Galileo is rated best in the last 10 years

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The Independent Online

As a heavy shower sent 150,000 people scurrying for the station or the car park at Epsom on Saturday evening, every last one of them knew that they had seen an outstanding winning performance by Galileo. The question of precisely how good a victory it was, though, is one for a far smaller group of experts, and yesterday it was the turn of the Timeform organisation to offer their opinion on the burst of speed and relentless gallop which carried Galileo three and a half lengths clear of Golan and Tobougg.

The Timeform verdict is that Aidan O'Brien's colt put up a performance 1lb superior to that of Sinndar 12 months ago, and he has been awarded a rating of 130. It was therefore also a better display than that of any Derby winner since 1991, when Generous ran away from his field to earn a rating of 135.

"The basic form would earn a rating of 127," Chris Williams, the Timeform handicapper responsible for three-year-olds, said yesterday, "but we added a little extra to the bare result. We thought it was a very good performance, the way he sealed it up by quickening clear of his rivals two furlongs out was impressive. Golan and Tobougg were caught a bit flat-footed early in the straight, and they did well to finish where they did."

With just four races behind him, Galileo should also continue to improve throughout the season, just as Sinndar, who was rated 129 by Timeform after the Derby last year, ended the season on 134 after his success in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.

"The form of Galileo's wins prior to the race weren't a great deal to shout about," Williams said, "but all credit to connections, they got him right on the day. Aidan O'Brien's horses are running a hell of a lot better now than they were three or four weeks ago, ones like Black Minnaloushe [who won the Irish 2,000 Guineas] and Imagine [Irish 1,000 Guineas, English Oaks] have improved a lot. Galileo was still winning races when the horses were out of form, so with hindsight it's not surprising that he's improved quite a bit."

While racegoers look forward to Galileo's next appearance, which is expected to be the Irish Derby at the Curragh on 1 July, the connections of Epsom also-rans are left to reflect on the result.

Perhaps the most disappointing performance on Saturday was that of Dilshaan, the winner of the Dante Stakes at York, who was sent off at 5-1, but could finish only seventh.

"The horse is perfectly fine after the race," Joe Mercer, racing manager to Saeed Suhail, Dilshaan's owner, said yesterday. "He didn't run up to what we all expected. I know it was a very fast time, but there was no pace in the first half of the race. They went very steady for the first mile. When the speed was injected just after the four-furlong marker, and when the winner decided to kick for home in the straight, the other horses were caught flat-footed. It was asking them to do something too quickly, and I think that possibly applied to Dilshaan.

"The pace usually increases from six out at the top of the hill and gradually builds up, then a horse can find his stride."

Dilshaan's connections have yet to decide on a plan of action for the colt, although a race such as the Eclipse Stakes at Sandown on 7 July is an obvious possibility.

Barry Hills too had plenty of disappointment to contend with on Saturday evening, since he saddled a third of the 12 runners in the Derby but did not have so much as a place to show for it.

Hills can at least look to next week's Royal Ascot meeting for consolation, though, and Seven No Trumps, his contender for the Wokingham Handicap next Friday, was well supported for the race with Ladbrokes yesterday.

Having been backed in to 12-1 last week, Seven No Trumps is now one of the 10-1 co-favourites, along with Capricho, Deep Space and Ellens Academy. The same firm also reports that Kirovski is 14-1 from 16-1 for the Royal Hunt Cup, in which Camberley and Tough Speed are joint-favourites at 7-1.

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