Unbeaten Karpino and Sumbal set to make late Derby dash
The embarrassment of the Coolmore partners in trying to come up with a credible successor to Pour Moi, Camelot, Ruler Of The World and Australia as their next anointed Derby winner has not gone unnoticed among their newest and most moneyed rivals.
The unbeaten pair Karpino, winner of the German 2,000 Guineas on Monday, and Sumbal, who won the traditional French trial the Prix Greffulhe earlier this month, have emerged as late candidates for supplementary entry for the Classic, run at Epsom on Saturday week. Both are in Qatari ownership.
In addition, Criquette Head-Maarek's highly strung Epicuris will now run in the Derby, for which he retains an entry, rather than Sunday's Prix du Jockey Club, because he has been denied the assistance of the Head family's favoured horse whisperer Nicolas Blondeau at the start in France.
Epicuris, a Group One winner at two, refused to enter the stalls for the Greffulhe, leaving Sumbal to run out a six-length winner from two rivals.
Since then, the Danehill Dancer colt has impressed in his work for jockey Andrea Atzeni, who has the same ownership's Elm Park, on whom he won the Racing Post Trophy and finished third in the Dante Stakes, as a yardstick.
Karpino, trained by Andreas Wohler, beat Fanciful Angel, a Listed winner at Lingfield last month, by four and a half lengths at Cologne.
The Cape Cross colt, out of a full-sister to the 2001 St Leger winner Milan, would be in his element over the extra four furlongs at Epsom.
After satisfactory workouts at the track yesterday the leading hopes Golden Horn, which is the favourite at around 7-4, Jack Hobbs, as well as Elm Park, remain on course to meet him there, should he take up the challenge.
Trainer John Gosden was delighted with Golden Horn and Jack Hobbs in the workouts.
Golden Horn rocketed to the top of ante-post lists for the mile-and-a-half Classic with a brilliant display in the Dante Stakes, beating his stable companion Jack Hobbs into second.
The Clarehaven pair will clash again on June 6 after handling the contours with aplomb, with only unsuitably fast ground likely to prevent the participation of Jack Hobbs.
Golden Horn and Frankie Dettori tracked lead horse Dick Doughtywylie before asserting in the final furlong, while Jack Hobbs, who will carry the blue of Godolphin for the first time next month, comfortably beat his lead horse, Marzocco, in the hands of William Buick.
Gosden said: "I was very happy with them. They relaxed well and moved well down the hill. It was just a breezy piece of work.
"They are young horses and it was a good experience for them to feel their way around the track. It is a peculiar track and it is something that you can't rehearse at home.
"They will do a piece of work at the weekend and then we will be where we want to be with them.
"I think it is an interesting race, even though people have made it a bit one dimensional.
"I am pretty sure that Jack Hobbs will get the trip and Golden Horn will probably get it on account that he is very laid-back.
"That will help him as, if it is a true test, he will need to see out the mile and a half.
"I wanted Frankie to stay with his lead horse on Golden Horn as he is a good lead horse, while I was keen on Jack Hobbs coming away from his lead horse Marzocco, as he is a stayer, and having a look. They were matched up well.
"Golden Horn was asleep, and that temperament is a big plus. If you don't relax early on you won't stay.
"Jack Hobbs is an equally laid-back horse but he was very much on the ball."