Frankie Dettori believes Rewilding has the right credentials to be a major player in Saturday’s Investec Derby at Epsom.
The popular Italian jockey broke his Derby duck on Authorized in 2007 and admits he would dearly love to win the premier Classic in the Godolphin blue for his boss Sheikh Mohammed.
Rewilding only joined rookie trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni from Andre Fabre’s French stable after finishing second in the Group Two Prix Noailles at Longchamp in April.
He then burst onto the Derby scene with an emphatic victory at Goodwood last month.
No winner of the Goodwood trial has gone on to win the Derby since Troy in 1979, but the Rewilding team feel the Tiger Hill colt has plenty going for him.
“I’m delighted to be riding him. Andre (Fabre) thought a lot of him,” said Dettori.
“One thing is for sure, he stays and he’s very laid-back so he’s a nice horse to have for Epsom.
“The big question is, is he good enough?
“We won’t find out until the day, but I’m delighted to be on him and I’m looking forward to it.
“One thing I’d love to do is win the race for my boss.”
Al Zarooni is pinching himself at having a serious chance of winning the Derby at the first attempt.
“I’m very excited about having my first runner in the Derby, it is the race everyone wants to win so for me to have a runner in my first year as a trainer is fantastic,” he said.
“I think this horse has a lot going for him, he’s relaxed, he’s focused and he’s a professional.
“It’s the Derby so you can’t be confident, but I’ll be trying my best and we just need luck.”
Godolphin’s racing manager Simon Crisford describes Rewilding as “bomb-proof”.
“He has a great temperament, is bomb-proof and stays a mile and a half and has plenty of class,” he said.
“Whether he has enough class to win the Derby, we’ll find out on the day, but he took Goodwood very well and handled the undulations.”
Al Zarooni also saddles French 2000 Guineas fourth Buzzword while Godolphin also have a sound third representative in the Saeed bin Suroor-trained Al Zir, the mount of Kieren Fallon.
“Al Zir was disappointing in the 2000 Guineas and we thought he had a great chance. Frankie felt the slow pace did not help, and he couldn’t get into a rhythm,” said Crisford.
“He ran OK but it wasn’t what he had hoped for. He definitely wants a longer trip, and it’s possible a mile and a half will be too far for him.
“A mile and a quarter is probably his optimum trip, but the Guineas was too short for him.”
Michael Stoute has won the Derby four times but the Newmarket trainer is concerned a lack of races might count against his runner Workforce.
However, the Prince Khalid Abdullah-owned colt has plenty of supporters and is second favourite after running a fine trial in the Dante Stakes when second to Cape Blanco.
“He’s a bit short of experience and is workmanlike at home,” said Stoute.
“I’m sorry that we’ve not managed to give him two races before the Derby as that was the plan, but he was slow to come to himself and is a big horse.”
Coordinated Cut was three-quarters of a length behind Workforce in third place at York but his trainer Michael Bell is hoping a change of tactics will help his runner.
“I’m hopeful that the change of tactics and the fact he’s stripping a little bit fitter will see him get the trip,” he said.
“He set sail for home early in the straight at York and I don’t think that suited him. He’s much better with a target.
“He showed when he won at Newmarket that he’s better with something to aim at. Hopefully we learnt something that day at York. We’ll put that experience to good use and we won’t be setting sail for home too early at Epsom.
“I think he’s right in the mix, he’s a gorgeous-looking horse and he has earned his place in the paddock in any Derby and let’s hope he can run up to his very best.”