Winter Derby 2014 Preview

Lingfield stages the Winter Derby on Saturday with a field of 14 set to go to post. The hot favourite is Grandeur who already has two Grade 1 victories to his credit and is officially rated far superior to his rivals.

The Favourite

Grandeur has at least 7lbs in hand of this field on official figures. The talented grey won two Grade 2 races in America in 2012 and was runner-up in the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby. He was aimed at the Arlington Million last season but faced an impossible task from a poor draw and finished seventh.grandeur2

He won easily in Listed company at Goodwood and also finished a fine second to Mukhadram at York. He won with a bit in hand at Lingfield last month but connections felt that he was idling in front and he will wear cheek pieces on Saturday.

The draw has again been unkind to Grandeur and jockey Ryan Moore will have to navigate his way through the field from stall 14. That is far from ideal but Moore has the experience to secure a good position and strike from the home turn. He has the class to overcome the draw and can be backed at 13-8 with Bet365.

The Challengers

The nearest to Grandeur on official ratings is the ten-year-old Premier Loco who won this race in 2012. Chris Wall’s gelding is a favourite with punters but age may finally be catching up with him.

A bigger threat may come from last year’s winner Farraaj who held off Robin Hoods Bay by half a length. Roger Varian’s gelding has only managed two subsequent starts but won here last season without a prep race. Robin Hoods Bay chased home Grandeur in the trial but was hampered in running and could finish a little closer this time.

Godolphin has their first runner of the year in the UK with the former Mark Johnston-trained Windhoek. The four-year-old won a handicap at Meydan in January and could be in for a good season.

Rebellious Guest set a new course record at Kempton when beating Uramazin by two lengths last time out. Trainer That was his first start over ten furlongs and clearly brought about some improvement. He had previously made late ground to finish fourth in a mile handicap and he could be each-way value at around 16-1.

Chil The Kite and Dick Doughtywylie have both put up good performances in the past but the former has proved particularly disappointing. Dick Doughtywylie represents the powerful John Gosden yard and is a course and distance winner.

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