The Derby: Telecaster trainer Hughie Morrison – the late starter aiming for Epsom glory – BBC Sport

The Derby: Telecaster trainer Hughie Morrison - the late starter aiming for Epsom glory - BBC Sport

Andy Holdings Epsom Derby Tips & Preview

Racegoers watch the finish of the opening race on Derby day. Photograph: Peter Nicholls/Reuters Tony Paley

TELECASTER looks in magnificent order ahead of the Investec Derby 👌🏼

Top of the pile, at least according to the betting and jockey bookings, is Sir Dragonet, who shot towards the top of most ante post lists with his impressive display in the Chester Vase earlier this month. Having only landed a maiden at Tipperary on his previous outing, it appeared a big ask for the son of Camelot to tackle a Group 3 on just his second career start, but in coming through with flying colours, he posted the sort of numbers that indicated he is a colt of the very highest class. Sir Dragonet coped easily with a strong pace that day before quickening up in taking fashion to pull well clear in the closing stages and, with his back-end sectionals also revealing he ran to a pretty smart standard on the Roodee, he clearly deserves to take his chance. The only negatives derive from the fact there has been plenty of ease underfoot for both his victories and he has the widest draw to overcome, but other than that, this well-balanced and strong-staying colt bears all the hallmarks of many previous winners.

Its almost like being there. The parade ring ahead of the Derby is one of the best places to be in racing. The anticipation, the atmosphere, the colours … oh and the horses. Emma Berry is helping us out with a glimpse of five of the seven Aidan OBrien horses…

Away from those housed at Ballydoyle and Telecaster appears the obvious threat based on his victory in the Dante at York. Heading into that clash on the Knavesmire on the back of a big performance in a novice event at Windsor, Hughie Morrison’s colt exceeded all expectations with a performance of some repute in what turned out to be a well-run race and, with connections going to the trouble of supplementing the son of New Approach to the tune of 85,000, it is pretty clear they feel the investment will be rewarded in the best possible fashion. The only worry would be his un-favourable inside draw, as no Derby has been won from a horse housed in gate 2 since stalls were introduced in 1967. Madhmoon is also worthy of a mention based on his excellent run in the Guineas and as connections have always seen him as a stayer in the making, he rates one of the more intriguing priced in the double-figure bracket.

Five of the Ballydoyle seven in the parade ring for the Derby, Sir Dragonet fifth.

Anthony Van Dyck was workmanlike rather than spectacular when winning the Lingfield Derby trial on his seasonal return, but at least he proved he shouldn’t have any problems handling the track and he is a dangerous one to dismiss with the lively ground conditions likely to suit him better than some. Placed in two Group 1’s over seven furlongs and a mile at two, the Galileo colt was always going to come into his own over middle distances as a three-year-old and this likeable and honest type looks sure to run his race.

Ryan Thomas (Coronation Street) and Lucy Mecklenburgh (TOWIE) at the Derby. Photograph: Steve Parsons/PA Facebook Twitter 3.59pm BST 15:59

Having coughed up £85,000 for a place in the Derby, connections of Telecaster (4.30) were surely hoping for better accommodation than stall two, from which no Derby winner has emerged since starting stalls were introduced half a century ago. But that may prove only an inconvenience on his way to proving himself the best of these colts.

While his background is not that of a conventional Derby winner, from a stable that rarely competes at the highest level and unraced until March, his performance in winning the Dante was thoroughly convincing. He broke alertly, ran fast enough to secure a handy position and then settled before finishing more strongly than a classy rival in Too Darn Hot. He will have to follow a very similar pattern and his draw is no help but at least the likely pace-setter, Sovereign, is only two stalls away in four. If Telecaster can latch on to his tail for the first furlong, the early part of the race may work out quite well for him.

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Telecasters sire is New Approach, another free-going sort who nonetheless had the stamina to win a Derby, and his dam was also comfortable at this distance. While he has had plenty of racing in a short time, the signs show he is thriving on it and he is surprisingly backable at 5-1.

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Racegoers in the stands on Derby day. Photograph: John Walton/PA Sir Dragonet has a better draw but has been a slow starter so far and may not make best use of it. This fast ground is a question mark for him. From the same stable, Anthony Van Dyck is more of a worry, as an experienced colt who impressed at Lingfield. Circus Maximus is also going the right way and Frankie Dettori could help him hit the frame.

