If the office sweep for the Derby has been disastrous and the ticket bearing the name of Cashel Bay is in your pocket do not yet despair. It is still possible to make money out of the Irish tortoise. You can back him at 4-5. To finish last.
Each year there seem to be ceremonial horses in the Blue Riband, the sort of animals that run not to compete, but to afford their owners a day out among the gypsies and toppers. This time around, Sunny Glenn and King Carew have the appearance of colts steered into the race by proprietors rather than trainers.
Cashel Bay, a 300-1 shot with Victor Chandler, has no such excuse. He is owned and trained by a Luke Comer and expected to run in a deep one. Last time out, Cashel Bay also ran in a Classic and established his credentials in the back-to-front betting market. In the Irish 2,000 Guineas he finished 12th and last.
Indeed, the son of Nureyev appears to have been running in someone smaller's tights all season. "On form he doesn't have a chance, but he hasn't been himself this year," Comer, a permit holder in Co Meath, said. "Blood tests in the last week indicated that he'd had a virus. All his levels are coming up rapidly now. There's no guarantee that he's back, but the signs are better."
Comer is not dispirited by Cashel Bay's price. Last year he supplemented Chimes At Midnight for the St Leger at a cost of £20,000 and saw the 40-1 shot win it back when finishing third to Millenary. Indeed, it is Chimes At Midnight's appearance in tomorrow's Coronation Cup which seems the main focus for the Brookville House yard. "The other fellow [Chimes At Midnight] was coming over anyway," Comer said, "so we might as well have the two of them."
Nick Littmoden and Mick Channon, like Comer, will be saddling their first Derby runner on Saturday. For inspiration, they could draw on the example of Terimon, who finished second to Nashwan in 1989 at odds of 500-1. Sadly, it seems they are past revival.
"Sunny Glenn is a high-class colt, and I was glad to see Olden Times [who narrowly beat him at Newmarket] win in France [in the Group One Prix Jean Prat over nine furlongs] at the weekend," Littmoden said. "But that could be where our trip lies. He could be perfect for a Group Three over a mile and one or a mile and a quarter. There's clearly a question mark about his stamina."
Derby horses such as Nashwan, Henbit and Troy have come steaming out of Channon's West Ilsley base in recent years, but there is no massive confidence that King Carew is about to make it a quartet.
"The horse is all right and will win his races, but we had a lot of problems in the spring with him," the trainer said. "If we all walked away from Golan there would be no Derby. And it's not as if there are 25 in the field and we are going to get in the way."
Chimes At Midnight will have five rivals in tomorrow's Coronation Cup, including Petrushka, who is reunited with Kieren Fallon for the first time since the partnership finished fourth in last season's Oaks. The Irishman was a spectator with a shoulder injury when the filly went on to complete a Group One hat-trick in the Irish and Yorkshire Oaks followed by the Prix l'Opera.
"Both Michael [Stoute, the trainer] and Kieren, who has ridden her in part of her work, are delighted with her progress," Harry Herbert, for Petrushka's owner's, Highclere Thoroughbred Racing, said yesterday. "Obviously you can impress at home but until you get a four-year-old filly on the track your never going to know for sure if she's trained on, but the signs are highly encouraging."
Fallon will ride the Queen's Flight Of Fancy in the Oaks, also tomorrow. Stoute's filly was one of 14 declared for the Classic yesterday. Other jockey arrangements have been firmed up. Frankie Dettori has been claimed by Godolphin to ride the maiden Najah, leaving Richard Hughes to take the mount on the Pretty Polly Stakes winner, Mot Juste. Basil Marcus will be on Clive Brittain's Mameha, while Channon has booked Steven Drowne for another outsider in the shape of Sunstone.
TO FINISH LAST IN THE DERBY (Coral Eurobet): 4-5 Cashel Bay, 5-2 King Carew & Sunny Glenn, 25-1 Golan & Tobougg, 33-1 Mr Combustible & Wareed, 40-1 Chancellor, Perfect Sunday, Putra Sand- hurst & Storming Home, 50-1 Dilshaan & Galileo.
TO WIN THE DERBY LATEST ODDS (Ladbrokes): 9-4 Galileo & Golan, 9-2 Dilshaan, 7-1 Perfect Sunday, 12-1 Putra Sandhurst, 14-1 Storming Home, 16-1 Chancellor & Tobougg, 25-1 Mr Combustible, 33-1 Wareed, 66-1 Ice Dancer, 100-1 Sunny Glenn, 150-1 King Carew, 200-1 Cashel Bay.Reuse content