Gleneagles (left) likely to be left in the Derby on Monday
PICTURE: Getty Images
THE mouthwatering prospect of dual Classic winner Gleneagles running in Saturday’s Investec Derby appeared to increase on Sunday when trainer Aidan O’Brien said the Coolmore-owned colt would remain in the race at Monday’s confirmation stage.
O’Brien’s bid for a sixth Derby triumph and fourth on the spin may also be boosted by Irish 1,000 Guineas second Found, whom connections could supplement at a cost of £75,000.
She would join trial winners Hans Holbein and Kilimanjaro, plus perhaps Giovanni Canaletto – cut to 16-1 (from 20) by Coral on Sunday – although the presence of Gleneagles would add considerable excitement and intrigue to Britain’s premier Classic.
A son of 2001 Derby hero Galileo, he cruised home in the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket before adding the Irish equivalent at the Curragh to his CV, after which O’Brien stressed the horse’s speed made the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot the most likely target.
However, he said on Sunday: “I didn’t hear that he was going to come out so presume he is going to be left in.
“The filly [Found] is the only one, all the colts are in. The lads [Coolmore partners John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith] will have a good chat tonight. She came out of the Irish Guineas well.”
The participation of Gleneagles, who was between 11-1 and 12-1 on Betfair’s exchange just after 5pm on Sunday, would need to be confirmed on Thursday morning when conditions would be clearer.
He is thought best on fast ground and Epsom’s clerk of the course Andrew Cooper described the going as good on Sunday.
Rain and heavy winds were forecast for Monday night, but the weather should improve from Wednesday.
Mark Wilson, a spokesman for the Met Office, said on Sunday: “Monday night into Tuesday it turns very wet and windy across Epsom with a band of heavy rain pushing through and we could see gusts of 40-50mph, which looks like the worst of the weather.
“Through Tuesday morning that rain clears with better conditions, but staying on the windy side and fairly cool. Thereafter there’s a massive change. From Wednesday it’ll be much drier with bright spells and the wind becoming lighter. Thursday stays sunny and turns warmer with temperatures around 21/22C.
“While Friday is uncertain, it looks most likely to stay dry and sunny and turn very warm indeed – we could be seeing 25/26/27C – but there is also a chance we could see some showers as well.”
Cooper and his team will likely assess conditions on Tuesday night or on Wednesday morning before any discussions about watering are had.
Talks between members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union and Network Rail resumed on Sunday morning in a bid to avert strike action, which would affect racegoers heading to for Investec Oaks day at Epsom on Friday.
There are no such problems for Derby day 24 hours later, but tickets are going fast with fewer than 250 left in the Grandstand, and the Queen’s Stand and Lonsdale Enclosure sold out for that day. Entrance to the Upper Tattenham Enclosure and the family area on the hill is still available.
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