Nottingham celebrating Derby impact after Desert Crown’s Epsom strike

Racegoers at Nottingham have had the privilege of seeing some classy horses over the years and Desert Crown became the third Derby winner in seven years to have won a maiden at the track before going on to taste victory at Epsom.

The list of horses to have won on the banks of the Trent before striking Classic gold is lengthy, and the racecourse is rightly proud of their legacy as the proving ground of champions.

Tom Ryall, who took over as clerk of the course last year, says Desert Crown’s Derby win, following on from those of Golden Horn (2015) and Adayar (2021), is a “feather in the cap” for Nottingham.

“Oath won here before he went on to win the Derby (1999). Oh So Sharp won here before she went on to win the Oaks (1985). Slip Anchor won here, too, before winning the Derby (1985),” he said.

“I am relatively new here, having taken over at the end of last season, but people have always said our backend of season maidens over a mile, you could run a full card of them they are that well-supported. They are guaranteed to split and get two divisions of a mile maiden at Nottingham in October.”

It has long been written into racing lore that Nottingham is a fine test for juveniles, with plenty of Classic aspirants travelling to Nottingham towards the end of the their two-year-old seasons.

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“I suppose it is a fair, galloping track,” said Ryall.

“They use it to teach the horse. If you walk it, there are a few undulations from what you see on the TV.

“That is our third Derby winner in seven seasons to have won a maiden at the backend of their two-year-old season and we are naturally delighted. It is a feather in the cap.

“We take a lot of pride in that it is a proving ground for Derby winners and while all year round we might not stage the best racing, come October time, we could have a future champion.

“Even Mishriff won round here as a two-year-old, Blue Point, there are a few. The list is pretty good.”

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