Classic Trial Preview: Pride can strike for Haggas

William Haggas has won this race once before, with Primary in 2006.
William Haggas has won this race once before, with Primary in 2006.

Nick Seddon previews Wednesday's rearranged Classic Trial at Kempton Park, which will serve as the first pattern race of the season...

Traditionally run in late April at Sandown Park, the Classic Trial is perhaps seen as one of the lesser trials for the Epsom Derby, and you have to go back to Benny The Dip in 1997 for the last horse to go on to win the Epsom classic having run in this race. 

The Group 3 contest may not be the most glamorous trial on offer in a conventional year, but some smart performers have won this down the years, and it takes on a renewed importance this term as one of just a few opportunities for the classic generation to warm up before heading to Surrey.

This year's renewal will take place on the all-weather at Kempton on Wednesday afternoon, and there are no less than four unbeaten runners in the 11-strong field, including Hypothetical, Yes My Boy and Bright Melody. The last-named represents powerful connections in the form of Charlie Appleby and Godolphin, and he made a winning start over this trip at Chelmsford in January, winning despite very much learning on the job. He's bred to be useful, and there will likely be more to come yet, though he will need more for win purposes now upped in grade - a comment which also applies to Yes My Boy, who takes a big step up in class having won on debut at Newcastle in February. 

Hypothetical represents the John Gosden team, and was an expensive purchase as a yearling, costing a cool 550,000 guineas. He made a winning debut over a mile in pretty taking fashion at Chelmsford in December, pulling clear to win by five lengths and looking potentially smart in the process. Admittedly, it wasn't the strongest of novice contests, though the step up to a mile and a quarter here should suit and there should be more to come yet from this beautifully bred type - with the booking of Frankie Dettori an obvious positive. 

Several powerful yards feature in this, and Ralph Beckett is due to send out the thrice-raced Max Vega. He built on a likeable debut effort to get off the mark at the second time of asking at Pontefract last September, before taking the step up to Group 3 level in his stride when landing the Zetland Stakes at Newmarket on his most recent start a month later. He has to be considered a leading contender for this on the back of that, though he will likely get further yet, and it could be that he really starts to come into his own when stepped up to a mile and a half. 

Three more to consider are Night Colours, Berlin Tango and Highland Chief. The first-named has to concede weight to the field here, having won a Group 2 contest in Italy last October. That was a good effort, though she's shown only useful form so far and will find life tough here up against more unexposed types on these terms.

Berlin Tango is the only runner in the line-up who has had a run so far this year, finishing second in a conditions race over a mile here back in March. That was a good effort, though he will need more than what he's shown in his five starts to date, while Highland Chief was out of his depth when sixth of seven in the Group 2 Royal Lodge at Newmarket last September, but would have claims if able to replicate his run to finish a fine third in the Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot last year. 

However, it is the filly Born With Pride who makes the most appeal for the William Haggas team. The daughter of Born To Sea wrote her name into many a notebook when completing the rare feat of making a winning debut at listed level at Newmarket last November, showing an excellent attitude to win the Montrose Fillies' Stakes. 

She defeated some useful, more experienced fillies to make a winning bow that day, and looked every inch the middle distance performer in the process, relishing the test of a mile in heavy conditions. The extra two furlongs here should therefore suit, and her entry in the Irish Oaks is a big clue that her connections expect her to thrive over further.

Indeed, both Haggas and jockey Tom Marquand have been particularly complimentary of this filly, and while it's unlikely that she will make up into an Epsom Derby contender, she will do her Epsom Oaks credentials no harm by making the most of what looks a good opportunity to make a winning reappearance. 


Classic Trial, Kempton Park, Wednesday 3rd June - back Born With Pride at 2/1

Kempton 14:45
Born With Pride silk

Born With Pride

Epsom Derby Tips
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