Mahmood Al Zarooni will train two of the main ante-post Derby fanciesPICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
Godolphin's main Derby hopes go to Al Zarooni
IT MAY be midwinter but there was a New Year surprise for Investec Derby punters when Godolphin announced that Mahmood Al Zarooni will be training two of the main ante-post fancies for Epsom.
It was widely known that Racing Post Trophy winner Casamento and the unbeaten Dubai Prince would be joining Godolphin this season, having carried Sheikh Mohammed's colours in their highly successful two-year-old campaigns.
But neither will run for former champion trainer Saeed bin Suroor, who won the Derby with Lammtarra in 1995 and who has sent out the winners of 12 British classics in the past decade and a half.
Instead the colts, 10-1 co-second favourites for the Derby with William Hill, have joined bin Suroor's former assistant Mahmood Al Zarooni, who only started training for the organisation in his own right last spring.
"When the horses arrived in Dubai Sheikh Mohammed requested that they were to be trained by Mahmood and we are looking forward to seeing them participate in the feature races this year," Godolphin racing manager Simon Crisford said.