WITH Churchill now looking likely to remain at 1m for the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot next month, Cliffs Of Moher is set to be Irish Champion Trainer Aidan O’Brien’s best chance in the Derby at Epsom this year.
Source: Chester Racecourse via Twitter
The son of Galileo won the Dee Stakes at Chester’s May meeting earlier this month when he justified his odds-on favourite price tag to prevail by a-length-and-a-half ahead of the Charlie Appleby-trained Bay of Poets. With Ryan Moore in the saddle, the pair handled the track well and took control of the race inside the final furlong.
O’Brien’s Derby hopeful made his debut at the back end of last season as he was a late developer in the Ballydoyle yard. He failed to impress on his opening racecourse appearance at Cork as he could only come home fifth in a maiden over 7f. Just a couple of weeks later, though, the two-year-old colt showed his true potential as he scored by five lengths at Leopardstown, beating his stablemate Orderofthegarter.
Moore is expected to retain the ride on Cliffs of Moher at Epsom. The former Champion Jockey won the Derby in 2010 on Workforce and on Ruler of the World in 2013. He was second last year with US Army Ranger, who chased home Harzand in the Group One contest.
As Cliffs Of Moher is the 4/1 joint-favourite for the 2017 Derby, as noted on The Winners Enclosure racing odds page, punters may look to enhance their return by opening a new account and securing a 100% deposit bonus ahead of the race next month.
Cracksman campaign hampered by ground
Cracksman is the leading threat to Cliffs Of Moher’s chances at Epsom, according to the betting. The John Gosden-trained horse missed his trial for the Derby at York in the Dante Stakes due to the ground being soft as a result of the downpour of rain the Yorkshire track absorbed during the meeting earlier this month.
Britain's leading Derby hope Cracksman is due to work at Epsom this morning at Breakfast With The Stars pic.twitter.com/CkdgJSH7Tf— Racing Post (@RacingPost) May 23, 2017
Source: Racing Post via Twitter
It now means the Derby Trial winner will not have a run now before the most prestigious English Classic. The horse is looking to emulate Golden Horn, who prevailed in the race two years ago in the same silks for Gosden and Frankie Dettori.
Cracksman will be making just his third run of his career at Epsom. He made his debut at Newmarket at the latter stage of the 2016 campaign, where he won his maiden in an impressive opening run. The son of Frankel then made his reappearance at the Derby track, where he took a keen hold early on in the contest. Once Dettori got him settled, he tracked the leaders and took the lead inside the final furlong where he beat Permian by a short head. The runner-up then went on to boost the form with victory in the Dante Stakes last month, albeit on much different ground than the pair encountered at the Surrey track.
Eminent expected to improve at Derby trip
Eminent has been tipped as a strong Derby contender ever since his victory in the Craven Stakes at Newmarket earlier this season. He got up late in that race and looked full of running, crossing the line where jockey Jim Crowley had a job on his hands pulling his horse after the race.
Connections took their chance in the 2000 Guineas; however, he just got outpaced by his three-year-old rivals in the fast-paced Classic won by Churchill. He is likely to appreciate cover early into the contest at Epsom, where Crowley will be hoping his horse can then find his best stride inside the final three furlongs on the Downs.
Source: Josh Pearson via Twitter
Eminent can be backed at 7/1 to give his trainer Martyn Meade his first Derby success. If the colt does come out on top he will be the first Frankel prodigy to prevail in a Classic. The former 2000 Guineas winner has made a good start to his early breeding career as he has already had multiple Group One winners in 2016 and 2017.
This year’s Derby is expected to be run on good ground with a dry weather forecast from now until the meeting begins next month with the Oaks for the fillies.