Racing: Lucido puts Quinn in a Derby tangle

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THE DERBY picture was becoming increasingly murky until yesterday when John Dunlop, or rather one of his owners, turned on the filter. Lucido, the winner of Lingfield's Epsom trial with perhaps the most persuasive three-year-old performance of the season, will now be supplemented for the Blue Riband at a cost of pounds 75,000.

The colt's owner, Hildegarde Focke, had been pondering Lucido's participation ever since he beat Daliapour, a leading Derby fancy, 10 days ago. She may have been influenced by recent events, or non-events. Nothing of obvious great merit has surfaced in the last week. Or she may have been persuaded by her last launch into such speculation.

Last autumn, Mrs Focke put Leggera into the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe just three days before the big race and then saw the filly fail by only a neck to overhaul Sagamix.

Dunlop said in a statement yesterday: "It has been decided by the owner of Lucido to supplement him for the Derby, which will be done at the appropriate time [a week before the race] providing his preparation continues satisfactorily.''

Lucido's inclusion has further complicated the Classic arrangements for Richard Quinn, his rider at Lingfield. As well as Dunlop's horse, the Scot has ridden Brancaster, Housemaster and Salford Express on their latest appearances. He is thought privately to prefer Housemaster, the disqualified Chester Vase winner, to the Dante Stakes victor Salford Express, but now a further factor enters the equation.

Another lodger at Arundel's Castle Stables, Adnaan, competes in the last recognised Derby trial, Goodwood's Predominate Stakes, today. It is some time since this Listed race provided us with a significant Derby contender. Pentire, the winner four years ago, went on to collect the 1996 King George at Ascot, but the finger has to trace down the record books to 1979 and Troy to find a subsequent Blue Riband winner. However, in this year of scattered clues, it may be that the Predominate, 20 years on, can once again be an influence for Epsom.

Until the Guineas meeting, Adnaan was probably Dunlop's No 1 consideration for the Derby. Lucido had by then won at Newbury but his trainer preferred the well-bred chestnut back home. The son of Nashwan and Whakilyric was, though, well beaten behind Beat All in the Newmarket Stakes. Adnaan has much to prove this afternoon.

Paul Cole fields Red Sea, but his Classic favour lies with a horse unlikely to be seen before Epsom. "Markan is my Derby horse," he says, "but he must have fast ground. He's a very active horse with a lot of speed.''

Markan's reputation at Whatcombe is such that he was made favourite for Royal Ascot's Chesham Stakes on his two-year-old debut. He failed there, as he did in Newmarket's Feilden Stakes last month, but on both occasions the going was against him. In between was a handsome victory on firm ground at Newbury. At 50-1, Markan might not be the worst value in the Derby. The Cole stable won the race with Generous in 1991.

Godolphin were up to their ears in early considerations but now seem to be down to Adair and Dubai Millennium, who runs in the Predominate as long there has been some overnight rain. His trainer will walk the course this morning.

Dubai Millennium won easily at Doncaster earlier this month and now steps up in distance and class. "We'd like to run this fellow tomorrow in order to get a good guide to his level," Simon Crisford, the Godolphin racing manager, said yesterday. "The trip won't be a problem but we'll learn something from [the way he does] it.''

Adair is beginning to flourish, but the vibes remain that he will be a better horse in the summer. "He's doing fine at the moment and he'll go straight to the Derby first time up," Crisford said. "The ground was desperate at York and we wouldn't have run him anyway even if he had been declared. He's not the type of horse you'd want to pull apart on soft ground so close to the Derby.

"He'll be there in time for the race but he's the type of horse who will improve throughout the whole season.''

DERBY: Latest betting (Wm Hill): 6-1 Beat All, 7-1 Oath, 8-1 Lucido, 10-1 Adair, Dubai Millennium, 12- 1 Housemaster, Montjeu, 14-1 Commander Collins, Salford Express, 20-1 others.