Racing UK

Five things we learnt on Friday - Godolphin have another Derby candidate

Friday 19 May 2017

Tom Peacock looks at how Godolphin took the wraps off impressive maiden winner Dubai Thunder at Newbury on Friday through to a strong start from a South African champion at Newmarket.

By Tom Peacock

Too late for the Derby for Thunder? 

The Dubai Royal family look to have found a worthwhile runner in the Investec Derby in Thursday’s Mark Johnston-trained Dante winner Permian, but one was left to wonder what on earth Saeed bin Suroor had unwrapped in a low-key maiden at Newbury on Friday.

It would seem very late in the day for Dubai Thunder to take his chance at Epsom, yet he still holds an entry after coming 10 lengths clear of rivals who had already shown at least some ability.

This was over a mile and a quarter, with the newcomer retaining plenty of energy at the end of the race. He is from a familiar Darley family as not only a half-brother to outstanding miler Farhh, but the very useful middle-distance colt Racing History.

Furthering Dubai Thunder’s appeal is that, instead of his more speedily-bred Pivotal siblings, he was sired by Dubawi. It will be fascinating to monitor his progress from here and you can get 25-1 about Epsom with Bet Victor, the same price as Dante Stakes winner Permian.

Will HMS Dartmouth set sail?

There have already been whispers about the possibility of Dartmouth being a viable horse for the Emirates Melbourne Cup and this moved up a gear in to a genuine suggestion after his victory in a vintage Betway Yorkshire Cup. 

John Warren, the Queen’s racing manager, did not flat-out deny Australia being an option but maintained that an attempt at back-to-back wins in the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot will be trainer Sir Michael Stoute’s next priority.

As Dartmouth is still an entire, it would seem logical that connections will first follow the path of last year and pursue that elusive Group One win to make him a stallion.

If he again falls short, Dartmouth has a similar profile to Stoute’s Snow Sky, who headed to Melbourne. As Dartmouth is a horse with more than a touch of class and determination with the capability of handling different ground and distances, he would seem a great fit to make the journey.

Ascot Desire for Bell:

“She’s a rocket,” said Michael Bell of Main Desire, who repeated the blistering speed from her Nottingham debut in winning the Listed Langleys Solicitors British EBF Marygate Fillies' Stakes. 

“I've not had a filly like her since Margot Did, she'd be the closest,” added the trainer, whose comment should be noted as that filly was only beaten a nostril in the Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot in 2010.

Bell added that Main Desire is more likely to head for the Queen Mary at next month’s meeting and few have shown better credentials than her so far this season.

More to come from Westerland:

As Frankel is one of the precious few names to travel beyond the confines of the racing bubble and into the wider world, his offspring continue to receive far more attention than others.

After a perfect start from his first two-year-old crop with Cunco, Westerland could only manage second in the very same race when kicking off his 2017 offering.

This was only half of the story, though, with trainer John Gosden could be seen prodding the soft ground beforehand and the easy-to-back favourite was stuck out wide in his first part of the learning process.

By the end of the race, when the winner Nebo was already putting it to bed, Westerland began to get much closer without Frankie Dettori getting too stern with him.  

This maiden is transparently a place where trainers test out a Royal Ascot juvenile and there is still time for this half-brother to Showcasing and Camacho to demonstrate his suitability, as this was an encouraging debut.

Strong start for South African visitor:

Gavin Lerena indicated he could be a name to follow when getting off the mark on his British stint aboard ZZoro at Newmarket.

The South African has been in action only for a couple of days here and will spend the summer riding for Charlie Hills. While little-known in this country, having only appeared in the Shergar Cup, he has been champion jockey back home and once broke the long-standing apprentice record of the mighty Michael Roberts, who won the 1992 British title.

Easy to recognise with an upright, flamboyant style, Lerena will be now be in the good books of Amanda Perrett after his strong performance on Zzoro and will pick up support from plenty of other trainers if he keeps up the good work.

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