NORTH Yorkshire trainer Karl Burke says he has nothing to lose – and everything to gain – by running 100-1 outsider Biodynamic in the Investec Derby at Epsom this Saturday.
A slightly unlucky fourth in the Chester Vase to Aidan O’Brien’s US Army Ranger, one of the 4-1 favourites for the blue riband Classic, connections intend to take their chance because this year’s renewal appears to be the most wide open for years.
Biodynamic, whose solitary career success came on the Kempton all-weather at the end of March, runs in the pink, orange and white colours of Scandinavian businessman Hubert Strecker whose Libertarian won York’s Dante Stakes in 2013 before finishing second to Ruler Of The World at Epsom.
“He’s definitely running barring accidents,” Leyburn-based Burke told The Yorkshire Post last night. “It’s an open year, and he has a fair bit to find, and the owner is keen to have a go.”
Unlike many of the 18 declared runners who will be racing over a mile and a half for the first time, this was the distance of the Chester trial and Burke believes his horse was slightly unlucky not to finish third after being hampered.
“It’s the Derby. There’s only one Derby and we are keen to give it a go,” said Burke. “It’s a fantastic day out, but I didn’t expect to have another run so soon after Libertarian. If they had gone a stronger pace earlier on the race, he could easily have won.”
These are exciting times for Burke’s Spigot Lodge stables where more than 100 horses are in training.
He has high hopes for Percy Street who runs in Epsom’s curtain-raiser on Derby day while the filly Quiet Reflection is Royal Ascot-bound following her scintillating success in Saturday’s Sandy Lane Stakes at Haydock.
The most significant win recorded by North Yorkshire jockey Dougie Costello since he switched from National Hunt racing to the Flat last summer, the Group One Commonwealth Cup now beckons. “She’s a high class filly and she heads for the Commonwealth Cup barring the ground coming up very soft,” added Burke. “It was a fantastic performance.”
Meanwhile, Frankie Dettori had a pre-Derby scare when he parted company from Magillen at Leicester.
The slippery conditions prompted racing at the Midlands track to be abandoned after just two races, though clerk of the course Jimmy Stevenson reported that horse and rider were “fine”. Dettori, victorious at Epsom last year on Golden Horn, is due to ride Dante winner Wings of Desire this Saturday.
In other news, two-time champion jockey Paul Hanagan has been confirmed as the rider of the well-fancied Massaat who was runner-up to Galileo Gold in Newmarket’s 2000 Guineas.
Irish trainer Dermot Weld’s Harzand was attracting significant market support after heavy rain saw conditions at Epsom declared as “good to soft, soft in places” – going which will place an added premium on stamina if the course does not dry out before the weekend.