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to be Epsom King
the Dosage system to identify Gypsy King as possessing the ideal stamina profile
for the Derby at the beginning of the season and to predict that both
Footstepsinthesand and Oratorio would turn over the short-priced Guineas
favourite at Newmarket, the system is clearly paying its way. Now
it’s time to focus the rigours of the system on Flat racing’s blue riband.
The accompanying table shows the fifteen colts left in at the five-day confirmation stage and as usual is arranged with those showing the most stamina potential at the top and the least at the bottom ranked in order of the Dosage index.
2005 Derby – Five-day acceptors
the unbeaten Michael Bell-trained Montjeu colt, bypassed the Guineas for the
Dante Stakes where he proved too strong for his rivals. Winner of the Group 1
Racing Post Trophy last term, Motivator appears to be a colt of real ability and
will continue to prove effective at distances beyond a mile this season. How far
beyond a mile is the question. He certainly has chances of getting 12 furlongs
but could be stretched at the trip. His ideal distance could be around 10
furlongs, which would make him vulnerable to one of those higher in the table
with more stamina aptitude. Nevertheless, he has a high cruising speed and a
change of gears, which won’t make it easy for him to be overcome.
Geezer split Motivator and Falstaff in the Dante and David Elsworth’s charge
looks decent. He can be expected to acquit himself well in the Derby, although
it would be disappointing if he were to prove quite good enough to win it on
what we have seen so far.
Clive Brittain-trained Halling colt Hattan showed mediocre form in his only
appearance at two and did nothing to enhance his reputation on his reappearance
at Newmarket this season, but subsequently managed to finish third at odds of
50/1 behind Fracas in the Betfred Classic Trial at Sandown before scoring in the
Chester Vase. Despite showing a tendency to hang left in his most recent
appearance he won the Vase by half-a-length from the Aidan O’Brien-trained
Almighty. Hattan’s trainer expects him to improve again and he will have to.
Almighty appears to be down the pecking order of the Ballydoyle quartet.
Brian Meehan-trained First Row, a comfortable soft-ground winner of his maiden
at Leicester at a mile and a half, finished a close third behind Hattan and
Almighty in the Chester Vase. The Daylami colt, out of a Sadler’s Wells mare,
is marked out for middle distances according to the Dosage and is also proven at
the trip. He would need to show improved form to take a hand here however.
unbeaten In The Wings colt Fracas, trained by David Wachman, won his maiden in
Ireland convincingly in early April before winning two Derby trials at Sandown
and Leopardstown – getting the better of Alayan, Grand Central, Merger and
Hattan in the process. The colt has an unusually high level of prepotent
influences in his pedigree – for both stamina and speed – with no less than
56 points in his profile. Although not winning by far he has shaken off his
opponents in determined fashion and looks liable to muster a serious challenge.
With In The Wings – who has proved to be a greater influence for stamina than
his sire Sadler’s Wells – as his sire, the Derby trip shouldn’t be a
problem for Fracas in spite of the Brilliant prepotent speed influence of his
dam sire Habitat.
Gypsy King’s short head
win from I’m Spartacus in the Dee Stakes at Chester is likely to turn out to
be much better than the bare form suggests. The Sadler’s Wells colt was slowly
into his stride and jumped a path but under Kieren Fallon came wide to eat up
ground to retrieve the race from an unlikely looking position.
Stablemates Oratorio, Grand
Central and Almighty are also still in the mix at the five-day confirmation
stage and at the time of writing it seems that Fallon will opt for either Gypsy
King or Oratorio with Mick Kinane partnering the other. Riding plans for the
other two look uncertain, but Jimmy Fortune has been mentioned in connection
with Grand Central.
four-time winner Oratorio is a powerful contender and represents perhaps the
best balance of form, along with Dubawi, coming into the race finishing fourth
in the 2,000 Guineas to Footstepsinthesand and runner-up in both the Dewhurst
and the Irish Guineas to Shamardal and Dubawi respectively. He has very
plausible Dosage credentials with a Dosage index (DI) of 1.24 and a centre of
distribution (CD) of +0.11 (c.f. previous Derby winners below). I have always
believed this colt will improve at middle distances and if he lines up ought to
be capable of reversing Irish Guineas form with Dubawi.
