HAS any horse run a better trial for the Betfred Derby this season than Dubai Mile? I don’t think so.
For many people it was Generous who led people to believe a running-on effort in the 2,000 Guineas signalled a live one in the Derby.
Generous, trained by Paul Cole, finished fourth of 14 in the 1991 Guineas.
He’d already landed a Group 1 success as a juvenile in the Dewhurst, albeit a shock one at 50-1.
After Newmarket Generous went on to prove himself a star, scoring at Epsom before taking the Irish Derby and King George at Ascot.
Australia was another who showed enough speed for the Guineas before taking the Derby.
In 2014 he was third at HQ to Night Of Thunder and Kingman before taking the ultimate prize over a mile and a half.
Sea the Stars and Camelot did, of course, take both.
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Dubai Mile has the chance to allow a dream to come true on June 3.
Quite simply, there is no owner on the planet that craves Derby success more than Dubai Mile’s chief Ahmad al Shaikh.
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The Dubai businessman lives and breathes the Derby. He buys horses with staying pedigrees in the hope they might be Epsom types.
And he’s gone close in the past.
Ahmad’s Khalifa Sat, out of a mare by Tenby, himself a Derby runner although disappointing behind Quest For Fame, chased home Serpentine at 50-1 in 2020.
And Hoo Ya Mal, now in Australia, was in the same position as he followed Desert Crown home in 2022 when a 150-1 chance.
Dubai Mile has better form than any of Ahmad’s former runners.
The son of Roaring Lion is a Group 1 victor, having beaten this week’s Chester winner Arrest in the Group 1 Criterium de Saint-Cloud in October.
The Charlie Johnston-trained inmate, who has proved a surprise package, then kept on takingly in fifth in the 2,000 Guineas landed by Chaldean.
Odds of 16-1 seem well, to be quite honest, ‘generous’.
We’ve had Derby possibles in action this week at Chester, but there is no doubt today’s Fitzdares Lingfield Derby Trial and the Dante will place significant pieces — positive or not — in the Classic puzzle.
Lingfield’s card is on the all-weather, which makes things tough to equate, but Godolphin unleash Military Order, nominated by Charlie Appleby to me on ITV as one of the team’s major Epsom contenders and currently 7-1 third favourite behind Auguste Rodin at 5-1.
RAVENS ARK (1.30 Ascot) won’t mind the biblical conditions of late and Hughie Morrison has his string in flying form. He looks a cracking each-way bet in this wide-open handicap.
By Frankel out of a Dubawi mare, Military Order is bred to go a bit and his brother is none other than Adayar, the Derby winner of 2021.
He kept on well to win at Newmarket at the end of last season and returned in a novice at Newbury, making all over a mile and a quarter to score with ease.
He has no experience of the polytrack, but it should not be a bother to him.
I suspect today’s Lingfield contest will throw up bundles of winners, and another fascinating contender is Circle Of Fire, second to Godolphin animal Castle Way in the Listed Newmarket Stakes.
John & Thady Gosden rely on Inquiring Minds, odds-on when hacking up at Newcastle on debut, while William Haggas’s Laafi struck at Nottingham.
It’s hard to get as excited about the Fitzdares Oaks Trial, where Bright Diamond has the best form but Eternal Hope might be the one to keep an eye on.
Another for Appleby, Eternal Hope landed a tidy success at Chelmsford.
The Oaks betting is dominated by Savethelastdance after her blitzing in Wednesday’s Cheshire Oaks.
Having looked in season in the paddock, Aidan O’Brien’s daughter of Galileo powered to a 22-length victory despite being scrubbed along in the first furlong.
With the big 1,000 Guineas duo of Mawj and Tahiyra set to keep at a mile, there is not much strength in depth to the Oaks, even more so with plans for Pretty Polly romper Running Lion in the air.
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She might go to the Diane in France.
Dubai Mile is exciting, as is Military Order. It’s the pecking order for the Derby that’s on the line.
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