Tag Archive for: Eydon

Hang fire is Varian advice for punters on Eydon’s next move

Roger Varian has advised punters to sit tight with a decision yet to be made on Eydon’s Cazoo Derby participation.

The Feilden Stakes winner took a huge leap forward to be fourth in the 2000 Guineas, raising the possibility of another shot at Classic glory in the Epsom highlight on Saturday week.

Varian took the Olden Times colt to the track on Monday as part of the Cazoo Derby Gallops Morning and while Eydon pleased both Varian and big-race rider David Egan in his spin on the Downs, the Newmarket handler underlined the 10-furlong Prix du Jockey Club also remains a live option.

Roger Varian keeps a close watch on Eydon
Roger Varian keeps a close watch on Eydon (John Walton/PA)

He said: “David was very happy with the horse. He’s still in the Jockey Club and is not guaranteed to run here, it could go either way.

“My advice to punters thinking of backing him is to sit on the fence.

“There are still 12 days to go and the trip will come into consideration. He hasn’t run over more than nine furlongs, though I’m hopeful he would get both.

“Both races have tremendous prestige – he’s done everything right and will be a contender wherever he goes.”

Westover in action at Epsom on Monday
Westover in action at Epsom on Monday (John Walton/PA)

Another Derby hope to get a taste of Epsom was Ralph Beckett’s Westover, who worked with a companion under jockey Rob Hornby.

The son of Frankel made a triumphant return to action when holding Cash by a short head in last month’s Classic Trial at Sandown, and Hornby felt the racecourse workout would help bring the colt forward, as well as proving he can handle the unique track.

The rider said: “He’s such a big horse, and as it’s been a while since Sandown he needed a good blow out.

“He’s very well balanced for a big horse and when I rolled him onto his lead leg he hopped onto it fluently, which will have done him the world of good.

“This is the time when the sleepless nights start, as I’ve always thought a great deal about the horse and the opportunity to ride him in the Derby is very exciting.

“He dropped me a couple of weeks ago, as he was so exuberant, and going down today he let me know he was there. When we started to gallop he settled beautifully.”

Beckett has no fears about stepping up to a mile and a half for the first time in the Derby and is also relaxed about conditions.

He said: “He galloped out well at the end of some good work. They went a nice clip and it was all positive.

“I don’t think he’s bothered about the ground and one thing’s for sure, Andrew (Cooper) won’t let it get too fast. I also don’t have any fears about this fellow getting the trip.

“The benefit of bringing him here was for him to have an away day rather than another run.”

Epsom gallop key to Eydon Derby decision

Eydon will test his aptitude for Epsom during the Cazoo Derby Gallops Morning before connections decide between a tilt at either the English or the French Derby.

The three-year-old began his campaign with a Listed success in the Feilden Stakes at Newmarket, a six-runner affair in which he defied odds of 22-1 to register an impressive victory under David Egan.

A return to the Rowley Mile for the 2000 Guineas followed, with Roger Varian’s Olden Times colt again outperforming the market estimation of his chances when coming home fourth behind Coroebus at 33-1.

Both the French and English Derbys came under consideration after Eydon’s excellent Guineas run and a final decision will be made by owner Prince Faisal after the colt undertakes a piece of work on the unique undulations of the Epsom Downs.

Ted Voute, racing manager to Prince Faisal, said: “He’ll go on Monday (May 23) to Epsom and have a little piece of work down the hill and around the turn and into the straight.

“We’ll see how he handles the bend and the camber and then the Prince will have a think about what he wants to do after seeing how balanced he is.”

The decision to run the bay in both the Feilden and the Guineas was ultimately made by his owner, who bred Eydon and knows the bloodline well having owned several generations of the family.

“They were really good calls, I have no idea which way he will go now,” said Voute.

Eydon (burgundy silks) in the 2000 Guineas Stakes
Eydon (burgundy silks) in the 2000 Guineas Stakes (David Davies/PA)

“I think, looking at things, the French Derby has more pace in it and is possibly a little stronger, and the (Epsom) Derby is perhaps a little slower.

