He added: “Ryan Moore has information about them all and he will make the decision who to ride. I am sure there is a good chance he will ride him, but I am not saying for definite that he will.”
Bolger wouldn’t swap Moonlight Magic for anything
Irish trainer Jim Bolger, who won the Derby in 2008 with New Approach, is convinced Moonlight Magic is the real deal and has the perfect profile for the race.
The Godolphin-owned colt impressed when winning the Group 3v Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial at Leopardstown by 1 1/4 lengths, and is currently a 10/1 chance with Coral.
Bolger said: “I rate him as a good Derby prospect and I would not swap him for anything else in the race.
“He has the looks, the demeanour, the balance and temperament to go with his pedigree. He is a beautifully-balanced horse so he should handle Epsom well.
“I could not be any happier than I am with him at the moment. He is very straightforward and is a lovely horse to work with. There are no holes in this fellow.”