Racing: Elsworth's Express a Derby dream

York May meeting: The trainer who lost the 2,000 Guineas winner to Godolphin has another chance to win a Classic

GODOLPHIN BOUGHT a Classic winner in Island Sands when they went shopping at David Elsworth's yard last winter. At the Knavesmire yesterday they must have wished they had got a job lot.

While Team Dubai's Slip Stream dribbled away his Derby credentials in the Dante Stakes, old Elzy showed that Whitsbury was no one-horse stable when Salford Express won the Blue Riband's most prestigious trial. He is now a top-priced 14-1 for Epsom.

The Arab team can be excused for not spotting Salford Express. Elsworth himself was largely unaware of the horse until his seasonal debut at Newbury. "He doesn't overtax himself and he's not an overly demonstrative horse in any way," the trainer said.

"I didn't know I had him in the yard until a week or 10 days before Newbury. Then we worked him with a good horse, an old yardstick, and he was better than him. I thought then that the horse had been pulling our legs."

Elsworth was a rather striking figure in the paddock yesterday. As thunder crackled around the Knavesmire and a single, powerful downpour changed the going to soft, the trainer shrouded himself in a horse blanket which he wore as a poncho. Salford Express was uncovered as a rather spindly thing when Elsworth borrowed his clothing.

There was nothing brittle about the chestnut in the race proper though. He was soon testing the biceps of Richard Quinn as he tugged his way to the front. And he continued tugging. Slip Stream, in behind, was similarly headstrong.

Salford Express was an inviting target in the straight but the pursuers started to come under pressure one by one. At the line the winner was actually pulling away and had established a margin of a length and a half. "He ran in snatches a bit because of greenness," Quinn reported. "He's got plenty of pace, which helps around Epsom and I think he'll stay."

Golden Snake, the runner-up, will be sent to the Grand Prix de Paris, while Godolphin had no complex explanation for Slip Stream's demise. They concluded that he simply was not good enough.

That left Elsworth to ponder whether his horse would be good enough for Epsom. "Could be," he said. "His Indian Ridge half-brother called Definite Article just got beaten a short-head in the Irish Derby so he should get the trip. He has a lovely relaxed way of racing and saves a bit for himself. I'd be disappointed if he didn't stay. He's a contender.

"This horse has run only four times and he was an unfurnished, backward two-year-old who I thought might be a horse one day. This was make-up- your-mind day and if he was good enough he had to do it today. He has improved and he can go on now. It's the time of the year when a horse can do well. We're optimistic."

Elsworth has had five runners in the Derby and Salford Express will be by far his most fancied. The previous Whitsbury runners have all started at 66-1 or bigger and Mighty Flutter's third place behind Secreto and El Gran Senor in 1984 is the performance to shoot at.

"I haven't won a Derby, not even the Pitmen's Derby," Elsworth said. "But this horse is improving rapidly and who knows. The dream is on."

THE DERBY (Epsom, 5 June): Coral: 6-1 Beat All, Oath, 8-1 Montjeu, 10- 1 Dubai Millennium, 12-1 Adair, Brancaster, Commander Collins, 14-1 Salford Express; Ladbrokes: 6-1 Beat All, 7-1 Oath, 10-1 Montjeu, 12-1 Dubai Millennium, 14-1 Adair, Salford Express; Tote: 7-1 Beat All, 8-1 Oath, 11-1 Adair, Dubai Millennium, Lucido, Montjeu, Salford Express; William Hill: 6-1 Beat All, 7-1 Oath, 10-1 Adair, Dubai Millennium, Montjeu, 12-1 Commander Collins, Housemaster, 14-1 Salford Express.

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

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: KS2 Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is a two form entry primary schoo...

Tradewind Recruitment: English Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an excellent, large partially ...

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Primary Teacher

£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee