It's oh so easy for Arabian Crown in the Zetland
It's oh so easy for Arabian Crown in the Zetland

bet365 Classic Trial: Pedigree perspective on Derby hopefuls at Sandown Park

While Guineas contenders are wrapped in cotton wool undergoing their final pieces of fine tuning, in the background Derby and Oaks contenders have begun to show their hand.

Epsom's in-house trial was won in decisive fashion by Bellum Justum (Sea The Stars), with fast finishing runner-up Defiance (Camelot), putting forward a strong case for their place in the starting stalls.

Thankfully, Sandown's bet365 Classic Trial looks set to take place this year barring an act of God after a weather enforced cancellation last year. That means subsequent Derby winner (albeit the Irish version) Westover (Frankel) was the last winner to take in this trial on route to gaining a Classic victory.

Ok, the Derby Trial won by Shergar in 1981 may not have the best record in recent years at Epsom when you consider how the winners have fared, however, what those records fail to tell us is that as recently as the penultimate renewal we saw a future Derby winner take part.

At the mercy of subsequent G1 Tattersalls Gold Cup winner Alenquer (Adlerflug), Godolphin's Adayar (Frankel) finished second in this very trial on the first of his two Derby preps before storming to Epsom glory.

The betting indicates that will not be the case for the same connections short-priced favourite Arabian Crown (Dubawi). Siring a Derby winner is just about the only accolade missing from Dubawi’s extensive list of achievements around the globe, and he has two representatives from two of the best outfits around to go one step closer towards righting that wrong.

ARABIAN CROWN (Dubawi x Dubai Rose by Dubai Destination)

The first is Charlie Appleby’s Gr.3 Zetland Stakes winner Arabian Crown who has progressed markedly in each of his starts to date. Why exactly Dubawi has yet to sire an Epsom Classic winner is beyond me but this colt who is bred on the same cross as Coronation Cup winner Postponed has the potential to be one of his best chances to date. He has more than enough stamina in his pedigree to suggest he will find the eventual step up to a mile and a half right up his alley. His half-sister The Juliet Rose (Monsun) won the Gr.2 Prix de Royaillieu twice. That said, she is by Monsun who is certainly more of a stamina influence than Dubawi and this colt’s full sister earned her black type over seven furlongs. I wouldn’t be put off by this as not only did his second dam stay beyond two miles, but she is also the granddam of a pair of Champion Stayers – the full siblings Sea La Rosa and Deauville Legend (Sea The Stars). There is class, pedigree and form in this colt’s favour and he is the rightful short priced favourite.

PORTLAND (Dubawi x Zagitova by Galileo)

Dubawi’s second in the line up arrives in less impressive form than his favoured rival, but equally impressive connections and ones who know a thing or nine about winning the Derby. Bred on the lucrative Dubawi x Galileo mare cross, you have to imagine that if any mare is going to help Dubawi across the line at Epsom it will be a daughter of the late great Champion. Dam Zagitova was a 1.6m gns yearling purchase having been through the ring not long after her half-brother Garswood’s (Dutch Art) G1 Prix Maurice de Gheest victory in 2014. Portland is her second foal and first to race and though highly tried, is the only one in the line up with Group 1 form. That is the highlight of his seven starts to date, which is enough evidence to suggest he is vulnerable to something with a little bit more star quality. Having stayed a mile on very soft ground at two, the trip should not be an issue. If the real Arabian Crown shows up, he will have to find significant improvement to trouble him.

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MACDUFF (Sea The Stars x Present Tense by Bated Breath)

Unlike Dubawi, Sea The Stars ticked off siring a Derby winner early on in his stud career and in style with dual Derby scorer Harzand. He is passing on his own affinity with the track in abundance – two Coronation Cup winners (Hukum and Emily Upjohn) and one each in the Derby (Harzand) and Oaks (Taghrooda) attest to that. Notwithstanding Sea The Stars’ dominant display over his elders over this very track and trip in the Coral-Eclipse, this colt’s distaff pedigree suggests stamina could come in short supply. Dam Present Tense won over a mile, and is a half-sister to electric miler Kingman (Invincible Spirit). That makes this colt a grandson of French 1000 Guineas winner Zenda (Zamindar) who is a half-sister to Champion Sprinter Oasis Dream (Green Desert). Today’s assignment shouldn’t be a problem but keep a watchful eye on his stamina reserves when he hits the line if he’s on your shortlist for Epsom.

WAR ROOMS (Churchill x Apticanti by Aptitude)

Another from a speedy family, this colt is from the family of Coventry winner Calyx (Kingman), Champion 3YO Sprinter in France African Rose (Observatory) and Irish 2000 Guineas winner and Champion 2YO Native Trail (Oasis Dream). Unlike Macduff above, War Rooms is by a Guineas winner himself in Churchill. Class is not in short supply here but we are still learning about Churchill’s influence. The sire of two Champions in his first two crops to race, namely Vadeni and Blue Rose Cen, both were at their best over 1m2f as opposed to 1m4f, and both came from stoutly bred families. Trip is an unknown with this colt going by pedigree, so he is probably best watched until he proves it is within his realm.

War Rooms pictured at Owen Burrows' yard
READ: Owen Burrows Stable Tour including War Rooms

REMAADD (Gleneagles x Oojooba by Monsun)

Gleneagles has been somewhat of an enigma since retiring to stud and you cannot help but wonder if he has been a victim of his own lofty reputation. With a race record and pedigree like his, would anything less than Galileo’s standards ever be considered enough? While he may lack a flagship horse, he has a steady stream of stakes winners to his credit and this colt is unexposed and in the hands of a patient trainer who does not tilt at windmills. Out of a Monsun mare who did her best work later in her three year old career and as a four year old, today may come a little bit soon for him. His second dam won Ameerat (Mark Of Esteem) won the 1000 Guineas in the same yellow and black silks which gives him the right on pedigree to make his mark in the Classics. He should be hitting the line hard. Whether he goes the early gallop is another question, but he is certainly one to keep an eye on for the future.

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