“It’ll be a difficult call but the Prince will make it and he hasn’t made many bad calls.”

Another high-profile horse seen in Prince Faisal’s silks is globetrotting star Mishriff, who won the French Derby, known as the Prix du Jockey Club, for trainer John Gosden in 2020.

The five-year-old disappointed when last seen bidding for back-to-back wins on the Saudi Cup and connections are hoping he can bounce back in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Voute added: “I said to the Prince the other day that he’d already won the French Derby and he said ‘oh well, I don’t mind winning it twice!’

“Ascot is where we’re heading. We’re just waiting to see whether we’ll be ready for then, but it’s pretty much the same agenda as last year and we’ll just take it one race at a time.”

As a middle-distance performer, Mishriff is likely to cross paths with William Haggas’ all-conquering Baaeed at some stage, a challenge Voute accepts must be accepted to cement the horse’s place in the division.

He said: “I’m not sure I really want to take on Baaeed, but if we’re going to be a champion then we’ve got to.”

Eydon team prepared to wait on next move

Team Eydon will be keeping a close eye on the plethora of trials taking place on both sides of the Channel over the next few weeks as they plot their next move for the Qipco 2000 Guineas fourth.

The Olden Times colt headed into the first Classic of the season on the back of an impressive win in the Feilden Stakes during the Craven meeting and proved he belonged at Group One level when outrunning his odds of 33-1.

A move up in trip is now on the cards with both the Cazoo Derby and Prix du Jockey Club under consideration, but owner Prince Faisal’s racing manager Ted Voute suggests they will not be in a rush to make a decision on his next destination, with the owner set to make the final call.

“We have not really decided what the next move is, but that is going to be the Prince’s decision as it has been the last two runs. It was his call to run in the Feilden and it was him who said let’s go for the Guineas and he has run a great race,” said Voute.

“The Prince has said there’s no rush to make a decision, we’ll see how he comes out of the race because it was quite fast ground, but he seems to have coped with it all fine.”

He went on: “He probably needs a bit further than a mile, but looking where we finished, he’s got the Derby favourite (Luxembourg) not far in front of us and we are bred along a stamina line. He’s in the English Derby and he’s in the French Derby, they are one day apart and both will be under consideration.

“I think the smart thing to do is sit and watch what comes out of all the trials and see where the best place is for Eydon to run a big race.”

The bet365 Craven Meeting – Day Three – Newmarket Racecourse
Eydon in action at Newmarket during the Craven meeting (Tim Goode/PA)

Voute hopes that alongside Mishriff, Prince Faisal could hold a strong hand for middle-distance contests later in the season.

He continued: “We’re very pleased to finish fourth, we hoped he could run well and he’s gone and finished behind the two biggest battalions in the business in Darley and Coolmore and we’re absolutely thrilled.

“The Prince is delighted, we’ve got Mishriff next door at John Gosden’s on the Bury Road and he (Prince Faisal) could have a big year ahead of him.

“Fingers crossed we can bag a big one along the line with Eydon. He’s a real eyeful, his temperament is so great, he deserves to keep running at the top level and see if he can bag a big one.”

Egan upbeat on chance of first British Classic victory with Eydon

David Egan insists Eydon can make good use of his stamina and put it up to Native Trail in Saturday’s Qipco 2000 Guineas at Newmarket.

The 22-year-old jockey, unquestionably one of the rising stars of the sport, is no stranger to the biggest stage, having won the world’s most valuable race aboard Mishriff in the $20million Saudi Cup last year.

Now he seeks his first British Classic with the Roger Varian-trained Feilden Stakes winner Eydon.

The Prince Faisal-owned Eydon made his racecourse debut on the all-weather at Newcastle in December and was beaten three-quarters of a length in a mile novice event.

