Grimthorpe keeps faith in Workforce to thrive if Derby rivals head abroad

Well, Coordinated Cut managed to get round Tattenham Corner without falling over, even though his jockey and trainer were stranded in Newmarket. And both Simon Shaw and John Virgo, dignifying the occasion with the curiosity of other sports, elected to place their charity bets on Bullet Train. Otherwise, it must be admitted, Breakfast With The Stars fell somewhat short of its formal billing at Epsom yesterday morning. But that is not to say that this annual promotional ritual failed to stimulate appetites for the Investec Derby, now just eight days away.

Many of the central protagonists instead offered their insights via a telephone link, while one man who did show up for his maple cured bacon was Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager to Khaled Abdulla. His patron has two formidable candidates apiece for the Derby, in Workforce and Bullet Train, and the Investec Oaks, in Timepiece and Aviate – so compounding a sense that the heavy artillery at Epsom this year is concentrated in very few hands.

The first four in the Derby betting, of course, are all stabled at Ballydoyle. Aidan O'Brien and his employers have for some reason got it into their heads that one of them – either Jan Vermeer or, most likely, Cape Blanco – should instead run in the Prix du Jockey-Club, at Chantilly 24 hours after the Derby. It has been well observed that this represents a peculiar departure from their standard practice, which is to identify the best of their middle- distance colts by running them against each other at Epsom, and making do with a reserve tier for France.

And perhaps the single most pertinent message, from all the hopes and fears expressed here yesterday, was that this apparent shift in policy makes no sense to those who will welcome it most. Certainly, connections of the two colts who finished behind Cape Blanco in the Dante Stakes will be heartily relieved should he be diverted to Chantilly. And the case being made for both Workforce and Coordinated Cut raises the outlandish possibility that they could fight out the finish of the Derby, while the colt who beat them comprehensively at York is picking at hay in his stall back in Co Tipperary.

"We think there is a great deal of improvement in Workforce," Grimthorpe said. "It took a while for him to get organised at York, when Ryan [Moore] pulled him out, and the bit slipping through his mouth didn't help – though I can't imagine he would have beaten Cape Blanco. We just feel he has potential to keep improving for the rest of the year."

Grimthorpe is comforted by the fact that Workforce is trained by a man whose four previous successes make him so well qualified to recognise a legitimate Derby colt. From Newmarket, Sir Michael Stoute offered his own endorsement for Workforce, who had passed his final audition round Lingfield the previous day. "He is a bit short of experience," Stoute said. "The initial plan was to give him two races before the Derby, but he just didn't come to himself in the spring. But I like the way he's gone forward since the Dante. It pulled him together quite a bit."

The trainer of Coordinated Cut, meanwhile, proposes several reasons for the colt to leave his York form behind. For one thing, Michael Bell has long felt that Coordinated Cut would relish the extra distance at Epsom, but he also believes that an attempt to dig into his stamina in the Dante backfired. Jamie Spencer will ride him more conservatively in the Derby, where Bell also suspects the colt will demonstrate that he was short of peak fitness at York.

With their helicopter grounded, Bell decided to allow the veteran Ernie Johnson to replace Spencer on Coordinated Cut in a gentle canter over the course. Johnson, who won the 1969 Derby on Blakeney, was back here to ride the Oaks outsider, Champagnelifestyle, the only other Classic contender taking the opportunity for a public reconnaissance of the notorious Epsom gradients. Somewhat abashed by his sudden return to the public gaze, Johnson confined himself to describing both his partners as "very professional".

Needless to say, O'Brien could easily be vindicated in his undiminished faith in St Nicholas Abbey, still favourite despite being the only one of his four contenders not to win his trial. And it may equally be that Cape Blanco's speedy maternal pedigree is simply viewed as too porous, in stamina terms, and that the shorter distance at Chantilly will prove more suitable. But O'Brien's own observations to this gathering left no doubt as to the stakes when John Magnier and his partners in Coolmore Stud finally make their decision.

"The whole breed is controlled by the Derby," O'Brien said. "All these horses are bred, fed, reared and trained to run in the race. It's very hard on a horse, and on all his ancestors, to say: 'You're not going to run in the Derby.' It's all about that piece of timber at Epsom. The lads will make the decision, and that's what their business is all about."

Kieren Fallon is evidently optimistic that he could get a call from his former employers, perhaps even for Jan Vermeer, so impressive at the Curragh on Sunday. Mark Tompkins certainly had "a hell of a job trying to get hold of him" yesterday after finding himself without a jockey for the Chester Vase winner, Ted Spread. Deciding that he could not wait, Tompkins will instead replace Darryll Holland, who fractured a collar-bone at Beverley on Wednesday, with Michael Hills.

Harry Findlay, co-owner of Denman among many others, has been charged by the British Horseracing Authority with laying one of his own horses on a betting exchange. The colourful gambler evidently backed Gullible Gordon for two races, in 2008 and 2009, before trading back a portion of his win stakes. Though exasperated by the length of the investigation since, he has acknowledged that the BHA might administer "a slap on a wrist" on a strict interpretation of its rules.

Turf account

Nap

Spirit Is Needed (4.40 Newmarket) Reappearance suggests he will conform to type for his in-form stable, proving a relentless galloper to see off more exposed rivals at Haydock. Will be better still raised in distance, but should be equal to a penalty here.

Next best

Comedy Act (3.55 Newcastle) Just lacked the pace to win a similar affair over a mile on his return, but his pedigree promises that he will be able to surpass a modest initial rating over this kind of distance.

One to watch

Music Of The Moor (T P Tate) Is on the upgrade and was unlucky not to run down an unexposed favourite at Ripon earlier in the week, travelling strongly but produced just too late.

Where the money's going

Rewilding, likely to be confirmed as Frankie Dettori's partner once Al Zir has had his final gallop, is 9-1 from 11-1 with William Hill for the Investec Derby a week tomorrow.

News
Russia Today’s new UK channel began broadcasting yesterday. Discussions so far have included why Britons see Russia as ‘the bad guy’
news

New UK station Russia Today gives a very bizarre view of Britain

News
people
News
people
Voices
Left: An illustration of the original Jim Crowe, played by TD Rice Right: A Couple dressed as Ray and Janay Rice
voices

By performing as African Americans or Indians, white people get to play act a kind of 'imaginary liberation', writes Michael Mark Cohen

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Hand out press photograph/film still from the movie Mad Max Fury Road (Downloaded from the Warner Bro's media site/Jasin Boland/© 2014 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)
films'You have to try everything and it’s all a process of elimination, but ultimately you find your path'
Arts and Entertainment
Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter films
books

New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site this morning

News
people

Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy

Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch at the premiere of The Imitation Game at the BFI London Film Festival
filmsKeira Knightley tried to miss The Imitation Game premiere to watch Bake Off
News
i100
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

Mobile Developer (.NET / C# / Jason / Jquery / SOA)

£40000 - £65000 per annum + bonus + benefits + OT: Ampersand Consulting LLP: M...

Humanities Teacher - Greater Manchester

£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: The JobAt ...

Design Technology Teacher

£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Calling al...

Foundation Teacher

£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: EYFS Teachers - East Essex...

Day In a Page

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes