Epsom expects prompt Approach in Derby

Even though Jim Bolger may have given punters something of a runaround over New Approach's participation in the Derby, the Epsom authorities will not countenance a repeat of the pre-race walkabout the colt performed before the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket.

The Rowley Mile showpiece was six minutes late off, thanks to the leisurely stroll to the start by New Approach. He was accompanied by his "security blanket" in the form of non-participating stablemate Metamorphosis and, while there has been no suggestion that the resultant delay was in any way tactical, his rivals were rather left waiting his lordship's pleasure.

The concept of being escorted, or "ponied", to the start is borrowed from North America, where runners are routinely led by outriders. The practice has been permissible here for the past two years and for a high-mettled, even quirky, horse like New Approach, is a boon. The close presence of a familiar member of his kind prevents too much independent thought and keeps the star relaxed.

But at Newmarket last month, the precautionary privilege came close to being abused. New Approach and Kevin Manning were taken to the parade ring by Metamorphosis and Bolger's assistant Adrian Taylor and picked up again by their wingmen on the exit to the track. Last away in the canter parade, the quartet then slowed and completed the last half-mile in their own time.

"We are delighted that the champion two-year-old may be running and are anticipating a request from Jim Bolger to allow New Approach to be ponied," Epsom clerk of the course, Andrew Cooper, said yesterday, "and in principle there will obviously be no problem. But the details of the manner and timing have yet to be discussed.

"We want the race to be off on time. And the other runners must be fairly treated and not inconvenienced. A delay due to ponying, such as happened at Newmarket, will be unacceptable."

Timekeeping at Epsom lately has been good, after some deplorable efforts during the Nineties. Sinndar's race in 2000 went off on the button and since then the only prolonged delay came two years ago, when poor, ill-fated Horatio Nelson's soundness was checked at the start.

Whether Metamorphosis will be allowed into the saddling ring or the parade in front of the stands remains to be seen but he will be an integral part of the Glebe House team on the day. A four-year-old gelded "cousin" of Teofilo (their dams are half-sisters), he is all but useless as a racehorse but is still worth every oat he eats.

In the wake of New Approach's on-off-on Derby run some bookmakers adopted what they hope will be seen as the good guy role yesterday, acting to sweeten the pill for punters who took his trainer's word that the son of Galileo, runner-up in the 2,000 Guineas and Irish equivalent, would not be lining up at Epsom.

Boylesports will settle all bets, win or each-way, placed between 21 April, when Bolger announced the race a definite no-go for the winter favourite, and Monday, when he revealed his U-turn, without the chestnut, who is now as short as 5-1 third favourite behind Casual Conflict and Curtain Call. Another Irish firm, Paddy Power, will add a 20 per cent bonus to winning bets on other horses struck within the same timeframe.

The easing of the ground at Epsom was a prime factor in Bolger's change of heart – New Approach hated every stride of his Guineas effort at the Curragh on firm going nine days ago – and Cooper yesterday reported the ground on the Downs soft, good to soft in places. "That is as soft as it should get," he said. "We are not anticipating much more rain and the weather is set to improve."

Scare stories are par for the course in the build-up to the Derby and the latest came when 6-1 shot Tajaaweed, just about best-fancied of the three Sir Michael Stoute contenders, pulled a shoe off in his stable. His connections quickly allayed fears that the Dynaformer colt, winner of Chester's Dee Stakes, would miss Saturday's £1.4m contest.

"When the stable staff went to feed him they noticed he had lost a shoe," Angus Gold, racing manager for owner Hamdan Al-Maktoum said, "but he is not lame and providing there are no problems when they put a shoe back on tomorrow, he should be ready to rock and roll."

It could be considered that Tajaaweed's name, unattractive to English eyes, lessens his chance of victory. But in Arabic it commands deep respect; it refers to bettering one's knowledge of the rules of recitation when applied to the Koran.

The final field for Friday's Oaks will be decided this morning. The market is dominated by Irish-trained fillies, with Bolger's Lush Lashes favourite ahead of Dermot Weld-trained Chinese White, but the horse for money yesterday was one of the seven Aidan O'Brien possibles, Adored. The daughter of Galileo, winner of a 10-furlong Curragh Group Three last time, has been backed into 12-1 with Sail, the perceived stable first string, a notable drifter.

Suggested Topics
News
people

Arts and Entertainment
JJ Abrams' seventh Star Wars, The Force Awakens
filmsThe first glimpse of Episode VII has gone online after weeks of anticipation
News
Michael Buerk in the I'm A Celebrity jungle 2014
people
Arts and Entertainment
The cast of Downton Abbey in the 2014 Christmas special
art

Presents unwrapped, turkey gobbled... it's time to relax

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

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Skilled Machinist

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: They are in need of additional skilled machini...

Recruitment Genius: Toolmaker

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: They are in need of additional skilled toolmak...

Langley James : Head of IT; e-commerce; Blackburn; up to £55k

£50000 - £55000 per annum: Langley James : Head of IT; e-commerce; Blackburn; ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Manager

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you have experience of B2B s...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game