Carlton’s odds lengthen after injury scare

SEVERAL bookmakers have lengthened Carlton House’s odds to claim Investec Derby glory on Saturday after Queen Elizabeth’s colt suffered a minor injury scare ahead of the Epsom Classic.

Paddy Power briefly closed their market, but now make Carlton House 15-8 and are offering a non-runner no bet concession. Totesport shunted Carlton House out to 13-8 while Ladbrokes were as short as 5-4.

However, connections of Carlton House remain “extremely hopeful” he will make Saturday’s race.

In a statement, Queen Elizabeth’s racing manager, John Warren, said: “Following a routine canter yesterday, Carlton House was found to have a small amount of filling in his near-fore joint at evening stables last night.”

Carlton House worked over six furlongs on Sunday and also had a routine canter on Monday, after which the problem was discovered.

Stoute’s colt underwent X-rays yesterday, but no serious damage was revealed.

It is thought the injury is no more than a small strain, with Carlton House poised to continue steady work for the remainder of the week.

Warren added: “Luckily, his important work is now out of the way. It would only be routine cantering that would be left to be undertaken for the remainder of the week.

“It could be the equivalent of a footballer straining his ankle.

“It was not evident in his cantering yesterday that he actually took a false step or anything, and the horse is sound this morning.

“It was a little bit sore and they will be icing, hosing and wrapping to try and keep the joint well looked after.

“We are still extremely hopeful but it will be a day-by-day thing.

“In the morning a little bit more information will come to the surface.”

Ed Dunlop, meanwhile, put some final touches to the preparation of his Derby challenger Native Khan yesterday morning.

The Newmarket trainer was involved in a merry-go-round of jockeys on Monday when Kieren Fallon, the grey’s intended partner at Epsom, chose Aidan O’Brien’s Recital.

After finding out Oliver Peslier, who steered Native Khan to third in the 2000 Guineas, was also unavailable, Dunlop instead chose to put him in the experienced hands of Johnny Murtagh.

“Johnny only found out he had the ride at six o’clock last night, so Native Khan did a piece of work this morning with one of the usual work-riders, and it went very well,” said Dunlop, who did not disclose whether the Irishman would have a sit on the colt before Saturday afternoon.

“We are delighted to have Johnny on our side. He has already won the race on Sinndar, High Chaparral and Motivator, and he is a world-class jockey with a fantastic record around Epsom.

“He finished third on Ouija Board in the 2004 Arc, so we know him well, and I am sure that he will do a great job for us.

Murtagh is delighted to take the ride and has thanked his retainer, the Aga Khan, for allowing him to make the journey to Epsom.

Murtagh said: “I’m delighted to be in a position to accept the rides on Native Khan in the Derby and Dancing Rain in the Oaks.

“I’d like to thank his Highness (the Aga Khan) and John Oxx for giving me permission to ride in those races.”

Meanwhile, Jimmy George can hardly believe he will be returning to Epsom with another Classic contender on Friday as Siren’s Song goes for glory in the Investec Oaks.

The Tattersalls marketing director had the excitement of having a share in leading Derby hope Curtain Call in 2008, although he disappointed in finishing 10th.

The Jessica Harrington-trained Siren’s Song impressed when winning a Listed race at Navan in April, but George admits Friday’s race is a huge jump in class. “It’s obviously very exciting and I probably don’t deserve to be involved with another Classic contender quite so quickly after the last one,” said George.

“Siren’s Song is a nice filly who won very well in a Listed race at Navan.

“This is a big step up for her, but Jessica has always held her in high regard and wouldn’t be bringing her over unless she thought she had a chance.

“She hasn’t run since April and we could have run her in one of the more recognised Oaks trials, but she only came into training in January and had two runs quite quickly.

“Jessica was happy to bring her over off the back of a couple of runs.

“She didn’t run as a two-year-old as she was quite backward, but she has obviously come on leaps and bounds since then.

“It will be a different experience for her running at Epsom on Oaks day to running at Navan, but Oaks day is not quite as manic as Derby day and is perhaps not as demanding on a horse.

“Jessica thinks she will handle it all fine and it’s going to be an exciting few days.”

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