English King is a real Derby contender
The unusual start to the 2020 Flat season didn’t make the Lingfield Derby trial any deeper than normal. It was an all-British affair for the first time since 2012 and the pair at the head of the betting, English King and Berkshire Rocco, pulled clear of the remainder off a strong gallop.
Stamina was thoroughly tested and the strong-travelling English King (117p from 101p) registered an impressive success, his performance right up there with some of the better recent winners of the race.
The form of his win at Newcastle last season has worked out strongly, he has clearly progressed well and ENGLISH KING is a fascinating contender in what at this stage looks an open Derby at Epsom.
He is the type to go on improving for a while yet and deserves to be right towards the head of the market.
The 2000 Guineas looks solid form
KAMEKO made another jolt of improvement to add a classic win to his Group 1 success in the Racing Post Trophy as a juvenile. That racing in Britain had resumed just five days prior to this first classic of the season obviously meant that none of the horses had had a prep run, but a strong gallop and fast conditions on the day meant that Kameko recorded the fastest ever time in the 2000 Guineas.
It is hard to argue that Kameko wasn’t a very worthy winner on the day, particularly as he suffered the worst of the interference in what was largely a clean race, and the principals came to the fore.
It was a strong field that assembled, with seven of the 15 runners all pattern winners in 2019 – including the outstanding two-year-old Pinatubo, who was just the third colt this century to start odds-on (after Frankel and Air Force Blue).
However, he failed to match the form of his Dewhurst win, never mind his scintillating performance in the National Stakes last season.
It is hard to blame the step up to a mile as Pinatubo never travelled with his usual fluency, and there is a chance that his contemporaries have caught up with him. Perhaps they’ve progressed past him physically and that could be the main explanation.
Love will be difficult to beat in the Epsom Oaks
The 1000 Guineas went back to Ireland for the fifth time in the last six years, with Aidan O’Brien gaining more classic success with Love, his only runner in the feature on Sunday.
The British challenge wasn’t as strong as it could have been though, with the Rockfel winner Daahyeh and Fillies’ Mile second Powerful Breeze both missing the race through injury. However, it was still a much-improved display from Love, yet another filly from the yard to really kick on as a three-year-old despite having had plenty of racing as a juvenile.
Love raced seven times last season, but looked much stronger on Sunday and hit the line powerfully as you would expect from a filly with such a strong middle-distance pedigree.
She is now a short-priced favourite for the Oaks and will be well suited by the step up in trip to a mile and a half, so will take all the beating at Epsom.