Bellum Justum stakes Derby claim with Epsom victory

Bellum Justum halved in price for the Derby after Andrew Balding’s colt won the Betfred Blue Riband Trial at Epsom.

While he took four attempts to get off the mark as a juvenile, the form of his win over Kevin Ryan’s Inisherin now looks much stronger than it did at the time and he took another leap forward here.

Ridden by Oisin Murphy, he was content to take a lead off Ryan Moore on Aidan O’Brien’s Chief Little Rock and with those in behind struggling to get on terms, it soon developed into a battle.

Bellum Justum held a narrow advantage for much of the final furlong but while he was well on top of the Ballydoyle runner close home, Roger Varian’s Defiance began to stay on strongly.

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Without looking like winning, he closed to within three-quarters of a length of the 9-1 winner, looking promising for the future on just his third outing.

Bellum Justum (left) was too good at Epsom
Bellum Justum (left) was too good at Epsom (John Walton/PA)

Bellum Justum was cut to 25-1 from 50s for the Derby by both Coral and Paddy Power.

“He had a setback about a month ago and he missed 10 days, so he’s entitled to come on for that today,” Balding told Racing TV.

“His form looked pretty strong and he improved a lot with racing last year and he’s entitled to improve from two to three, so we were fairly sure he’d be there or thereabouts but we’re expecting him to come on for it.

“He’s in the Dante and if he was going to run again that would be the likely target, we’ll just see how the Guineas goes and the other trials and we might end up coming back here.

“He’s out of an Oasis Dream mare but he’s closely related to Fox Tal who stayed a mile and a half.

“He’s up there with our best three-year-olds but unfortunately the one we were really excited about, Anzac Day, has had a setback.”

Crystal Delight was an easy winner for Harry Eustace
Crystal Delight was an easy winner for Harry Eustace (John Walton/PA)

Crystal Delight (5-2) made a winning debut for Harry Eustace when leading home stablemate Ziggy in the Lilley Plummer Risks City & Suburban Handicap.

Previously trained by the now-retired William Jarvis, he was sent straight to the front by Jim Crowley and controlled matters from the outset.

He kicked clear over two furlongs out and came home five and a half lengths ahead of Ziggy, who stayed on without ever looking a danger.

“William came as he’s good friends with dad (James Eustace) and we ended up with a couple off him, this one and Duke Of Verona and it’s going well so far,” said Eustace.

“I thought he’d run well as he’s been training well at home. It was a small field and he likes making the running, so I thought we’d be able to set our own fractions and that’s what Jim did, it worked out well.

“I had a mile-and-a-half handicap at York in mind so we’ll see how we go.”

Eustace had to settle for third with Duke Of Verona in the Weatherbys Global Stallions App Great Metropolitan Handicap as Champagne Piaff (5-2 favourite) ran out an easy winner for Gary and Ryan Moore.

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