Enable might not be the only John Gosden trained runner in the Eclipse at Sandown after Lord North landed the Group 1 Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Supported from 12/1 earlier in the week into 5/1, the four-year-old continued his progress. Lord North was winning the Cambridgeshire Handicap last autumn.
He has since stepped up into Listed company, then just hold on in the Group 3 Brigadier Gerard at Haydock on reappearance. This was another massive step forward here.
Bangkok set a strong pace, while Lord North was held up under James Doyle. He then picked up the pieces down the middle of the Ascot turf and ran out a 3 3/4 lengths winner over Addeybb.
Godolphin gelding Barney Roy was a further 1 1/4 lengths in third – a half-length ahead of favourite Japan. Lord North is now as short as 4/1 for the Eclipse.
Besides stable companion Enable, Charlie Appleby’s Coronation Cup winner Ghaiyyath is prominent in the betting. This year’s Eclipse is only open to older horses, because it takes place just 24 hour after The Oaks and Derby.
Russian Emperor emerges as Derby contender after Hampton Court
Less than a day after Mogul, one of the leading Irish hopes for the Epsom Derby, disappointed in the King Edward, 100/30 chance Russian Emperor swooped late in the 1m 2f Group 3 Hampton Court Stakes.
Ballydoyle maestro Aidan O’Brien may just have a Classic contender on his hands here. Ryan Moore pulled Russian Emperor out down the outside of the field as he made headway from two out.
He stayed on strongly and led close home for a half-length victory over 9/4 favourite First Receiver. The runner-up, owned by Queen Elizabeth II, wore down Berlin Tango under a penalty but couldn’t stop the winner.
Russian Emperor was as big as 40/1 with bookmakers for the Derby before the Hampton Court. He is now a best-price 12/1 and as short as 8/1 for the premier Classic at Epsom on 4 July.
The Hampton Court isn’t a normal Derby trial, but Royal Ascot takes place before the big day on Epsom Downs this year.
Analysis: Lord North and Russian Emperor keep on improving
Jamie Clark, Horsebetting.com Editor
Two more tips go in, and that shows you why it can pay to follow progressive horses. Lord North and Russian Emperor both fit into that category.
The former has stepped up in grade on each of his last four starts and not been found wanting. Talk about a serious upward curve for Lord North.
It’s mind-boggling that this “good thing” for the Cambridgeshire at Newmarket last autumn is a Royal Ascot winner nine months later.
Progressing from Heritage Handicaps to Group 1 company is a remarkable feat of training from Gosden. Punters should keep an eye on Lord North.
I said I was in love with Pyledriver yesterday after he advertised his Classic claims. Russian Emperor is not an underdog, but from the most powerful stable in Ireland.
O’Brien has seen his colts disappoint, so could this progressive son of Galileo be the answer for The Derby? The bookies clearly respect him with many slashing his price by three-quarters.