Bullish Mann readying surprise £1.5 million contender for Derby
Lambourn's Derby challenge does not have the same depth as Aidan O'Brien's or Newmarket's but jumps trainer Charlie Mann is the surprise name who could come to the rescue as he prepares Depardieu Van T Kiezelhof for the big event next month.
Mann, who enjoyed a fine campaign last season with 23 winners and is three from five this term, said: "He's a serious horse. I've had him for about three weeks and he's about £1.5 million worth of talent. He's a top horse and is probably worth more than any other horse in Lambourn."
But it is, of course, showjumping's Hickstead Derby, rather than the Epsom Classic, for which Mann is preparing the giant grey.
The trainer explained: "He's ridden by a good mate of mine Guy Williams and he wants me to get him fit for the Derby, and with the money involved there I might be changing my vocation in life.
"He's quite an eye-opener when you see him; he's 18hh and enormous. He's a beautiful horse and I'm riding him every day, and loving it.
"When you've got something worth as much as him I don't think we'll be schooling, but I'm riding him up the gallops in Lambourn and he's a pleasure."
He added: "He canters about as slow as a walk, but he's completely different from a thoroughbred.
"He does everything at a slower pace but is a beautiful horse to ride and is far more balanced than those thoroughbreds; it's like riding a Rolls-Royce."