Racing: Greek threat to Empire

SECOND EMPIRE continued to drift in the Derby betting yesterday and speculation grew that Greek Dance could start favourite for Saturday's race.

Coral made perhaps the most significant price change as they pushed out the Irish 2,000 Guineas third to 11-4 (all in) from 9-4 (with a run). "We are picking up some particularly negative vibes regarding both Second Empire and King Of Kings and ante-post punters are avoiding them like the proverbial plague," Coral's spokesman, Simon Clare, said.

Greek Dance, trained by Michael Stoute, last month produced an impressive performance at York over a mile and a quarter, quickening clear to beat Capri six lengths.

Recent rain has encouraged backing for soft-ground contenders but betting activity yesterday was relatively quiet with punters apparently holding fire in view of the unsettled weather and today's 48-hour final declaration stage.

Alec Stewart yesterday confirmed Mutamam as a runner.

Done, independent Manchester bookmakers, said its customers who had backed Cape Verdi prior to 25 May to win the Oaks would have their bets transferred to the Derby.

Epsom's clerk of the course, Andrew Cooper, said yesterday that after a dry night, then a shower, the going was still good.

Derby betting

Horse C H L

Second Empire 11-4 9-4 9-4

Greek Dance 7-2 7-2 7-2

Cape Verdi *3-1 4-1 7-2

King Of Kings 8-1 8-1 8-1

City Honours 9-1 9-1 10-1

Gulland 10-1 10-1 10-1

Haami 14-1 16-1 16-1

Courteous 16-1 16-1 16-1

Border Arrow 20-1 20-1 20-1

High Rise 20-1 20-1 25-1

The Glow Worm 20-1 20-1 25-1

Sadian 33-1 33-1 33-1

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