Racing: Gulland is given Derby go-ahead

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The Independent Online
GEOFF WRAGG yesterday gave the former favourite Gulland the go- ahead to run in the Derby. A trip to Epsom has put to rest the trainer's fears that the ground will be too firm for his colt, so he has scrapped plans to switch the Chester Vase winner to Sunday's Prix du Jockey-Club at Chantilly and reverted to the original target of the Epsom Classic six days later.

"The decision has been made and Gulland will go to Epsom," Wragg revealed. "I have been to Epsom and it is genuine good ground from what I saw yesterday - the ground is very good. The forecast is unsettled too. And it will be better for me to have an extra few days to get him ready."

Gulland topped the ante-post market on the Derby after chasing home Xaar in last month's Craven Stakes at Newmarket only to be pushed out in the betting after a less than impressive win over The Glow Worm at Chester three weeks ago. He is quoted at 8-1 by William Hill.

"Gulland is very well and I am very pleased with him," Wragg added. "Everything is going OK. I am never confident but he has earned the right to be one of the favourites and we have got our fingers crossed!"

Gulland will be only a fourth Derby runner and a first in 10 years for Wragg, who won the race with Teenoso in 1983.

The trainer, whose King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes winner Pentire missed the race because he was originally thought not good enough to enter, sent out 5-2 favourite Red Glow to finish fourth in 1988.

Michael Hills will again ride Gulland, leaving his trainer father Barry looking for a rider if The Glow Worm reopposes at Epsom.

Leading Derby hope Haami "delighted" John Dunlop yesterday morning in a racecourse workout. He was put through his paces at Goodwood in a gallop with last year's Derby second Silver Patriarch, who is warming up for next Friday's Coronation Cup.

And his trainer's racing secretary Marcus Hosgood revealed: "Mr Dunlop was very, very happy. They went over about a mile and a furlong at Goodwood this morning and it went fine. The trainer is delighted. Pat Eddery will ride Silver Patriarch at Epsom but I'm not sure about whether Richard Hills will be on Haami as Hamdan Al Maktoum also has Mutamam in the Derby."

Haami has been prominent in the Derby betting since he finished fifth to King Of Kings in the 2,000 Guineas and is quoted at 10-1 by Ladbrokes.

Ladbrokes yesterday cut Courteous's price for the Vodafone Derby from 20-1 into 16-1 after the colt was confirmed an intended runner at Epsom. And punters were warned to respect the Paul Cole-trained colt in the Classic a week on Saturday, even though he will be running for the first time since he won the Classic Trial at Sandown last month.

"He hasn't run again but that was always the plan," stressed Anthony Penfold, racing manager to owner Fahd Salman. "He is a May 14 foal and a late developer and we didn't want to give him another hard race. He has come on for the race, done everything we have asked of him and worked well at Newbury last weekend. He won on soft ground at Sandown but we feel he will be equally effective on better ground. He is a very good mover and we were anxious before Sandown about whether he would handle the ground."

Courteous, who will be ridden at Epsom by Richard Quinn, had attracted little ante-post support in recent days, as he had been thought more likely to go for the French Derby. But Penfold stressed: "It was only ever a possibility he was going to France. We had always kept our options open and going to Epsom is not a change of plan."

l Silver Patriarch, short-headed by Benny The Dip at Epsom 12 months ago, has been confirmed a runner in the Coronation Cup at Epsom a week tomorrow.

RICHARD EDMONDSON

NAP: Davis Rock

(Ayr 3.50)

NB: Last Lap

(Ayr 4.20)

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