Broome and Bangkok are both professional types and unbeaten this year but they have not yet shown the necessary quality. Japan and Line Of Duty were well beaten in the Dante and may struggle to turn that form around just a fortnight later.

Having dominated the world’s oldest Classic in recent times, Aidan O’Brien is once again the starting point for this year’s renewal sending seven of the 13-strong field to post, and with at least three or four having very strong claims, it’s a tricky conundrum for punters.

Theres been a bit of chat in the press room and online to the effect that connections of Sir Dragonet might withdraw the Derby favourite over concerns that todays ground could be uncomfortably fast for him. But these rumours have proved to be nothing more than what Damon Runyon would call phonus balonus.I have just witnessed the Ballydoyle huddle in the weighing room and there were the expected seven jockeys grouped around Aidan OBrien for the master trainers pre-Derby briefing, just before jocks went out to ride in the Dash. Aidan spent three or four minutes addressing the group, then six of them wandered back into the changing room while the trainer spent another two minutes talking to Ryan Moore. Evidently Aidan managed to set his jockey at his ease, as Ryan had a good laugh at something that was said. Maybe OBrien told him about those rumours …

Mick Fitzgerald: Im backing Broome to brush his Derby rivals aside

1 Ornate (Phil Dennis) 33-1 2 Dark Shot (P Mathers) 14-1 3 Blue De Vega (M Dwyer) 25-1 4 Eeh Bah Gum (Jamie Gormley) 9-119 ran Also: 7-2 Fav HathiqNon Runner: 2

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And theyre off … Just Glamorous quickly away … Ornate now leads … and held all challengers, including Dark Shot and Blue De Vega.

Morrison, who opted to run today Telecaster after discussions with Mark Weinfeld, head of his Castle Down Racing owners and MD of his Meon Valley Stud breeders, said: We always thought he was a seriously nice horse and we had a long debate before initially pulling him out of the Derby in March.

The Derby: Telecaster trainer Hughie Morrison – the late starter aiming for Epsom glory

Back to the picture desk selections from the Derbys of the past and this is one of the best finds. When the lampshade hats first appeared on the fashion catwalk in the early 90s I did opine that this was the last thing we would ever see on the street. But they did appear at race meetings – at Royal Ascot, and at Epsom, including here at the 1991 Derby.

Trainer Hughie Morrisons rolling dice on in-form Telecaster ahead of Investec Derby at Epsom

Richard Hannon celebrated his 1,000th career winner after Anna Nerium came from last to first to go one place better than 12 months ago in the Princess Elizabeth Stakes at Epsom.

Go and learn about life before you think about training, the legendary trainer told the teenager. They proved wise words and ones Morrison reflected on this week as he contemplated the possibility of winning the £1.5million Investec Derby, a race won four times by Cecil.

Having found only Awesometank too strong last time out, the Dubawi filly turned the tables on her most recent conqueror to claim the third Group Three victory of her career in the extended mile prize. Anchored at the rear of the field earl on, the 9-2 shot swooped down the outside of her rivals before moving past eventual runner-up Awesometank inside the final furlong, going on to score by a length and a quarter.

Hannon said: It is lovely to get the milestone in a significant race – 1,000 winners is a lot of winners. She is a very good filly and was unlucky in this last year. I thought when they went very quick, lovely, as she was very unlucky in this race last year. There is a perception she has to have soft ground to win, but she doesnt need it. She can do it on this ground. Im not sure she loved the track, but she dealt with it.

Given that background, it may seem strange to cast him in the role of underdog but with the might of Aidan OBriens stable responsible for seven of the Derby 13 runners, in a sporting sense this afternoon that is what Morrison is.

We will sit and talk to [the owner] and see what she wants to do, but you would like to think she could go close in a Rothschild, where they might get soft ground. Ascot is not out of the question yet. PA

Retired cricketer Michael Holding and Victoria Pendleton present the trophy to Richard Hannon (centre) for winning after the Princess Elizabeth Stakes at Epsom. Photograph: Simon Cooper/PA Updated at 3.27pm BST

For the past fortnight, Morrison and Telecasters owners have had to debate whether to pay the £85,000 Derby supplementary entry fee for a colt whose third career start in the Dante Stakes at York was only 16 days ago.

