John Gosden concerned as ground at Epsom continues to quicken

John Gosden would be “concerned” for Jack Hobbs if the ground at Epsom continues to quicken in the build-up to the Investec Derby on Saturday.

John Gosden concerned as ground at Epsom continues to quicken

The Clarehaven handler will walk the track on Saturday morning to assess whether the colt should be risked if the forecast thundery showers fail to materialise.

Whereas stablemate and ante-post favourite Golden Horn would not be knocked off his stride on a brisk surface, Gosden would ideally like a little ease in the ground for Jack Hobbs, who will run for the first time in Godolphin’s blue silks.


The Clarehaven handler told “The race is at 4.30pm, and if it is sunny and breezy I would be concerned. I will walk the track beforehand.

“Godolphin and the other partners are aware that I will be doing that.

“Jack Hobbs is a grand, scopey, rangy individual, who should improve with age. The Derby comes soon enough for him.

“He is a talented individual, who I hope will be racing at four and five.

“I think he learnt a lot at Epsom at Breakfast With The Stars and I was very happy with his work at the weekend.”

Andrew Balding is in a similar position with Elm Park, who missed the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket earlier in the season because the ground was too fast.

The Kingsclere handler said: “It sounds like they (thunderstorms) are going to be localised so let’s hope we’re lucky and that some of them hit Epsom.

“He’ll run, but I’d obviously be a little bit more apprehensive running him (on fast ground).

“I’m sure it will be safe ground. There’s not a lot I can do. It’s just que sera sera. I’m sure whatever happens he’ll run a decent race.”

The official going at Epsom on Thursday evening was good.

Zawraq was the significant omission from Monday’s Derby confirmation stage after 12 horses were declared.

Dermot Weld’s colt failed to prove his fitness after suffering a setback earlier in the week.

Angus Gold, racing manager for owner Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, said: “It’s bad news.

“He did a bit of work this morning and moved beautifully under Pat Smullen, but by the time he got back to the yard he was definitely not right again.

“It’s very bad timing.”

Ireland still has a strong hand after Aidan O’Brien declared Giovanni Canaletto (Ryan Moore), Hans Holbein (Seamie Heffernan) and Kilimanjaro (Joseph O’Brien).

Rank outsider Carbon Dating and Success Days also make the journey across the Irish Sea.

The latter has slightly slipped under the radar for the Classic, despite having won two of Ireland’s big spring Derby trials for trainer Ken Condon.

Jockey Shane Foley feels his partner is made of the right stuff to handle Epsom.

He said: “His temperament is very good. He’s a very laid-back horse and only does what he has to. “He seems to jump and travel in his races.

“We all know he’s been running on different ground. He’s very good on slow ground, but he has won on good ground, so we’re very hopeful.

“I think the trip will be no bother to him. I’ve made plenty of use of him over 10 furlongs. He’ll be able to jump and hold a position and hopefully be there if he’s good enough a furlong out.”


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