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Bangkok bids to give agent Alastair Donald a matchless and moving Derby victory

Epsom hope was bought for the late Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha for 500,000gns

Alastair Donald (right) is aiming to match business partner Ed Sackville's (left) achievement of buying a European Classic winner
Alastair Donald (right) is aiming to match business partner Ed Sackville's (left) achievement of buying a European Classic winnerCredit: Laura Green

Bloodstock agent Alastair Donald is accustomed to Derby success in Hong Kong but he is set to be represented by his first runner in the original and most prestigious race that bears that storied race name at Epsom on Saturday.

Sandown Classic Trial winner Bangkok, bought as a yearling for 500,000gns and around an 8-1 shot for the contest, will also be a debut Derby starter for the late Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha's King Power Racing and Donald acknowledged a lot of emotion is invested in the handsome bay colt.

“It's the ultimate goal for a bloodstock agent to buy a Derby winner and I'm lucky that in Vichai I had a client willing to buy some good looking, very well bred yearlings to give me a chance,” said the agent.

“Bangkok would be a very emotional and popular winner, and pay an incredible tribute to Vichai.”

Bangkok (Silvestre de Sousa) are led back to the winners enclosure after the Classic TrialSandown 26.4.19 Pic: Edward Whitaker
Bangkok: Sandown Classic Trial winner blends good looks and a top pedigreeCredit: Edward Whitaker

Vichai's son Aiyawatt, better known as Top, is ensuring the firm foundations his father laid in making King Power Racing a blue-chip ownership operation are built upon and he will be on hand at Epsom on Saturday with a large contingent of the Srivaddhanaprabha family.

“They're all incredibly excited and have been following all the press in the lead-up to the Derby,” Donald reported.

Remembering how he picked Bangkok out of the 349 yearlings who came under the hammer at Book 1 of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale in 2017, he said: “He's by a very exciting young stallion in Australia and he's a beautiful model, well balanced but medium sized – not overly big by any means.

“Then you look at the dam and what she's achieved, and it was obvious he had the pedigree to back up his looks.”

Bred by Barronstown Stud, Bangkok is out of Listed-placed Tanaghum, a daughter of Darshaan and Irish 1,000 Guineas heroine Mehthaaf who had already produced stakes winners Tactic and Yaazy as well as the dam of star miler Ribchester. Since he was sold as a yearling, his half-brother Matterhorn has emerged as a smart ten-furlong performer for Mark Johnston.

“When you work on a small budget you often end up having to sacrifice something at the yearling sales – you maybe have to overlook an unfashionable pedigree or a conformational fault – but I'm very fortunate that King Power Racing have allowed me to buy horses who are the complete package,” Donald observed.

Bangkok would be the first Group 1 winner but not quite the first Classic winner for King Power Racing in only its third year of operation as Fox Champion, a son of Kodiac purchased by Donald for 420,000gns at the Craven Breeze-Up Sale, landed the German 2,000 Guineas in recent weeks.

“A tough, improving horse on the up” according to Donald, that colt is bound for Royal Ascot with either the St James's Palace or Jersey Stakes in his sights.

Bangkok would give a new dimension to the agent's roll of honour as he has hitherto been best known for his success in Hong Kong and his three winners of the jurisdiction's Derby – Collection, Designs On Rome and Viva Pataca.

A Derby winner would also help make amends for a case of what might have been in Chriselliam, a daughter of Iffraaj bought by Donald as a yearling for 40,000gns and an impressive winner of the Fillies' Mile and Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf who tragically died of a foot infection before she ran at three.

Bangkok could also allow Donald the equal bragging rights of a European Classic winner with his business partner Ed Sackville, who sourced 1,000 Guineas victress Sky Lantern.

"I've had 68 Group 1 winners so far but if Bangkok became the 69th it would top the lot," Donald summed up.

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Martin StevensBloodstock journalist

Published on 31 May 2019inNews

Last updated 23:35, 31 May 2019