Gosden, Fabre and O’Brien runners among 19 entries for Investec Blue Riband Trial

Epsom Downs opens its doors for the first time in 2018 with the Investec Spring Meeting on Wednesday, April 25, when the highlight is the £50,000 Listed Investec Blue Riband Trial (2.45pm, 19 entries) for three-year-olds.
The trial for the Investec Derby, run over 10 furlongs, is promoted to Listed status this year and has a new name.
This year’s renewal of the Investec Blue Riband Trial will be run in memory of the late Anthony Cane, who died on January 29, 2018, aged 69, after battling motor neurone disease.
Cane was chairman of Epsom Downs Racecourse from 2008 until 2016, during which time he played a pivotal role in the completion and opening in 2009 by the Duchess of Cornwall of the Duchess’s Stand at the racecourse and the new hotel the following year.
He was involved with Investec becoming the long-term sponsor of the Derby Festival and subsequently the 10-year extension of the support, ensuring that the premier Classic, the Investec Derby, remained the richest race in Britain.
He presided over Her Majesty The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations which started at the Investec Derby Festival in 2012.
A chartered surveyor, Cane was Strutt & Parker’s senior partner before retiring. He was a member of The Jockey Club and also had success as a racehorse owner, with the James Fanshawe-trained Mohican Girl winning two Listed contests in the early 1990s.
The Investec Blue Riband Trial offers the winner a wildcard entry for Britain’s premier Classic and richest race, the £1.5 million G1 Investec Derby at Epsom Downs on Saturday, June 2, provided he or she are not already entered or a gelding.
The 2017 Investec Derby Trial worked out extremely well, with the winner Cracksman ending the year as the highest-rated horse in Europe following his devastating victory in the G1 QIPCO Champion Stakes, and runner-up Permian taking G2 honours in the Dante Stakes and at Royal Ascot in the King Edward VII Stakes.
Crackman’s trainer John Gosden, who has won the last three editions of the Investec Blue Riband Trial, has four promising colts among the 19 entries.
The quartet includes the Photographer, successful on his only start at Chelmsford City in November, and Khalid Abdullah’s Crossed Baton, who got the better of highly-regarded rival Tigre Du Terre in a novice event at Kempton Park on March 31. Hipster Boy and Corelli, both winners on the All-Weather, are also in for the Clarehaven handler.
Chilean (Martyn Meade) sets the standard with a rating of 106, following his decisive victory in the G3 Prix La Force over nine furlongs at Longchamp, France, on April 8.
There is likely to be a cosmopolitan feel to this year’s race, with horses from France and Ireland among the entries.
Top French handler Andre Fabre is planning to run Rabdan. The son of Frankel created a big impression on his comeback at Saint Cloud on April 4, when taking a 12-furlong maiden by nine lengths on testing ground. Owned by Al Shaqab Racing, he was added to the Investec Derby at the second entry stage on April 3.
Leopardstown maiden winner James Cook, who is a full-brother to top-class racemare Found, is one of three entries for Ireland’s champion Flat trainer Aidan O’Brien. Stablemates Hunting Horn and Zabriskie are also engaged.
 
Mark Johnston has two possible runners in Dee Ex Bee and Lynwood Gold. Dee Ex Bee has already gained a wildcard entry for the Investec Derby by winning the Totepool Conditions Race over an extended mile at Epsom Downs in September.
Newmarket trainer George Margarson is set to saddle the progressive Technological, who does not have an entry in the Investec Derby.
The son of Universal was the impressive six-length winner of a handicap over an extended mile at Wolverhampton on Tapeta in January before capturing a 12-furlong novice event on Polytrack at Lingfield Park on his latest start on April 4.
Technological is owned by Abdulla Al Mansoori, who won the Investec Blue Riband Trial with Our Channel in 2014.
Margarson said today: “Technological is in good form. We are very happy with him at home and he is a very nice horse.
“He has been a very progressive horse and has come into his own this year.
“Technological has good form over a mile and won nicely when stepped up to a mile and a half last time last time.
“We feel the move from the All-Weather to the grass will suit him and further his development.
“Hopefully, he has got a great chance in the race and we are looking forward to running.”
Other entries to note include Godolphin’s Ispolini (Charlie Appleby), Al Shaqab Racing’s Fajjaj (Hugo Palmer), who was a second entry into the Investec Derby earlier this month, and My Lord And Master (William Haggas), an impressive six-length winner at Nottingham in November.
As well as Technological, Chilean, Bartholomeu Dias (Charlie Hills), Desert Wind (Ed Vaughan), Hipster Boy and Lynwood Gold do not have an entry in Investec Derby. Simpson (Ed Walker) is a gelding.
The six-race card at the Investec Spring Meeting also features the £50,000 Investec City & Suburban Handicap (3.55pm, 1m 2f, 18 entries) and the £25,000 Investec Corporate Banking Great Metropolitan Handicap (3.20pm, 1m 4f, 29 entries).
The going at Epsom Downs is currently Good (Good to Soft in places on the Derby course).
It has been dry since Wednesday of last week and is set to remain that way until the start of next week. Cooler temperatures are expected from Sunday.
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