Great Voltigeur could be stepping stone to St Leger

Red Verdon pictured with George Baker on board winning the Choice Teachers Handicap at Haydock Park (Picture: Tim Goode/PA Wire).
Red Verdon pictured with George Baker on board winning the Choice Teachers Handicap at Haydock Park (Picture: Tim Goode/PA Wire).
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IRISH Derby fourth Red Verdon is likely to be aimed at the Ladbrokes St Leger.

Trainer Ed Dunlop has set his sights on the Doncaster Classic, with a possible crack at the Great Voltigeur at York beforehand.

Red Verdon finished nearly eight lengths closer to dual Derby winner Harzand in Ireland than he had at Epsom.

But Dunlop feels he could have further narrowed that gap.

“Red Verdon ran very well in the Irish Derby, but it was frustrating that he did not get third place,” said the trainer, whose Trip To Paris won last year’s Ascot Gold Cup.

“On the bare form, he has improved nearly eight lengths on his Derby run, but I feel if he hadn’t got quite so far back he would have been third.

“He has come out of his race very well and arrived back here safely at La Grange, the aim is more than likely the St Leger now, with the Great Voltigeur possibly a stepping stone to it beforehand.”

Meanwhile two supplementary entries have been received for the Coral-Eclipse to leave a potential field of 11 at Sandown on Saturday.

Godolphin announced that Royal Ascot winner Hawkbill was to be added to the field, while Roger Charlton also put in Countermeasure.

His presence is to ensure a strong pace for his stablemate Time Test, one-time ante-post favourite for the race and set to run as long as conditions are suitable.

Aidan O’Brien is strongly represented. Dante Stakes runner-up Deauville skipped the Irish Derby in favour of this, but the Ballydoyle trainer has stated he would not be at home on soft ground.

French 2000 Guineas winner The Gurkha, viewed by some as an unlucky loser in the St James’s Palace Stakes, could step up in trip to 10 furlongs for the first time and has emerged as O’Brien’s number one contender, taking over at the head of the markets.

As for Hawkbill, the Charlie Appleby-trained runner will head to the Esher venue on the crest of a wave having won each of his last five starts.

The most recent of those wins came in the Tercentenary Stakes at Royal Ascot – won last year by Time Test – and connections feel he is ready to step up to the highest level.

John Ferguson, Godolphin’s chief executive and racing manager, said: “He is taking a step up, but we feel he deserves to take his chance.”

Love Dreams looked an exciting prospect when running out an impressive all-the-way winner of the EBF Stallions Spindrifter Conditions Stakes at Pontefract. Just 12 days after making a successful debut at Hamilton, the Mark Johnston-trained colt had little difficulty in seeing off his three rivals under Silvestre de Sousa.

Middleham-based Johnston said: “He needs a bit of experience, he’s a slow learner at the best of times.

“I don’t think we’ll see the best of him for a while. He’s got a lovely attitude, but he’s just a baby. You saw it in the parade ring and in the race. He’s got a lot of learning to do. It took him a while to learn the job at home and it’s going to take a while on the racecourse, but he is a lovely horse for the future.”