Little light was shed on the picture for the Investec Derby as Viren’s Army won a three-way battle for the Betdaq Dee Stakes at Chester yesterday.
The Richard Hannon-trained colt, who is not entered in the premier Classic, put up a determined effort to beat the strong-finishing Linguistic by a short head in the hands of Silvestre de Sousa, with Aidan O’Brien’s Housesofparliament another head away in third.
Hannon said of his 12-1 winner, who runs in the colours of Middleham Park Racing: “I am very pleased with him as it showed he obviously needed his first run (third to So Mi Dar at Epsom).
“For me all the way throughout the race he looked like he was travelling the best. He looks like he is a very tough horse and he has improved a lot over the winter. It looked like he would stay further as well.
“I think if he hadn’t needed his race first time out at Epsom he would have gone even closer.
“As regards to the Derby we will sleep on it and think about it, as obviously it is a nice thought. It is, though, a race that comes quite early and there are horses in there that you don’t know much about.
“While you can get drawn into thinking it might not be a good Derby, at the end of the day it is the Derby and it is always a good race.
“There are lots of options for him, which is a nice place to be in, but I think the Tercentenary at Royal Ascot might be the right race for him, although there is also the Gallinule Stakes in Ireland.”
William Buick was suspended for four days (May 20-23) for using his whip above the permitted level on Linguistic.
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