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Lingfield Epsom Trials Preview: King can strike for Walker

The Lingfield trials proved to be particularly informative last year.
The Lingfield trials proved to be particularly informative last year.

Nick Seddon previews Friday's Derby and Oaks Trials at Lingfield, which both produced a winner at Epsom last year...

The Lingfield trials aren't at the top of list for most punters when searching for a subsequent Derby or Oaks winner, though the turf course is often heralded as the closest in terms of likeness to Epsom, and both races came up trumps in fine style last year, being won by Anapurna and Anthony Van Dyck respectively. 

Although the races are sometimes switched to the artificial track due to the turf course being unusable, the fine recent weather has meant that Friday's going will likely be very quick indeed, and fields of eight and nine will line up for the Epsom Derby and the Epsom Oaks trials respectively. 

Lingfield Derby Trial

Anthony Van Dyck became the first colt since the Luca Cumani-trained High-Rise in 1998 to go on to win the Derby after winning the Lingfield Trial last year for Aidan O'Brien, and it seems unlikely that we'll see this year's Epsom hero from Friday's field of eight, bearing in mind that just two of the field are quoted in the the Epsom Derby odds at the time of writing. 

The market is headed by the Andrew Balding-trained Berkshire Rocco, who had four starts as a juvenile last term, winning once over seven furlongs at Chester last August. He produced a good effort to finish third in the Group 3 Zetland Stakes on his final outing of the campaign at Newmarket in October, and while we'll know more about the strength of that form when the runner-up Miss Yoda runs in the Oaks trial here 35 minutes earlier, the winner that day Max Vega was slightly disappointing at Kempton on Wednesday. The step up to a mile and a half should suit Berkshire Rocco, though he's vulnerable to an improver. 

Like Berkshire Rocco (100/1), English King (66/1) is the only other runner in the field who's priced up for the Derby at present, and he signed off with a good effort to get off the mark at the second attempt over a mile and a quarter at Newcastle last November. He looked a nice type in the way he put the race to bed that day, and really began to hit top gear in the closing stages of that contest, suggesting that the extra furlong and a half or so will suit here.

That form has been boosted since by the runner-up Waleydd and the third-placed Galsworthy winning since - the latter doing so in good style at Kempton on Tuesday - and bearing in mind that this son of Camelot is bred to improve significantly yet, he gets the vote to take this under Tom Marquand. 

Three more to note King Carney, Sound Of Cannons and King's Caper. The last-named represents the Mark Johnston team, who also send out the thrice-raced Dark Heart, and like many from the yard he was kept busy as a two-year-old, winning three times from eight starts. The step up in trip should suit, and while he's clearly a useful type, he has something to prove on his first start in listed company.

Meanwhile, Sound Of Cannons has some solid-looking form to his name having held his own in three tough assignments towards the end of last season as is respected, though he'll need to improve for the extra distance for win purposes. More interesting is King Carney, who relished the heavy conditions when winning at this level at Pontefract in the autumn, and he ought to be right in the mix with the extra three and a half furlongs or so likely to suit. 


Derby Trial Stakes, Lingfield, Friday 5th June - back English King at 7/2

Lingfield Derby Trial
English King silk

English King


Lingfield Oaks Trial

As mentioned above, the Oaks trial is due off around 35 minutes before the Derby trial, and Miss Yoda is a short-priced favourite to build on her excellent effort to finish second in the Zetland last term. She looks a useful filly in the making judged by her three starts to date, winning twice, and while she sets the standard here and will likely make a very bold bid, she's short enough in the betting and the value could like in siding with an improving type. 

The fillies Heart Reef and Lake Lucerne both represent powerful connections, and are two that fit that particular mould. The latter still showed signs of inexperience when opening her account over 10 furlongs at Chelmsford in March, though this is a reasonable step up in class and more interesting is Heart Reef, who represents the Ralph Beckett team. Beckett is a dab hand with precocious fillies, and she had valid excuses when fifth in listed company at Newmarket in November. The trip and  conditions should suit her much better here, and she's one to note with Oisin Murphy booked to ride. 

This is easier than the assignments faced by Mark Johnston's West End Girl towards the end of last season and she's respected now upped in trip, but at the prices it could be worth siding with So I Told You.

She makes plenty of appeal on paper, and looked useful when getting off the mark at the second time of asking over a mile at Nottingham races in October, showing a good attitude to pull clear of the field. Admittedly, that wasn't the hottest maiden in the world, but it was hard not to be impressed with that performance, and with the step up in trip likely to suit judged by the way she went through the gears last time out, she gets the vote to find the necessary improvement to take this.


Oaks Trial Stakes, Lingfield, Friday 5th June - back So I Told You at 9/1

Lingfield Oaks Trial
So I Told You silk

So I Told You

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