Carlton gets all-clear for Derby

CARLTON House is firmly on course to take his place in this afternoon’s Investec Derby at Epsom after recovering from the injury scare that had threatened his participation.

Connections of the colt issued an upbeat bulletin for the second day running after the three-year-old showed no ill-effects following an easy canter in Newmarket yesterday morning.

Carlton House has been the long-time favourite for the premier Classic, but doubts over his participation arose after he developed swelling in his near-fore leg. The Dante Stakes winner suffered the setback following a work-out on Monday.

However, the doubts now appear to have been laid to rest and the colt is set to take his chance.

“It has not been one of the easiest weeks for the team at Freemason, Sir Michael and his amazing crew,” racing advisor John Warren told BBC Sport.

“But I think all is on track now, it’s very positive.

“It started off with that small filling in the joint, which X-rayed nice and clean, and now everyone is really happy.

“He’s done a nice couple of canters and a bit of light work.

“I think now the emphasis has moved away from the issue and into the excitement of the event.”

Warren explained how Carlton House developed into a serious contender for the world’s most famous Classic.

“It is hugely exciting. Her real passion and pleasure is the development and breeding of the stock – she has a routine every spring, looking at the foals and the development of the yearlings,” he went on.

“The horse was going to run in the Sandown Derby trial and Sir Michael wanted to get two runs into him before the Derby.

“At the five-day stage, the trainer rang me and said ’I am going to pull the horse out of the race and do it properly by going straight to the Dante’.

“That is when I thought he was actually training the horse to win the Derby. That was quite an exciting turning point.

“The Queen came to see the horse two weeks before the Dante and again there were still a few angles that Carlton House had not quite filled but in the paddock on the day of the Dante I was really thrilled with the horse and I thought he had really come on a lot.

“If he is a good horse, you want him to beat good horses – one wants him to be the genuine McCoy, not a horse who happened to win the Derby because it was a weak race that year.”

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