Caspian Prince is trying to win the Dash for the fourth time and for a fourth different trainer, though it could be that his draw in stall 10 is no help, as it has seemed preferable to be drawn to one side or the other. Duke Of Firenze, another 10-year-old, comes here in fine form and has an excellent draw in 19. But it will be hard for them all to hold off Hathiq, who carries just a 4lb penalty for his Curragh success on Sunday. Very lightly raced until this year, this half-brother to a Guineas runner-up is now making hay from his low rating.

Morrison, who has trained for the Queen and the Duchess of Cambridges parents Mike and Carole Middleton, for a short time found himself House Captain in charge of a Boris Johnson during his school days at Eton.

Racegoers react to the race action … on their phones. Photograph: Steve Parsons/PA Facebook Twitter 3.20pm BST 15:20

1 Zaaki (R L Moore) 11-8 Fav 2 Oh This Is Us (Tom Marquand) 8-1 3 Chief Ironside (Jason Watson) 16-1 6 ran

Trainer Hughie Morrison says he is outnumbered in Saturday afternoons Investec Derby, but not outgunned as he saddles the leading British-trained hope Telecaster.

And theyre off … Zaaki slowly away and Bye Bye Hong Kong has an early lead … Chief Ironside and Mordin are close behind … On the turn for home and Chief Ironside takes the lead … Zaaki and Oh This Is Us come late with Zaaki quickening up the best to win.

Ground now good to firm in places at Epsom | Horse Racing News

Legend has it that gypsy fortune-tellers write the name of their prediction for Derby success in chalk on a wishing well outside the Amato pub in Epsom before the iconic race. It could be another good omen for the Balding team, as this years selection is Bangkok. PA

VERACIOUS was placed twice at the highest level last season and shes taken to defy a penalty back down in grade with her reappearance under her belt. Nyaleti disappointed at York but she might have found that coming too soon after her good second in the Dahlia at Newmarket, while Anna Nerium was a little unlucky not to beat Awesometank at Goodwood and ran well in this 12 months ago.

Epsom Derby tips: The THREE horses you must AVOID at 2019 race

Will the Epsom wishing well at the Amato Inn be correct this year?The name chalked down as the Derby winner is …

TELECASTER has all the credentials, the son of a Derby winner out of an Oaks runner-up, and he arrives on the back of success in a strong renewal of the Dante. He can see off the army of Ballydoyle challengers, headed by the unbeaten Sir Dragonet, who turned the Chester Vase into a rout. Broome and Bangkok, both by 2014-winner Australia, are also firmly on the radar.

This Diomed Stakes could provide an early thrill for the King Power connections, to be represented by Bangkok in the big race. They have the improving Bye Bye Hong Kong in this with an obvious chance, getting the weight-for-age allowance from all his rivals. He was convincing against Oh This Is Us at Windsor last time and his front-running style may play better here than Zaakis strong finishing.

1 Anna Nerium (Tom Marquand) 9-2 2 Awesometank (James Doyle) 3-1 3 Veracious (R L Moore) 2-1 Fav 8 ran

SEXTANT showed signs of temperament in a light 3-y-o campaign but looked a smart prospect when an impressive winner of an Ascot handicap on return 3 weeks ago (had been gelded) and needs keeping onside now. Soto Sizzler is another with a positive profile and looks the main threat, with Aquarium and Eddystone Rock best of the others.

Epsom Derby tips: The THREE horses you must back at 2019 race

Hollie Doyle on Vivianite in the parade ring at Epsom. Photograph: Steve Parsons/PA Facebook Twitter 2.40pm BST 14:40

And theyre off … Akvavera has an early lead … Awesometank and Nyaleti are close up … Anna Nerium is last … The leader kicks for home … Awesometank takes it up but Anna Nerium from last and challenging hard … and gets there.

Martin Dwyer celebrates winning the opener. Photograph: Simon Cooper/PA Facebook Twitter 2.30pm BST 14:30

Simon Holt previews Saturdays Investec Derby card at Epsom

This Racenews report reveals how Old Stone Face still doesnt give much away – look at his tips at the end of the item! The statue is actuall a good likeness methinks.