Ballydoyle’s Grand Central finished behind
Fracas and the John Oxx-trained Alayan in the Group 2 Derrinstown
Stud Derby Trial at Leopardstown and was beaten by Alayan in a 2,000 Guineas
trial a month earlier on the same course.
is not in the Derby, being aimed instead at the French equivalent – now run at
10˝ furlongs – and Oxx’s other one Ehsan has been taken out at the five-day
Walk In The Park – like Motivator and Kings
Quay, sired by Montjeu – had to give best by a neck to the John Dunlop-trained
Kong in the Lingfield Derby trial. There is a lot to like about John Hammond’s
charge. Hammond of course also trained Montjeu, one of the great Flat performers
of the modern era and a highly promising stallion. It was a great disappointment
to many that Montjeu was not allowed to line up at Epsom, being left with the
consolations of Irish and French equivalents. Connections Michael Tabor and John
Hammond may want to redress that now.
you wouldn’t like about Walk In The Park is his inability to settle – he
fought for his head at Lingfield with Fallon keeping him under close restraint.
On the face of it he seems one to steer well clear of round Epsom of all places,
but against this the pace that the Derby is run at is bound to suit him much
better giving him more of a chance to settle and to negate his tendency to use
himself up. Given this he’ll get the trip just fine.
Quay is the third Montjeu colt left in at the five-day stage. The Richard
Hannon-trained colt is exposed and looks short of class in this. He was able to
win a Listed race at Newbury last term and finish runner-up in another at
Newmarket this season at nine furlongs, giving the impression he wants further.
However, in terms of ability he looks short of what is required.
Dubawi looks to be
Godolphin’s representative, despite Shamardal being left in, after getting the
better of Oratorio in decisive fashion the Irish Guineas. It is a brave decision
by Sheikh Mohammed to run the Dubai Millennium colt at Epsom. Dubawi is by no
means certain to get the 12 furlongs, or to relish the likely fast going and has
a tendency to swerve off a true line. He is also physically the wrong type for
the race being a smallish close-coupled colt.
Nevertheless, he does look
Godolphin’s best hope with Belenus looking short of ability for this and
Shamardal short of stamina.
It is very possible that we
will not see too much more of the Irish Guineas winner as he may well be
shuffled off to stud sooner than later as he is now a Group 1 winner at two and
three and seemingly the best of Dubai Millennium’s only crop.
The optimum blend of speed and stamina for the Derby is often said to be expressed as a Dosage index (DI) of 1.00 and a centre of distribution (CD) of zero. Gypsy King, Fracas and Kings Quay have a CD of exactly zero, while Walk In The Park (DI 0.91), Kong (1.10), First Row (1.10), Almighty (0.89) and Gypsy King (0.82) come closest to the ideal Dosage index.
best combined fit is Gypsy King, by Sadler’s Wells out of a Darshaan mare,
followed by Walk In The Park, Almighty and Fracas.
average DI for the past ten renewals is around 1.4, but those slightly below
this figure down to around 1.00 (or less) appear best suited to the stamina
requirements of the race.
the past ten winners these include Kris Kin (DI 1.34), High Chaparral (0.82),
Galileo (1.11), High-Rise (0.82), Shaamit (0.80) and Lammtarra (1.15).
that to this year’s contestants, everything from Motivator up to Kings Quay in
the table is suited.
things being equal ability wise the horse that conforms best to this blueprint
should win. If the one that conforms closest also looks to have the greatest
natural ability we have a standout bet.
colts appear to be clustered around the sweet spot in terms of stamina aptitude
for this race making the selection difficult on this criterion alone.
have shown mediocre to decent form and the race looks open to one that shows
just a touch of brilliance required of Derby winners.
his short-head victory in an average looking field I think we may have seen that
spark in Gypsy King. Oratorio, Motivator and Walk In The Park
are next best along with Fracas who should not be left out of
of these five will fill the frame with preference given to Gypsy King.
Footnote: Note that US champion Chief’s Crown has become the 205th and most recent chef-de-race (announced on the Bloodstock page of the Racing Post in April). Dr Steven Roman and I have placed him as a split Intermediate/Solid and this needs to be factored into pedigrees for the purpose of Dosage analysis.