Presenting puts his Derby case

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The Independent Online
Presenting had just three rivals to beat at Newmarket yesterday but the manner of his victory pressed home his claims for the Derby. All three leading bookmakers clipped the colt's price to 20-1 for Epsom after he strolled home 11 lengths clear of Anchor Clever in the Newmarket Stakes.

The son of Mtoto was barely tested, stretching away in fine style for Frankie Dettori to register a time of 2m 2.12s, just over one second outside the course record.

"The competition didn't turn out to be much, so we needed a decent time to reassure us," trainer John Gosden said. "Two furlongs out he was a bit lazy but when Frankie shook his stick at him he stretched away." Presenting will test the Derby market further when he tackles the Dante Stakes at York on 17 May.

"He's always been our Derby horse,'' Gosden added. ''He likes top of the ground and as long as we get that at Epsom, I'm sure he'll handle the track. He is a big horse but he's got a lovely low action."

Gosden left 16 horses in the Derby over the winter but may now only have one other representative, Tamure. The trainer has a high opinion of the Sadler's Wells colt, who is due to contest today's Mayer Parry Conditions Stakes.

Dettori completed a notable double when Only Royale showed plenty of spirit to see off Tikkanen by a neck in the £50,000-added Jockey Club Stakes.

The mare was avenging her defeat by Tikkanen in the Breeders' Cup at Churchill Downs last November. Only Royale and Tikkanen had the race to themselves approaching the final furlong and the mare found extra reserves to land the spoils.

Only Royale, unlucky in each of the last two runnings of the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, was benefiting from a change in her training regime.

"For the last two years we turned her out in the winter and she used to come back very hairy from the stud. But she's a workaholic and this time we kept her going," said trainer Luca Cumani. Only Royale returned to the winner's enclosure with blood pouring from a cut to her near fore but, provided the damage is not serious, her next assignment will be the Coronation Cup at Epsom.

The mare is once again likely to be prepared for a tilt at the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at the end of the season.

Newmarket trainer Bill O'Gorman has been experiencing a quiet spell lately but enjoyed a welcome change of fortune on the opening day of his local meeting.

O'Gorman registered his first juvenile success of the season when Foreman came with a late rattle to collect the Arlington Maiden Stakes.

Results, page 47