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The Queen was at Epsom for all nine of Lester Piggotts Derby victories, and in 1957 he rode her own Carrozza to Oaks success. The statue, located by the winners enclosure, met with Piggotts approval. I think it has been a great idea, its marvellous, I am honoured, said Piggott, whose family and friends were all on hand to watch the occasion. I had seen the statue before today and it is very good. The Queen also seems in great form. In todays Derby, Piggott has gone for the Aidan OBrien-trained pair of Broome and Sir Dragonet.

Play smarter on Saturday as we provide our expert analyst's tips for every race on the card on at Epsom on Derby day.

Thats better than Dettori at Ascot Photograph: Simon Cooper/PA Facebook Twitter 2.22pm BST 14:22

The man at the Ballydoyle helm, Aidan OBrien, would be the first to admit that although he fields seven of the 13 runners, there are no guarantees that one will give him the seventh Derby winner to equal the record held by great trainers across the centuries: Robert Robson, John Porter, Fred Darling.

The key bit of form here looks like being a Listed contest at Goodwood four weeks ago, in which Awesometank held on by a head from the strong-finishing Anna Nerium. Its tempting to give the runner-up a chance to turn that around over this slightly longer trip but Awesometank is a very likeable filly with a high strike-rate who may be sharper again for that seasonal reappearance. The fitting of cheekpieces will not hurt and nor will James Doyles presence in the saddle. Veracious beat the selection last year but disappointed last month and the fitting of a tongue tie is disconcerting.

His team are headed by Sir Dragonet, a colt by Camelot and named after one of King Arthurs knights of the round table, the one who portrayed himself as a courageous warrior…

Epsom Derby 2019 Pinstickers: Every horse profiled plus our betting experts verdict

Andrew Balding, trainer of leading Derby hope Bangkok, got his day off to a cracking start as Le Don De Vie won the opening Investec Private Banking Handicap. The 5-1 shot was partnered by Martin Dwyer, who rode Sir Percy to win the Derby in 2006. He told ITV Racing: Theres no better place to be in the world than Epsom on Derby day. Its quick and its nice (ground) – theres no jar. PA

Le Don De Vie wins the opener. Photograph: Matthew Childs/Action Images via Reuters Updated at 2.21pm BST

Clerk of the course Andrew Cooper said: “Ive walked the course twice today at 6am and 10.30am and on both occasions it was good to firm on the five-furlong course and the Derby was prominently good.

The Derby 2019: horse-by-horse guide to the 240th Epsom Classic

And theyre off … Nayef Road is pushed along early and Le Don De Vie leads after a furlong … with Nayef Road pulling hard … Alkaamel is last on the way to Tattenham Corner … The Trader closes and makes his move … The Trader is challenging the long-time leader … but Le Don De Vie has gone clear for an easy win.

For the freshest betting advice, based on latest going and market conditions, dont miss the Live Tipster every afternoon. Just click Raceday Live at or the mobile app

Bangkok best bet to seal poignant first Derby win for King Power

While the eyes of most in racing are on Epsom, some bookies may have just lost a few quid on the opener at Musselburgh. The John Ryan-trained Bill Neigh won cosily at odds of 7-1, down from the 20-1 on offer when betting began. The trainers record with two-year-old newcomers was 2/71 over the past nine years but the markets confidence in this one was not misplaced.Intriguingly, Ryan and the owner Gerry McGladery had four other entrants at Musselburgh today, though two became non-runners last night. They still have Battle Of Waterloo (2.50) and Needs To Be Seen (5.30). Battle Of Waterloos price dropped from 14-1 all the way down to 4-1 with one firm but he is now back out to a general 10-1. Needs To Be Seen has been steady at about 6-1. Ryan has the rank outsider, Hiroshima, in todays Derby. The colt appears to be attracting no interest at 300-1.

