EPSOM,UK— Roger Varian will make a late decision on whether to run Eydon in the Cazoo Derby on Saturday 3rd June, despite being impressed by his work at Epsom Downs this morning at the Cazoo Derby Gallops Morning.
The Olden Times colt was an impressive fourth in the QIPCO 2000 Guineas at Newmarket last time out, having won the Listed bet365 Feilden Stakes at the same track just over a fortnight earlier.
However, connections still have him entered in the Prix du Jockey Club on the same weekend as the Cazoo Derby, giving them the “luxury” of playing a waiting game before making their final call.
Reviewing Eydon’s performance at the Cazoo Derby Gallops Morning today, Varian explained: “From what I could see it looked very good and very smooth. I was pleased with what I saw.
“More importantly is always the feedback from a jockey when you are on a gallop day like this as he is close to the action and David (Egan) was very upbeat and happy with the feel he got from the horse and how he handled the undulations.
“He switched leads at the right times and what we wanted to achieve today I think that box has been ticked and he looks in good order to me.
“He is still in the Prix du Jockey Club and is not a guaranteed Epsom starter. He could take in either and he will be left in both races and likely it could be a late call, so for punters that is worth noting.
“Prince Faisal (owner) will ultimately decide but we will digest what the horse has done this morning and see how he comes out of his work. It is a lovely position to be in as he is in both races. He gets trained for the same weekend so we don’t have to alter the training regime, and it affords us the luxury we can mate the late call.”
Varian added that the distance and ground conditions will play a key part in the decision, especially given there is more than an element of the unknown about how far Eydon might stay.
He explained: “Trip will come into consideration as the further you go into the unknown the more of a question mark it is. He hasn’t raced beyond nine furlongs before but he got that well in the Feilden Stakes. He was very strong at the finish in a truly run Guineas so hopefully he will get both 10 and 12 furlongs but 12 furlongs is more of a question mark as it is that bit further than he has gone before.
“The ground will be important as well. He has shown very good form at Newmarket on good firm ground and he has handled those undulations at Newmarket on fast ground and horses don’t do that unless they enjoy fast ground. If one looked like being soft and the other good to firm he would go on the better ground options.
“Both races have huge prestige and you would like to be involved in both with a horse that deserves to be there and I think which ever race he lines up in, as he is an impressive Feilden Stakes winner and fourth in one of the strongest 2000 Guineas we have seen for a few years that is very good form.
“He is a big strong horse that moves very well. He has done everything right since the 2000 Guineas and he is a contender whichever race he goes for.
“What I will say is all you can go on is what you have seen this morning. The horse behaved well, he handled the track and David felt his movement was never impeded at all. He switched leads at the right time. I was very pleased with it and that is the message I will give to the Prince.
“My gut feeling is that this horse will be better on a sounder surface and the softer the ground the more stamina you need to get through it. You are not just handling the ground – it becomes a stamina-sapping race opposed to one that has a touch of speed and class which Eydon showed finishing fourth in the 2000 Guineas.”
Varian also admitted the prospect of a Cazoo Derby runner is something of a rarity for him and his team, but one they are excited about.
He said: “We have gone close in the race before with Kingston Hill and Third Realm went close last year. We haven’t had many runners in the race. It is one of those races that stands out in the global calendar. If you could pin one to your CV before you stop doing what you are doing The Derby is one of them.
“I think he (Eydon) is a similar horse to Kingston Hill. He was a Group One winning two year old. This horse didn’t really have a two year old CV as he got going in the winter.
“Kingston Hill we were really sure he would relish the trip and if there is a question mark about Eydon it is the trip as he has never gone beyond nine furlongs before. If you pick his pedigree apart he looks like the sort of horse that should stay. When David has ridden him in both the Feilden Stakes and 2000 Guineas the strongest he said he felt to him was crossing the line.
“He seems to be hitting the line strong and that Guineas run was a strongly run race. He didn’t quite have the foot to get on the podium but he was very strong from three down all the way to the line and that would give you encouragement.
“He is about the most chilled out horse I’ve come across, a bit like Kingston Hill as he didn’t waste an ounce of energy.”
The Jockey Club Press Release
Photo: The Jockey Club