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Monday, 21 January, 2019

Dubai Thunder gatecrashes Derby betting after impressive debut win

Dubai Thunder: eye-catching performance on his debut at Newbury on Friday
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Bookmakers reacted significantly to Dubai Thunder's ten-length demolition of the field in a 1m2f maiden at Newbury on Friday, with the Godolphin colt as short as 14-1 and top-priced at 25-1 with William Hill for next month's Investec Derby. 

Dubai Thunder, trained by Saeed bin Suroor was cut from a general 50-1 after his stunning debut.

Jockey Adam Kirby said: "He's very nice. He was very babyish beforehand and a bit randy, but he's got a serious engine. He liked getting his toe in, but I'm not saying he needs it soft. He's got class."

Asked if the Derby was a million miles away, he added: "All I can say is he's a horse with a big engine."

A similar gamble took place last year after this race, which was won by Sir Michael Stoute's Ulysses by eight lengths. He he went on to finish down the field at Epsom behind subsequent scorer Harzand.  

Cliffs Of Moher, winner of the Listed Dee Stakes at Chester last week, has been cut into 7-2 favourite (from 5) by Ladbrokes for next month's Epsom showpiece.

With his trainer Aidan O'Brien expressing doubts about his stablemate Churchill participating, fellow bookmakers William Hill have installed him as 4-1 favourite alongside John Gosden's Cracksman.

Nicola McGeady of Ladbrokes said: "Cliffs Of Moher has now emerged as the Derby favourite but we are hoping Breakfast With The Stars will provide more clues next week."

One horse who will be absent from the contest is 2,000 Guineas second Barney Roy who Godolphin firmly ruled out of the calculations and confirmed he will also sidestep the Irish 2,000 Guineas in order to wait for the St James's Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Richard Hannon's Greenham winner, who was beaten only a length by Churchill at Newmarket, would have needed supplementing for the Derby but is as short as 8-1 in some lists. While the team are convinced he will stay beyond a mile, it is felt unwise to try stretching his stamina that far so early in his career.

John Ferguson said: "We are going to stick to a mile for the moment and Sheikh Mohammed is keen to go straight to the St James's Palace Stakes. As I understand it Richard is thrilled with the way he's training, but if we go Greenham, 2,000 Guineas, Irish 2,000 and Ascot it's a lot to ask a young horse.

"We are confident he will stay further than a mile, but he is by Excelebration and a mile and a quarter might end up being his best trip, so we believe that going to the Derby is not a wise move at this stage."

Godolphin already have a leading candidate for the Derby in Best Solution, who landed the Lingfield Derby trial this month.

William Buick was ruled out of both days of the Investec Derby meeting last night after he collected a five-day riding ban at York.

The Godolphin jockey was found guilty of careless riding after guiding the Charlie Appleby-trained Alqamar in the last race.

As the punishment is greater than four days Buick will not be allowed to move any of the days which correspond with Group 1 races, which only applies to suspensions of four days or less.

He would have to successfully appeal the decision or severity of the sentence to be free to ride at Epsom.

As Godolphin rider, Buick would be likely to be involved in all three Group 1 races and would have been expected to ride Jack Hobbs in the Coronation Cup.

St James's Palace Stakes entries

All I can say is he's a horse with a big engine

Key data

Barney Roy
E.W. Terms
Sky bet