Epsom Downs saw G1 Betfred Derby and Oaks hopefuls going through their paces Monday with Frankie Dettori partnering Juddmonte's Arrest (Ire), a homebred son of Frankel (GB), over just short of a mile at The Derby Festival Gallops Morning. Now in his final year in the saddle, Dettori likes his chances in the 244th running of the premier Classic over a mile and a half to be run on Saturday, June 3.
“I have been fortunate enough to win The Derby twice and it is still the most famous race in the world for us. When I started my career as a jockey, first of all you want to get a ride in it and then try to win it. I've had over 20 rides in it and this is my last go. At least I am going into my last Derby with a great chance,” said Dettori after the gallop. “This year is a lot of lasts. I went to Rome yesterday and it was my last Derby there. I saw the vice Prime Minister and he gave me a plaque congratulating me on my career. Now it's my last Derby here and I have a live chance, which is good.”
Co-trainer John Gosden was equally pleased, adding: “This horse can change gears, absolutely. He's a big boy and he proved he stayed the other day [in the May 10 G3 Chester Vase] when he handled the conditions. He doesn't need it to be like that.
“Stamina is a requirement in this race, the same for the GI Kentucky Derby going a mile and a quarter for the Americans, they see it as a marathon. He's got the stamina, no problem.”
Arrest visited the winner's enclosure twice in 2022 and was having his first run of the season in the Chester Vase.
Not long behind her stablemate, Running Lion (GB) (Roaring Lion) worked just under a mile with three-time champion jockey Oisin Murphy in the irons, who is looking to continue his noteworthy return to the races after serving a 14-month ban for alcohol and Covid breaches. The grey won the Listed Howden Pretty Polly S. at Newmarket on her last start and appeared to handle the track well Monday before pulling clear of her lead horse.
“We were obviously delighted with Running Lion at Newmarket. She came out of the race well and today she went down very relaxed,” said Murphy afterwards. “Once I got her organised, although she didn't take too much organising, I let her go forward in the straight but I resisted the temptation to ask her for an effort because I thought the Pretty Polly with a little bit of dig in the ground wasn't long ago.”
Her rider does admit, however, that he has concerns regarding the stamina requirements for a contest of this calibre, ones echoed by the senior Gosden:
“Stamina-wise you never really know until you go a mile and a half. Everyone thinks it is a downhill track but it rises 150ft before you think about coming down hill and of course that last section where it climbs again at the finish can catch a lot of them out on stamina. Both the fillies have a lot of speed. It's hard to say until you know with the trip, they're both bred to be mile-and-a-quarter fillies and the last part is always the key, we don't know. You can't practice a race over a mile and a half at home, I don't think.”