The going has changed to Good to Firm on the straight five-furlong course and Good on the Derby course following a dry night and three millimetres of watering. Andrew Cooper, clerk of the course at Epsom Downs, said at 11.30am after walking the courses twice this morning: It is Good ground from the mile and a half start to the bottom of the hill, while it is on the faster side of good up the home straight. I would say the top side of the home straight is Good to Firm. The temperature is about 23 degrees Celsius now and it is going to get hotter – up to 26 or 27 degrees Celsius. The courses will dry, as was shown yesterday on a much cooler and less sunny day.

“With the temperature already at 23C and with a bit of a breeze, the ground is going to dry and I anticipate it could be good to firm by the time of the Derby.”

Todays FREE Horse racing tips: The Betting Spys top picks for Saturdays racing at Epsom

I am thinking that by the time the Investec Derby is off at 4.30pm, I am anticipating Good to Firm ground, but hopefully a decent, safe Good to Firm. We will update with any changes to the official going descriptions through the afternoon.

I walked much of the course yesterday evening after racing and it was almost Good to Firm. The question was then how much water do we put on rather than do we water. We put on three millimetres from the mile and a half start to the six-furlong pole; left the next two furlongs, which is down the hill into the home straight which had been watered earlier in the week and we put three millimetres on the home straight down to the crossing on the pulling up area just by the Rubbing House pub.

After winning yesterdays Oaks, punters are putting their faith in Frankie Dettori to complete the Derby double with Circus Maximus.

We started watering about 6.30pm yesterday and the team finished around 12.30am. Those same guys were in about 4.30am this morning. It is great credit and thanks to them. There were four guys involved in the watering – the two main ones were Craig Williamson, who is the Regional Estates Manager, and Chris Youngs, the Deputy Estates Manager, who is based here at Epsom all the time. We have six full-time groundstaff.

Just a few miles from the Epsom hury burly, Kieran Shoemark will make a low-key return to action tonight in a £3,000 maiden race at Lingfield. The jockey has served a six-month ban for a cocaine positive and spoke impressively, a couple of months ago, about his efforts to leave his addiction behind. I wish him well for his comeback aboard Heroic in the 8.15pm race, in which his mount is expected to start favourite.

A quality juvenile last year, Victory Command was repeatedly disappointing this season until his staying-on third place in the Silver Bowl last weekend. Mark Johnstons colt looks ready for this step up in distance and is now quite attractively weighted, down 10lb from his peak rating.

Jodie Kidd arrives on Derby day at Epsom. Photograph: Steve Parsons/PA Facebook Twitter 1.46pm BST 13:46

Lester Piggott with his statue on Derby day at Epsom. Photograph: John Walton/PA Facebook Twitter 1.39pm BST 13:39

It may be an open Derby but the main newspaper tipsters cant see past the top three in the betting, according to the selection box in the Racing Post which records the collective wisdom of Fleet Streets racing folk. Seven of the 14 tipsters listed are convinced by the favourite, Sir Dragonet. The others are split between Broome (4) and Telecaster (3). Even so, Broome is a little weak in the market and is now widely available at 6-1, having been 5s this morning. The main mover so far has been Madhmoon, who was 11-1 overnight but is generally 8-1, with only shards of 9-1 remaining.Longshot punters appear to be showing interest in John Gosdens lightly raced Humanitarian, down to 50-1 with most firms, though 66s remains in a place. Oli Bell of ITV fame tells me he fancies it, but denies having been tipped the wink by anyone in the yard; this is the fruit of hours of form study, Im assured.

The picture desk has been busy finding the best Derby shots of yesteryear, when the race was run on a Wednesday, and Ill be posting some throughout the day. Prince Monolulu (real name Peter Carl Mackay) is the first. Heres how Wiki reports his death: The biography of Jeffrey Bernard by Graham Lord relates Prince Monolulus death in some detail. It describes how Bernard at the time was working as a horse-racing journalist and visited Monolulu in the Middlesex Hospital to interview him. Bernard had brought with him a box of Black Magic chocolates and offered Monolulu a strawberry cream. Monolulu subsequently choked to death on it and Bernard bade him farewell.

The Queen has arrived at Epsom and she is unveiling a statue of the great Lester Piggott today who has been so central to Derby folklore.