Having been short-headed on his next outing over the same course and distance, he went into the Feilden at Newmarket as a 22-1 outsider – but relished his first run on turf and powered up the Rowley Mile for a three-and-a-quarter-length success over dual winner Masekela.

His sire, Olden Times, also won a Feilden as a maiden for the late John Dunlop and having successfully followed in his footsteps on the same Rowley Mile course over a furlong further than he will encounter this time, Egan hopes Eydon’s stamina will come into play.

“It was Prince Faisal’s decision to step him up,” said Egan.

“Obviously he had been beaten twice on the all-weather at Newcastle and finished behind some nice horses, but it was a brave decision to step him up in company, and he took it well within his stride and won it decisively.

“His pedigree has a lot of stamina in it. Prince Faisal knows the family, as he had the father and bred the horse himself.

“Going into the Feilden, the Prince was telling me how much confidence he has about his stamina.

“Dropping back to a mile (in the Guineas), stamina is going to play to our strengths and what also will probably play to our strengths is how well he travelled into the Feilden Stakes off a slowly-run pace.”

Eydon is berthed in stall 10 of the 15 runners in the colts’ Classic, but neither the draw or the likely quicker ground worries the rider.

Eydon was an impressive winner of the Feilden Stake
Eydon was an impressive winner of the Feilden Stakes (Tim Goode/PA)

He added: “They are going to go a lot faster, but I’m happy with the draw. As long as you are not out on the wing, any draw is good, because you have so many good horses in the race.

“Coroebus, Luxembourg and Perfect Power are drawn one, four and three respectively.

“They are three very strong, competitive horses. I’m sure it will be a strongly-run event as it is normally in every Guineas. We will have a plan in place before we go out and hopefully he is good enough to take the step up in grade.”

On official ratings, Eydon has some 13lb to find with unbeaten favourite Native Trail, who is the one they all have to beat according to Egan.

“You could say the top four are four top-class two-year-olds,” he added.

“Obviously Coroebus hasn’t run this year and Native Trail is still borderline odds-on. It just shows the authority Native Trail has and how much regard he is held in by his supporters.

“He has a lot of track experience and any test that has been thrown at him, he just takes it in his stride and does everything with such ease. So obviously he is the horse to beat, but there are four unbeaten horses going into the Guineas, which is not something you see very often.”

David Egan seeks a first British Classic with Eydon
David Egan seeks a first British Classic with Eydon (Tim Goode/PA)

With Newmarket officials continuing to water after another dry week, the ground is set to be on the quicker side of good, but Egan is not making any excuses on that score.

“Eydon is a very good mover and physically he is a very strong horse,” he said.

“As they say, good horses go in any ground. It was on the quick side of good when he won the Fielden Stakes and probably was not as quick as he is going to find this time.

“There hasn’t been much rain recently at Newmarket, but he is a very good-moving horse and I wouldn’t be worried about what the ground was.”

:: The Qipco 2000 Guineas is the start of this year’s Qipco British Champions Series. For more info go to britishchampionsseries.com.

Eydon team deliberating 2000 Guineas option

It is often said that the Qipco 2000 Guineas is the best trial for the Derby and that could be the case for Eydon, who has been left in the first Classic of the season.

The son of Olden Times shot to prominence when following in his father’s footsteps and recording an impressive 22-1 win in the bet365 Feilden Stakes earlier this month.

Roger Varian’s colt hit the line strong in the hands of David Egan in that nine furlongs assignment to spark dreams of Epsom and the Cazoo Derby, for which he is a best priced 33-1 with Ladbrokes and Coral.

Owner Prince Faisal’s racing advisor Ted Voute went to check on the strapping three-year-old on Monday and reports Eydon to be in A1 condition ahead of a potential return to the Rowley Mile later this month.

“I went to see him on Monday and he looked magnificent, so I relayed that information to the Prince (Faisal), who is still in Saudi Arabia and after discussions with Roger as well, we have left him in the Guineas for the time being to keep all the options open,” said Voute.

