Derby weekend looms on Tyneside and on the Curragh and while the bookmakers are betting 7-1 the field for the Pitmen's Derby, the Northumberland Plate, at Newcastle on Saturday, there is a rather more clear-cut market leader for the Irish Derby on Sunday; Galileo stands alone at odds of 1-3 with the Irish bookmakers Liam Cashman to again vanquish those who followed him home at Epsom and to see off all comers on his home turf.
There are those who might make a case for Golan or for Tobougg, second and third to Galileo in the Derby, based on the notion that they failed to cope with the Epsom undulations as well as the winner. They can be accommodated by Cashman at odds of 11-2 and 10-1 respectively but the pair are yet to be confirmed as runners.
There is some confidence in the Godolphin camp, though, that Tobougg, a son of Barathea who dispelled doubts about his ability to be effective at a mile and a half by finishing strongly at Epsom, can reduce or even overturn the three-length margin that separated him from Galileo at Epsom.
"We need to discuss it [Tobougg's participation] with the owner Sheikh Ahmed, but he is doing very well," the colt's trainer, Saeed Bin Suroor, said yesterday. "He came back from the Derby very well and he is training good."
A more substantial indicator of confidence, though, emerged from Ireland yesterday with backing for another of Galileo's victims, Exaltation, whom he defeated by a length and a half in the Derrinstown Stud Trial at Leopardstown in May. The John Oxx-trained Rainbow Quest colt, who was deemed too leggy to cope with Epsom, was quoted at 25-1 by Cashman yesterday morning, but the phones started ringing as soon as the firm opened for business and the Sheikh Mohammed-owned colt was down to 16-1 by the close of trading.
Bay Of Islands is the market leader for the Northumberland Plate, with Kevin Darley booked for the ride on last year's winner who will attempt to become the first horse to land successive runnings since Tug Of War in 1977 and 1978. Sir Michael Stoute's Cover Up, who took last week's Ascot Stakes, is the 7-1 joint-favourite with William Hill but Bay Of Islands is as short as 5-1 with the Tote.
Martin Pipe could be represented by four runners in the £120,000 race, for which 30 horses remained at yesterday's confirmation stage. The Nicolashayne trainer's quartet is made up of Ravenswood, Guard Duty, Heros Fatal and Copeland, with the last-named the highest in the weights on 9st 7lb. "I've won the race with Tamarpour  and Far Cry  and we're going for it again," Pipe said. "Michael Roberts will ride Ravenswood, Jamie Mackay is on Guard Duty, Gary Carter is on Heros Fatal and I'm looking for a jockey for Copeland."
Ralph Beckett, who learnt his training skills as an assistant to Pipe and is only in his second season with a training licence, has a chance to thwart his mentor and pick up by far the largest prize of his career with Order, who is generally a 14-1 chance. "If we get some of the forecast rain I expect he'll run a good race," Beckett said. "There's plenty in with chances but we know he wants every yard so I'm hopeful he'll run well. Robert Winston rides."
Meanwhile, the Jockey Club has quashed speculation that it is to ban jockeys from using energy-enhancing drinks such as Red Bull. Reports that Red Bull contain ephedrine – a stimulant banned under IOC rules but not under Jockey Club protocol – have proved wide of the mark. The Jockey Club's John Maxse said: "We have spoken with the manufacturers of Red Bull who assure us that it does not contain ephedrine. One jockey gave a sample which tested positive for ephedrine. However, nothing has been proven as to what was the cause of the test and the levels in question indicate a product with more concentrated levels of ephedrine than found in an energy drink.
* Jenny Pitman is suing for defamation the journalist Robin Oakley and his publishing company over comments made in his book Valley of the Race Horse published last year.Reuse content