KIEREN Fallon is in action at Musselburgh this afternoon when the six-time champion jockey heads to Scotland for half a dozen rides.
It will be the Irishman’s ﬁrst visit to the East Lothian venue since 2012 and his rare recent trips have yielded two winners from just seven rides in the past ﬁve years.
Fallon partners a couple of horses for Kevin Ryan starting with juvenile newcomer Dominic Cork in the British Stallion Studs EBF Median Auction Stakes. The Hambleton trainer said: “It’s always good to get Kieren and this is quite a nice colt. Obviously you don’t know what to expect with them ﬁrst time out but he is a decent type going forward.”
Ryan also gives Fallon the leg up on Madame Mirasol, while the Irishman carries the nap on Alan Swinbank’s Fly Solo in the one-and-a-half mile handicap. This is the week when the Investec Derby picture traditionally becomes a little clearer and Aidan O’Brien is unlikely to be losing any sleep. If anything, Australia’s position at the head of the betting for the premier Classic was strengthened over the weekend without him leaving his box. One of the best-bred horses ever to see a racetrack, Australia only finished third in the 2000 Guineas but looks guaranteed to improve for the step up to a mile and a half. O’Brien won Chester’s two Derby with Orchestra and Kingfisher but they appear to be some way down the Ballydoyle pecking order and while he was out of luck at Lingfield on Saturday with Mekong River and Blue Hussar, the winner Snow Sky is not even a definite runner.
Trained by Sir Michael Stoute, Snow Sky (5-1) was supplemented for the Racing Post Trophy at the end of last season when he disappointed but his second to Western Hymn on his reappearance suggested there was a decent engine.
While he won the betfred.com Derby Trial Stakes impressively in the hands of Jim Crowley, who was replacing the injured James Doyle, Stoute was non-committal about Epsom. “We knew the extra distance would suit and he handled the track very well. He could not have done it more nicely,” said Stoute. “Teddy (Grimthorpe, racing manager to Khalid Abdullah) obviously has to speak to the Prince as he pays the bills, but I’d like to see the Dante (at York) before committing him to the Derby.”
The Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial at Leopardstown is usually far more informative but this year’s renewal turned out be a messy affair yesterday and was won in the stewards’ room by Fascinating Rock, who went off the even-money favourite for Dermot Weld and Pat Smullen. John Oxx’s Ebanoran was first past the post, having shown a particularly smart turn of foot when asked by Declan McDonogh, but interference caused to neck second Fascinating Rock and O’Brien’s third Geoffrey Chaucer prompted a long stewards’ inquiry, leading to the first two ultimately swapping places.
Oxx took the verdict with his usual good grace and intimated that Ebanoran could also take his chance at Epsom.
It will cost £30,000 to supplement the filly into the Investec Oaks, and Beckett added: “I’m not sure she will be in the race. I’ll go home and have a look at the tape then decide what to do.”
It was Classic day in France yesterday, with Karakontie repelling the challenge of Prestige Vendome to run out a determined winner of the Poule d’Essai des Poulains (French 2000 Guineas) at Longchamp.
Karakontie won the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere at the Paris track for English-born, French-based trainer Jonathan Pease last October and having suffered a narrow defeat at the hands of Ectot on his return, he was a 6-4 favourite to take Classic glory. Having travelled well on the heels of the leaders, Stephane Pasquier’s mount quickened up well and had enough in the tank in the final furlong to hold off Prestige Vendome and Thierry Thulliez.
Asked whether the Investec Derby could come under consideration, Alan Cooper, racing manager for winning owners the Niarchos family, said: “I wouldn’t rule anything out.”
Jean-Claude Rouget’s Avenir Certain produced a devastating late run under Gregory Benoist to claim victory in the fillies’ equivalent – stewards confirming the result at an inquiry.