“The Prince has said the best trial for the Derby is the Guineas, so that is definitely on our mind, but it’s just the timing from the Feilden to the Guineas is the shortest of all the options we have, so that’s really why we’re sitting and deliberating.

“Going down to Newmarket myself and having a look at him was one of the pieces of the puzzle, which I fed back into the system and as a result we’ve left him in. Sometimes you’re forced to make decisions before you want to make them, but by leaving him in the race it buys us a week.”

Prince Faisal has never been an owner to shirk a challenge, something Voute commented on when assessing Eydon’s Guineas credentials, while also suggesting he may still be overlooked in the betting for the opening Classic of the season.

Goodwood Festival – Day Two
Roger Varian could have a Classic contender on his hands in Eydon. (John Walton/PA)

He said: “Obviously, we’ve got the likes of Native Trail and some very good horses to face up to, but you don’t become the best unless you race against them and the Prince has never been shy, he likes to race them at the top table if they are good enough.

“He’s 25-1 for the Guineas and I wonder if he was by Frankel out of an Olden Times mare he would be shorter in the betting, but he’s by Olden Times out of a Frankel mare so he’s 25s.

“He won the Feilden very nicely and he could be anything, but we’ve not ruled anything out and he was put in the Dante and all the right races in both England and France.”

Eydon emerges as big-race contender with Feilden strike

Eydon rewarded connections for aiming high when victorious in the Listed bet365 Feilden Stakes at Newmarket.

A maiden in two runs ahead of the nine-furlong contest, the Roger Varian-trained colt was an outsider of the six-strong field and left the stalls a 22-1 chance.

Under David Egan the three-year-old, who runs in the Mishriff silks, travelled towards the back of the group until the third furlong from home, where he took a wide line and easily pulled away from the 2-1 favourite Masekela to triumph by three and a quarter lengths.

The victory may be a first for Eydon, but Varian considers him a luckless loser in his two previous starts and was not entirely surprised to see him succeed at Headquarters.

Eydon and David Egan
Eydon and David Egan (Tim Goode/PA)

“We’ve always liked him and it was trainer error why he didn’t win his second start, but he ran very well on debut and If you watch that race back it would be no surprise he has run well in the Feilden because he was unlucky not to win on debut and he’s always shaped like a jolly nice horse,” said Varian.

“He’s a lovely horse but he’s a big horse, he’s come here weighing nearly 550 kilos and that’s why he has taken a bit of time. Big horses always seem to take plenty of time.

“We’ve always rated him, he’s always worked nicely at home. He galloped out well there and he’ll get further, he’s an exciting horse.

“We were saying when we saddled him, the horse will be delighted he didn’t have to go all the way up the A1 to Newcastle today and he’s probably enjoyed a short trip up the road!

“We always thought he would be better on grass than the all-weather and his work over the last fortnight has been good.”

Varian was quick to express gratitude to Prince Faisal, the horse’s owner, for his encouragement in aiming for the Listed race as opposed to an easier assignment in a maiden or a novice event.

All smiles for winning connections
All smiles for winning connections (Adam Morgan/PA)

“I’ve got to thank Prince Faisal really, first of all for sending me the horse to train, because he’s always been extremely supportive of me throughout my career and he’s very knowledgeable,” he said.

“He saw the promise of this horse on debut. He was entered in the Craven and we were weighing up the options of Craven or nine furlongs, but the Prince said ‘don’t go for a novice or a maiden, go for the Feilden if you’re happy with him’ and this is hopefully another nice horse for the Prince, who has had so many nice horses over the years.”

The son of Olden Times holds entries in the 2000 Guineas, Dante and Derby, and Varian added: “We won’t make any decisions without speaking to the Prince, but we’ll see how he comes out of the race and he’s well entered up and the way he’s won here would justify an ambitious plan.

“He’s hopefully something to look forward to, I think.”