Racing: Epsom take no chances with twin perils

Over 250 guests had to abandon plans to attend a pre-Derby "Breakfast with the Stars" at Epsom yesterday when two cases of the highly infectious disease strangles were confirmed at a nearby livery yard. Yet there were trainers who turned up with their Classic hopefuls, adding substance to the official belief that the outbreak would not affect the Blue Riband, due to be run a week on Saturday.

Over 250 guests had to abandon plans to attend a pre-Derby "Breakfast with the Stars" at Epsom yesterday when two cases of the highly infectious disease strangles were confirmed at a nearby livery yard. Yet there were trainers who turned up with their Classic hopefuls, adding substance to the official belief that the outbreak would not affect the Blue Riband, due to be run a week on Saturday.

David Elsworth sent Salford City over the unique Surrey contours, while Marcus Tregoning galloped Elshadi and his Coronation Cup possible, High Accolade. John Gosden's Percussionist visited the track for the gentle stroll of a reconnaissance mission.

Andrew Cooper, the clerk of the course, remained confident that his Classic meeting was not under threat. "All the livery yards around here have shut up and everybody is taking things very seriously," he said. "But it has never been part of the routine of horses stabled there to come this way up the hill, or anywhere near the racecourse stables. In the meantime, all we can do is continue to liaise with the vet who is looking after the situation."

The gala breakfast was first organised and then cancelled on Tuesday by Epsom's managing director, Stephen Wallis. "We had no option but to make a decision early yesterday and we contacted all of the 250 guests we were expecting by the end of the afternoon," he said. "But, happy that every precaution had been taken to minimise any risk of the disease spreading, we were pleased that some trainers still wanted to come to Epsom to work their horses this morning."

Another peril to the smooth running of this year's Derby could yet materialise if a ballot of stalls handlers produces a vote in favour of industrial action when the result is announced today. Wallis indicated that course officials would resort to a flip start if Epsom finds itself in the front line.

The happiest of the visitors yesterday appeared to be Elsworth after the light movements of his Greenham Stakes winner, Salford City. Having survived his piece of work, the colt was cut to 14-1 (from 16-1) by William Hill. Salford City was ridden in his work by Johnny Murtagh and was accompanied by Massif Centrale (Dane O'Neill), who was among the Derby acceptors at the latest forfeit stage but is not a certain runner.

"It was most satisfactory," Elsworth said. "We have trained him since the Guineas so that we could run in Derby if we wanted to and it is looking increasingly likely that he will. He hasn't run since the Guineas and this outing can only have done him good. The owner [Michael Tabor] is quite keen to run and there is only one Derby."

There was a Derby-confirming workout elsewhere, when Pukka completed his morning assignment at Newmarket. Luca Cumani's colt won a Newbury handicap on his return earlier this month to warrant a quote of 66-1 from William Hill to give the Newmarket trainer his third Derby, following wins with Kahyasi in 1988 and High-Rise 10 years later.

"He worked fine this morning and we are happy with him," Sara Cumani, the trainer's wife, said. "He carries on towards the Derby providing he [Cumani] is happy with him after Saturday, when he'll have another spin."

Pukka would have gone to Epsom had the strangles outbreak not occurred, but was nevertheless presented with a Derby-style bend. "He went the wrong way round the Limekilns, which is what we did with Kahyasi," Mrs Cumani continued. "It was a shame not to go to Epsom, but we are happy with what we did.

"He's been round a bend at Lingfield. He's a very handy, well-balanced little horse, so Epsom shouldn't be a problem. He'll definitely stay and has an incredibly good temperament. Whether he's good enough we'll only know by running. There's only one Derby and it looks fairly open, so it's worth a shot."

Bull Run, a course winner in the Blue Riband Trial, will not be supplemented for the race after missing a scheduled piece of work at Newmarket. The grey, who has yet to run for Godolphin after being transferred from David Loder, did not appear for duty "because he was not moving correctly".

Derby (Epsom, 5 June): William Hill: 5-2 Yeats, 3-1 Snow Ridge, 7-2 North Light, 10-1 (with a run) Day Flight, 12-1 American Post, 14-1 Let The Lion Roar, Percussionist, Salford City, 16-1 Rule Of Law, 20-1 Ecomium, 33-1 Cairdeas, Gatwick (to be supplemented), Meath, 40-1 Book Of Kings, 66-1 others.

Coral: 9-4 Yeats, 3-1 Snow Ridge, 4-1 North Light, 10-1 American Post, 12-1 Salford City, 14-1 Rule Of Law, Let The Lion Roar, Percussionist, 16-1 Meath, 25-1 Cairdeas, 33-1 Book Of Kings, Duke Of Venice, Elshadi, Moscow Ballet, 50-1 Pukka, 66-1 others.

Ladbrokes: 9-4 Yeats, 11-4 Snow Ridge, 7-2 North Light, 12-1 American Post, Percussionist, Rule Of Law, 14-1 Salford City, 16-1 Let The Lion Roar, 40-1 Elshadi, Pukka, 100-1 others.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Administrator - IT - Fixed Term, Part Time

£17340 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Come and join one of the UK's leading ca...

Recruitment Genius: Property Sales Consultant - Chinese Speaking - OTE £70,000

£18000 - £70000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Opportunity for a Fluent Chines...

Recruitment Genius: AV Installation Engineer

£27000 - £33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to business growth, this is...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent