Dante winner Roaring Lion is on course for the Investec Derby at Epsom on Saturday week, trainer John Gosden has announced.
The son of Kitten’s Joy bounced back from a fifth place in the 2000 Guineas when strolling home by four and a half lengths in York’s Derby trial last week.
Gosden initially indicated the French Derby may be an alternative option, but owners Qatar Racing are eager to go for the Epsom event and the trainer is happy to comply.
Speaking at Epsom’s Breakfast With The Stars event on Tuesday morning, Gosden said: “I just like to see how horses are after a race before making grandiose plans.
“We were pleased with the horse (after the Dante), he ate up.
“He’s in splendid form and the owner is very keen that he goes for the Derby, so that is where he is going and I that’s the right call.”
Fellow Derby hope Young Rascal was one of two horses to work at Epsom on Tuesday morning, enjoying a spin around the track under big-race jockey James Doyle.
Winner of the Chester Vase last time out, Young Rascal pleased trainer William Haggas as he worked with stablemate Original Choice around the famous Epsom bend.
Haggas said: “They barely went a half-speed coming down the hill and quickened up the last two and a half furlongs.
“I was very happy with him, but what anyone else can read into it, I don’t know.
“I wanted the horse to come and have a look at the place. We had a walk around the paddock, it’s beautiful ground so we had an opportunity to get him on the grass.
“This was a great opportunity to get him here, for James to get a feel of the contours and get the horse to have a feel of the contours. From that point of view, I was delighted.”
Charlie Appleby has plenty of faith in his Derby hope Masar following his third place behind Saxon Warrior in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket at the start of the month.
He said: “I’ve always been a strong believer that the Guineas is the best trial for the Derby, both the 1000 and the 2000, and from what I’ve seen to date, they do look the best trials.
“Masar travels very well throughout his races. I’m very confident that once he gets in behind horses he will switch off, so that will be William’s (Buick) job on the day, to get him to relax and get him to come home strong.
“I’m confident he will be able to do that.”
Harry Dunlop’s Knight To Behold was impressive in the Lingfield Derby Trial and the trainer is hoping to join his father, John and brother, Ed, as a Classic winner.
“The horse is in good form, we’re very pleased with him. I’ve been here before with my father’s horse, Let The Lion Roar, who was from the same family, and he was third so it would be great to go a little bit better for the owner,” said Dunlop.
“I know he’s 16-1 but he’s got every right to be here. Obviously the Guineas winner is very good, but there are many things in the race that can go wrong.”