Dubai: Godolphin appear more than likely to have multiple entries for the Group 1 Epsom Derby, Britain’s premier Classic, with French-trained Cloth Of Stars leading a potentially three-strong team of runners.
Raced by Legendary French trainer Andre Fabre, the son of leading stallion and former Arc winner Sea The Stars, announced himself as a big-race prospect with a going-away victory in the Group 2 Prix Greffulhe at Saint-Cloud, France two weeks ago.
He has now emerged as Godolphin’s principal hope for a first Derby success in the stable’s famous blue silks after Lammtarra triumphed in the green and white colours of Shaikh Saeed Bin Maktoum Al Maktoum in 1995.
However, Cloth Of Stars does not hold a provision entry for the June 4 highlight and he will have to be supplemented at a fee of £75,000 (Dh400,017).
John Ferguson, Godolphin’s Chief Executive and Racing Manager, told the stable’s website following the Sant-Cloud success: “We are absolutely delighted with today’s performance from Cloth Of Stars.
“I had a word with Andre afterwards and our thinking is to go for the Epsom Derby.
“We will have to supplement him for the Epsom Derby which is the same weekend as the Prix du Jockey Club (French Derby, June 5),” he added.
“So everything depends on how Cloth Of Stars trains between now and then. Today’s victory was over a mile and a quarter, but both Mickael Barzalona (jockey) and Andre said the colt will be suited by a mile and half.
“Cloth Of Stars is also the kind of horse to act on the course at Epsom and improving all the time, winning going away today.”
The supplementary entry stage for the Derby, which could see a record number of horses added to the Derby line-up, is on Monday, May 30.
Cloth Of Stars is an 8/1 chance (from 12) with most British bookmakers in a market headed by last week’s French 2,000 Guineas (G1) winner The Ghurka (3/1) and Dante Stakes (G2) hero Wings Of Desire (4/1).
Gosden, who trains Wings Of Desire, has other possible Derby entries including Godolphin’s Linguistic, a short-head second in Chester’s Dee Stakes, and Highclere Thoroughbred Racing’s Foundation.
Irish great Jim Bolger, who won the Epsom Classic in 2008 with New Approach, is also likely to be represented by Godolphin’s Moonlight Magic, winner of the Group 3 Derrinstown Derby Trial.
Gosden, who is looking for back-to-back victories in the Derby following Golden Horn twelve months ago, said: “Linguistic might run in the Fairway Stakes (Newmarket, May 21) or the Cocked Hat Stakes (Goodwood, May 20) or he could be supplemented for the Derby, depending on weather forecasts.”
A total of 127 entries remain before Monday’s five-day confirmation stage, including 49 Irish entries and five French-trained runners.
The final declarations will be announced at 1pm (UAE), on June 2 with the maximum number of runners being 20.
The Derby carries a total prize purse of £1,325,000
Epsom Derby (Group 1)
Saturday, June 4, 2016
Minding (5/2); The Gurkha (4); Galileo Gold (5); Wings Of Desire (5); Us Army Ranger (6); Cloth Of Stars (12); Deauville (12); Galileo Gold (14); Mekhtaal (14); Moonlight Magic (14); Port Douglas (16); Ulysses (16); Imperial Aviator (20); Massaat (20); Midterm (20); Sanus Per Aquam (20); Foundation (25); Idaho (25); Harzand (33); Humphrey Bogart (33); Lieutenant General (33); Linguistic (33); Marcel (33)