By Harry Wilson
The 2022 Flat season is picking up pace and it is full steam ahead to the first of the Classics – the Qipco 2,000 Guineas and 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket – on April 30 and May 1 respectively.
Market movers come thick and fast as the key Classic trials are run in Britain and Ireland, but big-race contenders can come from anywhere and it’s easy to miss a potential dark horse. Our Classic Clues series, which runs every morning, has you covered.
Here’s a recap of the action on Wednesday and how it has impacted the Classic betting, while we mark your card with key names to note on Thursday and Friday.
Racing round-up: has Bellewstown thrown up a possible Derby dark horse?
Aidan O’Brien has won three of the last five runnings of the Derby, all with horses that punters wouldn’t necessarily have picked, including the 2020 runaway winner Serpentine who was 25-1, so it’s good to look at his options.
sun king won at the fifth time of asking in a mile maiden at Bellewstown on Wednesday, leading for most of the race and keeping on strongly in the final furlong under Seamie Heffernan.
The son of Galileo holds an entry for the Dante, as well as the British and Irish Derbys, and is currently 50-1 for the Epsom Classic.
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Sun King: caught the eye at Bellewstown
Although a colt who took five starts to win doesn’t scream Classic winner, 2017 winner Wings Of Eagles also won just eleven in his first five runs for O’Brien before running out a 40-1 victor of the Derby.
It’s impossible to rule out an O’Brien runner when it comes to the Classics, so write this one off at your own peril.
All eyes on… Friday’s Derby trial at Sandown
The majority of Thursday’s action takes place over obstacles, so let’s cast our eyes on to the Derby trial that takes place on Friday at Sandown in the form of the bet365 Classic Trial (3.35).
Seven runners line up for this with six holding entries for Epsom, the exception being the Andrew Balding-trained ground breakerwho has a Dante entry.
After their dominance of the Classic trials so far, the best place to start is with William Buick and Charlie Appleby, who go with Zetland Stakes winner Goldspur.
With his staying capabilities already proven at this trip coupled with his close third in the Group 1 Criterium de Saint-Cloud on his final start at two, the Godolphin-owned Goldspur is likely to be well fancied.
He will face some very unexposed rivals, none more so than once-raced first-time-out winners River Thames, Cash and Franz Strausswhose form has all been franked courtesy of the second-placed horses winning on their next starts.
With the majority of the field being priced at no shorter than 33-1 for the Derby, it would be unwise to rule out the Gosdens, who also run Frantastic, even if their three-year-old contingent seem to be needing a run. It should be noted they have taken two of the last five runnings of the Classic Trial.
Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
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Sandown is the place to watch for Classic clues this week
Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
How the markets look
bet365: 5-4 Native Trail, 7-2 Coroebus, 9-2 Luxembourg, 11 Perfect Power, 12 Point Lonsdale, 14 Dubawi Legend, 20 Checkandchallenge, 25 bar
SkyBet: 5-2 Inspiral, 4 Tenebrism, 9 Discoveries, 10 Homeless Songs, Tuesday, 12 Zellie, 14 Malavath, Cachet, 16 Rosacea, Mise En Scene, Sandrine, Wild Beauty, 20 bar
Paddy Power: 4 Tuesday, 5 Inspirational, 8 Life Of Dreams, 9 Agave, 12 Concert Hall, 16 Above The Curve, 20 Toy, Eclat Du Lumiere, Magical Lagoon, Over The Rainbow, History, 25 bar
William Hill: 5-2 Luxembourg, 10 New London, Reach For The Moon, Point Lonsdale, 12 Native Trail, 14 Walk Of Stars, Antarah, 16 Coroebus, 20 bar
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FIRST PUBLISHED 7:00AM, APR 21 2022