Dettori voices Derby delight over English King booking

Walker colt ‘ticks every box’ for Epsom Classic.

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Frankie Dettori has spoken of his delight at picking up the Investec Derby mount on favourite English King.

The Italian will replace 22-year-old Tom Marquand on Ed Walker’s Lingfield Derby Trial winner, owned by Bjorn Nielsen.

Dettori and Nielsen have linked up successfully down the years, most notably with current staying star Stradivarius.

“I’m going to go and ride him this week,” Dettori told Sky Sports Racing.

“I can only go on what I’ve seen – but he was impressive at Newcastle last year, and very impressive at Lingfield.

“He’s interesting. On the plus side, he went round Lingfield like it was a flat track. You would think Epsom is quite similar, so that is a big tick in the box. Anthony Van Dyck won the race last year, and Anapurna won the Oaks trial.

“I’ve had some good success for Bjorn Nielsen with Stradivarius. He approached me when he realised John (Gosden) didn’t have anything for the Derby.

“He had a quiet word in my ear to see if I would accept the ride, and I said I was all over it. He looks a good horse from what I’ve seen, so it would be my pleasure.

“I spoke to Ed Walker. He’s pleased with the horse; I’ll ride him this week – so off we go.”

Many on social media voiced disapproval at the decision to replace Marquand. But Dettori, who has won the Classic twice on Authorized and Golden Horn, feels Marquand will have plenty of other opportunities.

“It (losing big rides) happened a lot to me when I was young. Tom is 22 – I’m sure he’ll have plenty of other chances in his career, but I was just delighted to get the ride,” said Dettori.

“I rode Camelot (English King’s sire) in the Arc – he won the Derby and he seems to be a good stallion.”

In this unusual season the most valuable of the traditional Derby trials, the Dante at York, will take place after the blue riband – and Dettori feels 2000 Guineas winner Kameko is his biggest danger.

He added: “At the moment mine ticks every box – he’s won over the distance, he’s handled Lingfield, he’s won his trial – and while we’ve got to respect the Guineas winner, he’s got another four furlongs to go.

“This year we haven’t had the Dante obviously. Classic form is always the strongest ,and Kameko hit the line strong. He’s the one who brings class to the party, and the one I fear the most.”

Dettori voices Derby delight over English King booking
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