Epsom Derby 2022: Sonny Liston Profile

Sonny Liston winning the Derby would be a bigger shock than his namesake losing his first fight with Muhammad Ali
Sonny Liston winning the Derby would be a bigger shock than his namesake losing his first fight with Muhammad Ali

Charlie Hills is set to saddle his first ever Epsom Derby runner on June 4 when sending Sonny Liston to the Group 1 Classic. The son of Lawman will face the fight of his life in the showpiece event and after his third in the Dee Stakes at Chester he is one of the outsiders for the race...

Sonny Liston

Sire: Lawman

Trainer: Charlie Hills

Runs: 3

Wins: 1

One of the least likely winners of the 2022 Cazoo Derby according to the odds compilers is Sonny Liston for the Lambourn stable of Charlie Hills. Hill's father Barry won five British Classics when training at the yard but never managed to get over the line in front in the big one at Epsom, and it would be a fairy tale of epic proportions if his son could win The Derby with his first ever entrant. On strictly the form book, it is hard to see Sonny Liston troubling the market principals considering he was readily beaten into third place at Chester in the Dee Stakes behind Star Of India for Aidan O'Brien, who himself is a double figure price for Classic glory here.

Back in his juvenile campaign, Sonny Liston was only seen once in mid summer at Sandown. His performance that day clearly caught some off guard as he was sent off 18/1 to win a Novices' Stakes, and despite dwelling at the start he won the race readily from some more experienced rivals. A debut display like this will have set connections tongues wagging at the prospects for Sonny Liston to conquer the racing world much like his namesake conquered the boxing heavyweight division.

He was then put away for the winter as clearly he still had plenty of maturing to do, before his reappearance in 2022 saw him dismissed by Eydon in the Listed Bet365 Feilden Stakes. He is set to reoppose that rival at Epsom and if performing to the same level as he did at Sandown he will be tailed off. He was too keen and blew his chance of troubling the leaders. Next time out at Chester he was once again keen, but thankfully less so. Racing wide at the Cheshire track is always a recipe for disaster, but his finishing effort when the race was already gone due to his wide running will have encouraged his team. His trainer has said: "He learned a lot from running at Chester, going round those bends. He showed a good turn of foot and he did well to finish as close as he did. He's got a lot of talent and the owners are keen. He's not too big and he's well balanced so I don't think that Epsom will be a problem." There are certainly more appealing propositions in the race but Sonny Liston if finally learning not to race so keenly could have place claims if the pace is strong and his stamina can be exemplified.

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2022 Cazoo Derby
Sonny Liston silk

Sonny Liston (EW)

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