Usually, of course, the mile and quarter contest would have taken place at Sandown last month. Bangkok won last year’s renewal and went off at single-figure odds in the Derby, but he got restless before the start and failed to figure.
There will be no stiff finish to cope with on this occasion, but there will be a bit more traffic to contend with as this will be the first Classic Trial this century to feature a double-figure field.
Here’s a guide to all the 11 runners.
1 NIGHT COLOURS
Trainer: Simon & Ed Crisford. Form: 5121- General odds: 20-1
Overcame a tardy start to win a Group two contest in Italy at the backend of last season but that was an ordinary contest and, with a 4lb penalty to carry for that success, she has plenty on her plate here.
She had previously won at Ffos Las and been edged out in a three-runner affair at Epsom.
2 BERLIN TANGO
Trainer: Andrew Balding. Form: 5133-2 Odds: 14-1
Has shown a useful level of form, albeit coming up a bit short in a couple of Listed races at up to a mile and on his return at Kempton in March in a fair minor event.
This step up in trip promises to suit and, while others are probably open to greater improvement, he at least is proven on the surface and has plenty of experience to call upon.
Coming up on Racing TV over the days ahead
3 BRIGHT MELODY
Trainer: Charlie Appleby. Form: 1 Odds: 8-1
The Dubawi colt overcame greenness to win on his debut at Chelmsford (1m 2f) in early January and should have learnt plenty from the experience.
However, that bare form leads him with plenty to find as he had little more than a length to spare over Arabian Moon, a rival winless after six starts and put in his place off a mark of 78 on his previous start.
4 HIGHLAND CHIEF
Trainer: Paul & Oliver Cole. Form: 136- Odds: 12-1
Had the distinction of providing his sire, Gleneagles, with a first winner with his first runner at Newbury (5f) last spring before finishing a creditable third to Pinatubo in the Chesham at Royal Ascot.
However, he was then absent for three months and ran poorly on his return in the Royal Lodge. Questions to answer on his return, for all that, physically, he appeals as the type to make a better three-year-old.
Trainer: John Gosden. Form: 1- Odds: 4-1
The Lope De Vega colt fetched 550,000gns as a yearling and recouped a slither of that when scoring in impressive style over a mile at Chelmsford in December.
I’m not sure he beat very much but the way he surged clear from off a muddling pace was taking and his pedigree points to this extra couple of furlongs posing no problem. He’s a general 33-1 for the Derby.
6 MAX VEGA
Trainer: Ralph Beckett. Form: 211- Odds: 3-1
Ralph Beckett told us amore about Max Vega after his Zetland success
Plenty to like about his convincing win in the Group Three Zetland Stakes at Newmarket in October, when he won at the main expense of the previously unbeaten Miss Yoda.
He had easily won at Pontefract before that, having been touched off by Kenzai Warrior, the subsequent Group Three winner, on his debut at Salisbury. Has raced exclusively on softish ground and this surface an unknown, but no surprise if he advances his Derby claims. He’s 33-1 for the premier Classic.
What they say: Ralph Beckett - “It is not going to be easy around there for him as it is a tight 10 furlongs, not like the galloping one he won over at Newmarket. He will enjoy the surface and I see him running well and getting involved. If he gets beat it isn’t the end of the world, as this is only a prep run for the Derby.”
Trainer: William Muir. Form: 1417- Odds: 22-1
Was a surprise 50-1 winner on his debut at Salisbury (traded at 999-1 in-running) but proved that was no fluke when landing a Listed prize over a mile at Haydock on softish ground in September.
Needs to step up again on that form to figure here, plus he bombed out badly on his final start in the Royal Lodge at Newmarket.
What they say - William Muir: “He is in great form, I’m really pleased with him and he is going to do us well this year. We were going to go with the Irish Guineas, but it is virtually impossible to go there and quarantine for two weeks with nowhere for him, so we decided to go here and see what happens.”
8 TOM COLLINS
Trainer: David Elsworth. Form: 8210- Odds: 100-1
Confirmed the promise of his two previous starts when getting off the mark at Newmarket (7f) in late October but the traikled home well beaten in the Zetland Stakes back at Headquarters.
He’s difficult to get excited about in this company and looks more of a handicapper.
9 YES MY BOY
Trainer: Archie Watson. Form: 1 Odds: 28-1
Showed a good attitude to score on his debut over a mile at Newcastle in February, when runners trained by Gosden and Appleby chased him home.
He knew his job that night and requires plenty more here but he’s entitled to improve and he should relish stepping up in trip. May well be a stayer down the line.
Trainer: William Haggas. Form: 1- General odds: 9-4 fav
William Haggas gave as update on Born With Pride and others in his team on Luck On Sunday (after 3min 14sec) last month
The well-bred filly looked an exciting prospect when winning the Listed Montrose Stakes over a mile at Newmarket on heavy ground at the backend of last year.
This will represent a very different test but there is some substance to that form at Headquarters and the extra quarter of a mile seems certain to suit. She’s a general 10-1 for the Investec Oaks.
What they say: William Haggas - “It is a tough race. It’s against the colts which I don’t like, but our hands are tied to get some experience into her before the bigger races, so we’ve got to go. It’s not an ideal race for her, but she has to start somewhere and we have to get on.
Trainer: Ralph Beckett. Form: 01- General odds: 50-1
She offered little on her debut at Lingfield but was a different proposition next time, in first-time blinkers on soft ground at Newmarket (7f), when making all at chunky odds.
Should be more to come and bred to stay this far, but very much the stable's second strong and others more compelling.
An intriguing renewal in which MAX VEGA gets the nod. He rates the form pick and, having had three races, may be a little more streetwise than Born With Pride and Hypothetical, who impressed when winning on their respective debuts.
The each-way alternative is probably Berlin Tango, who has some solid form to his name, is proven at the track and has already been in action this year.
1 MAX VEGA. 2 BORN WITH PRIDE. 3 BERLIN TANGO.
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