Investec Derby Festival news: Midterm facing race against time
David Metcalf | May 17, 2016
Dante disappointment Midterm hamstrung?
Lord Grimthorpe, racing manager for owner Khalid Abdullah, has revealed there was an excuse for one-time Derby favourite Midterm following his disappointing fifth in the Group 2 Dante Stakes at York when sent off the 5/4 favourite.
“The current situation, after speaking to [trainer] Sir Michael Stoute is that we have found Midterm was sore in a hamstring behind. It has been isolated to that and obviously that has to come right for him to run in the Derby on June 4th,” Grimthorpe said. “It is not insurmountable or else we would have pulled the plug already.
“At least it gives us some explanation of why he was so disappointing. We have to wait quite a few days and like everything we have got to be sure, so it will be a last-minute decision.
“Firstly, he has to be sound and secondly he has got to please – which is slightly difficult as he is not a great worker so it is hard to gauge on how he is going.
“If he is lucky, he will become sound and do enough work to please Michael it is worthwhile going to Epsom. We don’t want to throw the Derby out because it is such an important race. Equally so, if Midterm does not come right in time, we would go the King Edward VII Stakes route.
“It was a bit mystifying at York because we were very hopeful of a big run. It could have been a lot worse than a hamstring in the whole scale of things. We have to wait and see.”
Minding set to be shortest price Oaks favourite in decades
Minding looks set to start the shortest priced Investec Oaks favourite for decades, as her major market rival So Mi Dar will miss the race through injury.
Coral, the official betting partner of the Investec Derby Festival, now make Minding odds-on at 4/7 (from 5/4) to add the Epsom Classic to her 1000 Guineas victory.
So Mi Dar was a 5/2 chance on Tuesday night before the news broke that she would miss the Oaks, and Minding now looks certain to be the first odds-on favourite for the race since Reams Of Verse went off 5/6 when winning the 1997 renewal.
“This news is a bitter blow for ante post backers of So Mi Dar, but the best backed horse in the race ante post has been Minding, so her supporters will be sitting even prettier this morning knowing she will start at prohibitive odds in two weeks’ time,” said Coral Spokesman Simon Clare.
“It is a rarity indeed for the favourite for the Oaks to start odds-on, and Minding now looks certain to start one of the shortest priced favourites for the race in several decades.”
Postponed on target for Coronation Stakes
Trainer Roger Varian has confirmed that he is planning to run one of his stable stars, Postponed, in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Cup at Epsom on Derby day (Saturday, June 4th).
Newmarket trainer Varian said: “Postponed is on target for the Coronation Cup and is very well. He has been very happy since returning from Dubai and the Coronation Cup has always been the plan.
“We are going to take him to Epsom for Breakfast With The Stars (Tuesday, May 24th) to see how he gets on around the course.”
Postponed is now odds-on 4/5 favourite (from evens) for the Coronation Cup, following hefty support.
Wings Of Desire delighting Gosden
Trainer John Gosden is pleased with the progress of Dante winner Wings Of Desire, and believes he is a “proper” Derby horse who is ideally suited by the 1m 4f trip of the Epsom Classic, for which he is currently 4/1 second-favourite.
Regarding Wings Of Desire, Gosden said: “He worked very well the other day and that is when we decided to go for the Dante.
“Frankie Dettori did not hit the front too soon as Wings Of Desire is still a baby. He is a proper Derby horse – you just would have loved to get another run into him. He is a big, strong, strapping colt now and last year he wasn’t.
“Wings Of Desire is a lovely horse but is extraordinarily laid-back. He does not really bother about anything and his favourite habits are eating and sleeping.
“He looks great and has taken everything in his stride. Wings Of Desire is every inch a mile-and-a-half horse and it will be his best trip.
“I won’t bother bringing him back to a mile and a quarter. If things go well at Epsom, we will probably put him away for the King George.
Keep in touch with all the big race news and betting tips by visiting Coral’s horse racing section.