No Epsom worries for Abbey

Aidan O’Brien believes St Nicholas Abbey will be more than capable of handling the Epsom undulations in the Investec Derby.

Aidan O’Brien believes St Nicholas Abbey will be more than capable of handling the Epsom undulations in the Investec Derby.

Last year’s champion juvenile lost his unbeaten record in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket but those closest to him have kept the faith and he is still as short as 7-4 to win the Derby.

O’Brien believes there were genuine excuses for his Newmarket flop and expects him to improve a great deal with that experience under his belt.

“He’s in good form and everything has gone so far so good really,” said O’Brien.

“Obviously we are still looking at Epsom.

“It was his first run of the year at Newmarket, he jumped out and was a little bit fresh with Johnny (Murtagh). Frankie’s horse (Al Zir) just gave him a bump and just got him going a little bit earlier than he wanted to.

“Maybe he went into top gear a little bit early and when the race started in earnest, he never had a chance to get relaxed and his race was over then really.

“In an ideal world we would have preferred a better pace which would have helped him get into a nice rhythm, but it wasn’t to be on the day.

“All the horses that ran at that time of year have been coming on a lot for the run and we’re hoping they’ll all come forward a good deal.

“He’s always looked a very well balanced horse and he’s a horse that can travel at speed so we never thought the track would be a problem.”

O’Brien also has the winners of the Dante Stakes and Derrinstown Derby Trial, traditionally the two best pointers to Epsom, to consider.

“Cape Blanco is in good form. He’s been cantering since York and Midas Touch has been in good form since Leopardstown,” he told At The Races.

“They are both back in full work but we are just taking it day by day and we’ll just see how their work goes but we are happy with both.”

Godolphin are looking to Rewilding to head up their derby team following his emphatic victory at Goodwood on Wednesday.

The former Andre Fabre-trained colt is to be supplemented and connections believe Rewilding, now with Mahmood Al Zarooni, has the right credentials.

“I was very impressed. I think he handled the undulations extremely well and won really easily and could have won by further,” said Godolphin’s racing manager Simon Crisford.

“I think the opposition may not have been the strongest in the world, but he could not have been more impressive and he will go to Epsom with every chance.

“Frankie (Dettori) thinks the horse stays really well and he is bred to stay a mile and a half extremely well.

“He comes from a superb family that includes Dar Re Mi and a host of other winners. He’s by Tiger Hill and is guaranteed to get the trip. That’s a massive tick in the box.

“We all think he won really well and Mahmood was extremely delighted with him. Everybody in the team was really happy.

“There’s a lot to like about this horse. He’s absolutely bomb proof as far as temperament goes.

“Until he’s been tested against the very best three-year-olds, it’s impossible to predict whether he’s going to quite good enough or have enough class to win a Derby. But right now he’s a fast improver, he was bred to do the job and physically he looks fantastic.

“He’s got a great temperament and judged on yesterday’s run, you couldn’t quibble with his class. Maybe he needs to improve a few more pounds but he is improving.

“I think he is our first string at the moment after yesterday’s performance.”

Crisford confirmed there were several other Godolphin horses left in at the latest forfeit stage.

“We are definitely leaving in Al Zir and Ameer who finished a close second to Coordinated Cut at Newmarket, so there will be others left in,” he went on.

“It depends on the ground and the weather closer to the time. Chabal needs soft ground. We saw that at York (in the Dante) and he’s only run ordinary races when he’s ever run on ground faster than good.

“He’s quite a clever horse and wasn’t going to run on that ground at York the other day. He’s been A1 since the race and that wasn’t his running.”

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