Our Channel on course for Derby with Epsom trial surprise


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The Independent Online

William Haggas gained a wild card for the Derby today upon which his reputation as the shrewdest of Epsom Classic trainers will now be staked, after Our Channel's narrow victory in the Derby Trial earned the colt a guaranteed place back on the Downs come 7 June.

The trainer won the Derby with his only previous runner in 1996 with Shaamit, then landed the Oaks at the first attempt with Dancing Rain in 2011, before Vow spoilt a perfect strike rate when only fourth in the fillies' Classic two years ago.

Our Channel, the wide-margin winner of a Beverley maiden on his last start at two, made all under Ryan Moore, who outmanouevred his rivals on the camber throughout the home straight, to gain a head defeat of Marzocco and enter the Derby market at 66-1.

Maureen Haggas, the trainer's wife, said: "The owner, Abdulla al-Mansoori, would like to go for the Derby and he was instrumental in coming here today. I'm not sure he'll stay, but there's only one Derby and I don't imagine he'll run again before then."

Haggas has one shot at the opening Classics, with his dual Lingfield winner Ertijaal among 27 left in the 2,000 Guineas at Wednesday's acceptance stage.

Godolphin's True Story, third in the Derby betting after a thunderous victory in the Feilden Stakes at the Craven Meeting last week, has also shortened for the Guineas, where he would meet the Epsom favourite Australia. The Newmarket trial has a dismal record as a pointer to either Classic, though.