John Ferguson: Dubai Thunder still in Derby frame

By Geoffrey Riddle@Louchepunter
Sat 20 May 2017

Watch Dubai Thunder's easy maiden victory at Newbury on Friday - the colt could feature in the Investec Derby at Epsom. 

By Geoffrey Riddle at Newbury

Dubai Thunder is still in line to form part of Godolphin’s Investec Derby squad after his sensational racecourse debut at Newbury on Friday. 

The son of Dubawi defied his inexperience and being “randy” pre-race to demolish a moderate field of maidens by ten lengths in Berkshire.

Bookmakers took evasive action and his price settled at no better than 25-1 – the same as Dante winner Permian – and he was a best-priced 20-1 on Saturday afternoon. Aidan O'Brien's Cliffs Of Moher is the 4-1 favourite, in the possible absence of stable companion and 2000 Guineas winner Churchill. 

Dubai Thunder holds a Derby entry, and enters calculations for Epsom alongside Godolphin’s other possibles such as Best Solution, the Lingfield Derby Trial winner, Benbatl, the Dante runner-up and Hugo Palmer’s Best Of Days, who is expected at the Breakfast With The stars event on Tuesday.

Permian is owned by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, the son of Godolphin’s founder Sheikh Mohammed.

“Dubai Thunder is still in the Derby,” John Ferguson, the Godolphin CEO said at Newbury on Saturday. We don’t have to make a decision today.

“He did it very well.

“It is great to be in a situation whereby we have some horses that have some genuine chances.”

Dubai Thunder won the same race as Ulysses 12 months ago before Sir Michael Stoute’s charge was 12th at Epsom behind Harzand.  Inexperienced horses do of course win the Derby. Winners such as Workforce and Ruler Of The World won on their third starts, while Lammtarra won in 1995 on his seasonal reappearance off one juvenile start and Shaamit also won on seasonal debut after two starts as a two-year-old.

Morston won the 1973 Derby at 25-1 on his second start after scoring in his maiden at Lingfield in late May.

“It is a big ask,” Ferguson added. “Sir Michael tried it last year with Ulysees and he ended up being a good horse, just not on the day.

“Dubai Thunder is on the teamsheet, it is just how many players we play.”

Dubai Thunder was ridden by Adam Kirby, who said on Friday: "He's very nice. He was very babyish beforehand and a bit randy, but he's got a serious engine. He liked getting his toe in, but I'm not saying he needs it soft. He's got class."

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