Derby 2019: latest odds and runners for Flat racings showpiece event

Mirror racing correspondent David Yates just raised the issue again on Racing TV but the suggestion made in some quarters this week about switching the Derby back to a Wednesday (I was there for the last midweek running in 1994 when Erhaab won) is surely a non-starter. The idea was dismissed by Epsom spokesman Jonno Spence, who said: The fact is that people cannot take the day off work anymore during the week and London would not stop and cease like it used to for a Wednesday Derby. Its just not going to happen and that was very clear in the numbers that were attending the Derby on a Wednesday.

Vodafone, the sponsors at the time it was switched, were not interested in a Wednesday Derby. They wanted a Saturday Derby and it is one of the few races now with a solid backer in Investec, who started sponsoring in 2009 and currently have a deal until 2026. Competing for the leisure pound is now far more competitive and it is very competitive sporting wise on a Saturday. But, equally, we would not get the numbers going back to a midweek fixture that we do now.

BackTrack: Roberto Prevails in 1972 Epsom Derby

The idea has been mooted again this year because of the competing attraction of the Champions League Final involving two British sides and its undoubtedly true that the game will have an impact. The firm, who monitor betting with all the major bookmakers, have crunched the numbers and report that Champions League is set to generate £65m in wagers, up £15m from previous years, followed by the Derby where £35m is set to be bet with the Anthony Joshua fight not far behind at £25m.

Some are indicating that its not as busy at Epsom today. We shall see when the attendance figures and estimates of the numbers on the Hill roll in.

What you want to know most of all its what is going to win the Derby … heres our tipster Chris Cooks horse-by-horse guide to the big-race runners and his in-depth analysis of all the races, including the Derby, on TV today.

The view across the Downs on Derby day. Photograph: Simon Cooper/PA Facebook Twitter 12.18pm BST 12:18

Our intrepid reporter Greg Wood is walking the track right now – and you can follow his progress via the Twittersphere.

It is wonderfully peaceful down at the #Derby start. Almost trod on a skylark on my way over here. This is the hill they climb after the start.

If we are being honest with ourselves, todays Investec Derby at Epsom is not even the biggest sporting fixture in the four-hour period between four oclock and eight. Casual sports fans who tune in to the action will do so very briefly, as an appetiser before the main course in Madrid. Its just the way it is.

Driving towards the famous track just before 10 this morning, however, it was still possible to sense that something special will be happening on the Surrey downs this afternoon. The fun fair is already in full swing, long lines of cars and streams of people are heading towards the course and from early morning, racegoers had been arriving to pitch marquees around the far side of the track, where they will see only the opening exchanges of todays race.

That doesnt matter, though. Its being here that counts, just as it has for nearly 250 years. Tens of thousands of people are converging on Epsom, just as they did in the days when the only way to get here was on horseback, or Shankss Pony. And on a hot June afternoon like the one we have in prospect today, there really is no better place to be.

They can all hope too that they will head home later having backed a winner at a working persons price. This is one of the more open renewals of the Derby in recent years, with no fewer than five of the 13 runners currently top-priced in single figures, while a couple more – including Circus Maximus, with yesterdays Oaks-winning jockey Frankie Dettori aboard – are around 12-1. Bearing in mind that we had a 40-1 winner just two years ago who was, like all of Aidan OBriens seven-strong team, bred to improve significantly for todays test, it is difficult to rule out more than two or three with any confidence.

Racegoers arrive at a baking hot Epsom for Derby day. Photograph: John Walton/PA What is also encouraging, given the doubts about both Sir Dragonet and Telecaster being supplemented just a fortnight or so ago, is that all of the major Derby trial winners will be in todays field. It is, after all, the race which was designed to find the colt with the ideal blend of speed, stamina, athleticism and courage to cope with this unique course and stamp himself as the leader of his generation and whichever of these horses is led into the winners enclosure this evening will have earned that status.

This will also be one of the hottest Derby afternoons for years, and the ground in the home straight is now officially good-to-firm, with the remainder of the track described as good. 3mm of water went onto the Derby course last night but that will scarcely account for the evaporation this morning and by the time of the big race at 4.30, it is fair to assume that it will be good-to-firm all over.

My colleague Chris Cook has tipped Telecaster for the Derby, and all the breaking news and results from the supporting races will be here as the day unfolds and one colt from a generation of many thousands stamps his name into history.

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