Horses To Follow » Christophermarlowe


Christophermarlowe put up an impressive performance to win the Investec Derby Trial at Epsom on Wednesday.

Quickly into his stride and into a nice racing rhythm for Frankie Dettori behind a good pace that was set by Dance Of Fire, he had to be niggled a little as they came down around Tattenham Corner, but the fact that he handled the turn and the downhill run well despite the fact that he was being niggled along is a significant positive. He moved up on the outside of the leader at the three-furlong pole, and he had moved a length and a half clear by the time they reached the two-furlong pole. Main market rival Future Empire started to stay on from the rear, and he appeared as a threat as they neared the furlong pole, but Christophermarlowe found plenty in front. He galloped on resolutely all the way to the line, and he had four lengths in hand of the Godolphin horse as they crossed the winning line.

This race is not often a good pointer to the Derby, despite its name and the fact that it is run over 10 furlongs of the Derby course. That said, the winner put up a likeable performance. He didn’t show a flashy turn of foot, but he handled the track well – as he had when he won a conditions race over a mile there in September – he picked up well at the top of the home straight, and he galloped on willingly. In so doing he left the impression that the extra two furlongs of the Derby would hold no fears. Actually, he raced like he would improve for a step up in trip and, from the family of stayer Far Cry and out of a mare who won a Grade 3 race over a mile and a half, his breeding backs up that hypothesis. As well as that, the time of the race was good, 0.26secs/furlong slower than Racing Post standard on good ground, the fastest comparative time of the day on the round course and over three seconds faster than the time that Collaboration clocked in winning the City and Suburban Handicap a half an hour later.

Trainer John Gosden said afterwards that a mile and a quarter would be as short as the Tapit colt would want this year, and that he is a generous colt who is at his best on good fast ground. He spoke about stepping up in trip now, perhaps for the Lingfield Derby Trial or the Chester Vase, and that is interesting. He would be a leading player in either of those races, and he could be an interesting outsider for the Derby itself.

22nd April 2015