The last seven days have thrown up a number of early pointers for both the Investec Derby and the Investec Oaks (In memory of Sir Henry Cecil) with a number of entries for both Classics having triumphed in recent days.
Newmarket handler John Gosden has his string in fine form and he scored at Newbury on Friday, April 11, with Investec Derby entry Western Hymn. The son of High Chaparral, who is owned in partnership by Robin Geffen and Gosden’s wife Rachel Hood, is now unbeaten in two starts and quickened impressively in a 10-furlong conditions stakes to win by two and a quarter lengths from fellow Investec Derby entry Snow Sky (Sir Michael Stoute).
Also at Newbury on Friday, Investec Oaks entry Inchila (Peter Chapple-Hyam) was the convincing winner of a 10-furlong fillies’ maiden.
Over here, Fascinating Rock (Dermot Weld) was the decisive winner of the Group Three Ballysax Stakes at Navan on Saturday, April 12. The son of leading Australian stallion Fastnet Rock was added to the Investec Derby at the recent £8,000 second entry stage.
Weld was also on the mark with Aga Khan-owned Sinkal in a 10-furlong maiden at the Curragh on Sunday, April 13. The Smart Strike colt was winning on debut and is out of a half-sister to the 2000 Investec Derby victor Sinndar.
There were also some Investec Oaks pointers in Ireland, with Dazzling (Aidan O’Brien) taking the Listed Salsabil Stakes over 10 furlongs at Navan on April 12 and Palace(Aidan O’Brien) comfortably landing a mile maiden on the same card.
Ectot (Elie Lellouche) was one of the leading juveniles in France last season, winning the Group One Criterium International on his final start of 2013. He was a second entry for the Investec Derby and made a winning start to the current campaign when beating another Investec Derby entry and Group One Prix Jean Luc Lagardere victor Karakontie(Jonathan Pease) in the mile Group Three Prix De Fontainebleau at Longchamp on April 13.
Yesterday at Windsor, dual Investec Derby-winning trainer Peter Chapple-Hyam was on the mark with Arod. The Teofilo colt, who is owned by Qatar Racing Limited, quickened impressively for a five-length triumph in a 10-furlong maiden.
Racing returns to Epsom Downs
Epsom Downs re-opens for racing on Wednesday, April 23, with the Investec Spring Meeting.
The highlight of the six-race programme is the 10-furlongs £50,000 Investec Derby Trial, the only trial to take place at the home of the Investec Derby.
The winner of the Investec Derby Trial (if not a gelding or already entered) will receive an automatic entry for the Investec Derby.