Snow Sky shows Classic credentials
Snow Sky was cut for the Investec Derby after running out an impressive winner of the Lingfield Derby Trial.
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Sir Michael Stoute's horse had been on offer at 100/1 for the Epsom contest before winning by a comfortable two lengths from Hartnell, with Godolphin's Sudden Wonder running on for a never-dangerous third.
Sky Bet initially cut him to 25/1 but had to act again with a revised 20/1, while 888sport's 33/1 didn't last and they soon joined Sky Bet, William Hill and bet365 at 20s.
That left sportingbet, Boylesports, Paddy Power and Stan James quoting a standout 25/1. The latter's Rory Jiwani said: "Sir Michael Stoute was keen to state afterwards that Snow Sky was by no means a definite Derby runner but the way he handled Lingfield suggests he should cope with Epsom."
In winning, Snow Sky paid a huge compliment to Western Hymn, the unbeaten John Gosden colt who beat him convincingly at Newbury. He was cut to a best of 16/1 by Ladbrokes and as short as 8/1 with Betfred as a result.
There were no such Classic clues offered in the Oaks Trial with Honor Bound surprising even her trainer Ralph Beckett in running out a tenacious winner.
Like the runner-up Criteria, Honor Bound doesn't hold an entry in the Investec Oaks and lack of star quality saw William Hill cut Taghrooda - again trained by Gosden - to 7/4, the shortest price in the industry.
"Casual Smile was beaten at Lingfield and you could argue that she was closely matched with Taghrooda from their run at Newmarket in the autumn," said William Hill's Jon Ivan-Duke.
"However, it appears the Trial has failed to produce any realistic challengers for the Oaks and that only strengthens Taghrooda's claims for Epsom glory."
The Lingfield races followed on from trials at Chester, where Aidan O'Brien again dominated. Orchestra won the Chester Vase to earn 20/1 quotes for the Derby while stable companion Kingfisher was made a standout 50/1 chance by Sky Bet having landed the Dee Stakes.
David Williams of Ladbrokes said: "Snow Sky was the pick of the Trial winners for us over the course of the past week. He's very clearly on an upward curve and it would be incredibly dangeorus to write off Sir Michael Stoute at this time of year."