Epsom’s big double is in Gosden’s sights
It is the daddy of all races, but for Newmarket trainers, this year’s Derby is all about one father in particular — Frankel.
Cracksman is favourite to take the second, and most lucrative Classic of the year, while Eminent — who finished a disappointing sixth at the Guineas — is third favourite.
Both are sons of the legendary Frankel, who famously won the 2,000 Guineas by six lengths in 2011.
Cracksman, trained by John Gosden and ridden by Frankie Dettori, has emerged as the overall favourite of the race worth £1.625m, with Aidan O’Brien’s Cliffs Of Moher a close second.
Gosden said the Derby trip should suit Cracksman, who was added to the field in April as a supplementary entry.
“I think the mile-and-a-half will be right up his alley and we didn’t supplement him for fun,” he said.
“He goes there a fit, happy horse — a touch light on experience, but he is not the only one.”
And in the Epsom Oaks, for three-year-old fillies, Gosden will launch a twin-pronged attack as he seeks to halt O’Brien’s domination of the British and Irish Classics.
The Newmarket-based trainer, who won the Oaks in 2014 with Taghrooda, will be represented by Enable and Coronet in the £500,000 feature.
Enable was a fluent winner of the Arkle Finance Cheshire Oaks on May 10, while Coronet was an eye-catching third to Sobetsu on her return in the Group One Coolmore-sponsored Prix Saint-Alary at Deauville four days later.
Among those standing in their way will be the O’Brien-trained Rhododendron, a short-priced favourite after finishing runner-up to Winter in the QIPCO 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket.
She will be joined in a final field of ten by stablemates Alluringly and Pocketfullofdreams.
O’Brien trained 10 winners of QIPCO British Champions Series races last year and has already scooped the English and Irish versions of the 1,000 Guineas and 2,000 Guineas this season.
“We’ve got to take him on and make it as competitive as we can,” Gosden said. “The last thing Aidan wants is a walkover — he likes his horses competing at the top level.
“Enable breezed on Monday morning and Coronet did so the day before. We are happy with both of them.”
“Enable’s been looking to run over a mile-and-a-half. She’s very much that type of filly and the trip will suit her very well.”
“It’s a quality Oaks with some very nice fillies in there,” he said.