Meade could look to Irish Derby with Lone Eagle after colt forced to miss Epsom

Lone Eagle could head for the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby after being ruled out of the English version due to a dirty scope.

The Galileo colt was found not to be 100 per cent when given a routine test after a workout on Thursday morning.

It was a bitter blow to trainer Martyn Meade and his team, as Lone Eagle looked to be in top form after easily winning the Cocked Hat Stakes at Goodwood two weeks ago under a 5lb penalty.

“We were all ready – we gave him his last bit of prep this morning for a blow-out and as a matter of course we scoped him and unfortunately there was a bit of mucus,” said the Manton handler.

“The trouble is the horse has been in great form – he was eating everything, working so well and his coat was looking great, but you can’t get away from the fact that for that race you need to be 100 per cent, not 90 per cent.

“I was devastated. It’s very disappointing.”

Meade feels Royal Ascot, where Lone Eagle holds an entry in the King Edward VII Stakes, is likely to come too soon – but the Irish Derby at the Curragh on June 26 could be on the agenda.

“It’s going to be a rush to get to Ascot, so I don’t think we’ll be going there,” he said.

“We’ll look at the Irish Derby which might suit him a bit better. I think that’s where we might go. We could still go for a Derby, but it’s not the English one.”

Meade eyes Derby tilt for Lone Eagle

Lone Eagle is likely to take his chance in next week’s Cazoo Derby after bouncing back to winning form at Goodwood.

The Galileo colt swept to victory by four lengths from Yibir in the Listed Cocked Hat Stakes this month, carrying a 5lb penalty for a Group Three success at Newmarket last autumn.

Lone Eagle’s latest performance showed his near five-length defeat in Sandown’s Classic Trial on his seasonal debut in April was not a true reflection of his ability.

Trainer Martyn Meade was delighted with the improvement, and at this stage is leaning towards running the colt at Epsom.

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“We haven’t made a final decision yet, but it’s still on the cards we’ll run him,” said the Manton handler.

“He won at Goodwood with a 5lb penalty and 59 knot headwind. He did it well – so I think we have to ignore Sandown, where he ran flat. He bounced back well, and Goodwood should put him spot on to go to Epsom.

“Obviously, he’s a big price – but I think there’s no reason why he shouldn’t take his chance. He’ll cope with the ground and the track.

“We’ll see how he is over the next couple of days and make a final decision.”

Meade has run out of time, however, to get Gloucestershire ready for the colts’ Classic.

The son of Flintshire made a winning debut over a mile and three furlongs at Kempton in December, but his reappearance has been delayed after he got a bad infection in his off hind in March which took a long time to clear.

“I don’t think we’re going to get him there,” said Meade.

“He really needs to have a run before – I think it would be wrong to run him straight there. It could be asking too much.

“I haven’t got a plan at the moment, but he’s progressing well.”

Meade may be represented in the Cazoo Oaks by Technique, who was beaten just a head by Wirko in the Blue Riband Trial at Epsom in April but then ran below expectations when seventh of eight in Lingfield’s Oaks Trial.

“I’ll possibly run Technique in the Oaks,” he said.

“She was a bit disappointing at Lingfield – but she’s going great at home, so we might have a tilt with her.

“She ran a good race (at Epsom), so we know she acts on the track. The only consideration is whether she will get the trip – but I think she will.”

Lone Eagle makes all for clear-cut Cocked Hat triumph

Lone Eagle produced a dominant front-running display in the British Stallion Studs EBF Cocked Hat Stakes at Goodwood.

Martyn Meade’s Galileo colt ended last season on a high, winning his final three outings, but his Cazoo Derby aspirations took a knock when he could finish only fourth in the Sandown Classic Trial.

Reunited with Silvestre de Sousa, he reverted to attempting to make all the running, despite carrying a 5lb penalty.

In the testing conditions his rivals dropped away one by one, but William Buick still looked to be sitting pretty on Yibir with two furlongs to run.

When stamina became an issue, though, Lone Eagle (3-1) came into his element and went on to pull four lengths clear.

Coral cut his Derby odds to 25-1 from 40s, while he is 20-1 for the St Leger.

Meade said: “Obviously we were a little bit disappointed at Sandown and after that we came here with a little bit of trepidation – especially with the strong wind up the straight.

“He’s a horse that only just does enough at home and you can’t put him under pressure, so today we decided to try to make it a gallop because he is relentless and he has a big heart, so that when they come to him he finds more.

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“He’s in the Derby and the Irish Derby and the end game could be something like the St Leger, but we need to revisit.

“I would love to go for the big prizes, but I’m inclined to take small steps as it is a long season.”

Meade does have another colt still engaged at Epsom, the once-raced Gloucestershire, but his participation is far from certain, also.

He said: “Gloucestershire had an infection early on this year and took a long time to get over it and we don’t really want to mess up the whole season by trying to run before we can walk, so whether he’ll go for the Derby I honestly don’t know.”

Dulas hits the front to gain a deserved victory
Dulas hits the front to gain a deserved victory (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

De Sousa also won on the Charlie Hills-trained Dulas (13-8 favourite), who got his head in front at the third time of asking this season in the Thank You NHS From The Angus Family Handicap having finished second at both Haydock and Chester.

Hills said: “That was much deserved because he’d run two great races this year, running very well without winning and I think he will go forward from that.

“He’s a horse we’ve always liked, with plenty of talent. Let’s see what the handicapper does to him on Tuesday and we may then look at the Buckingham Palace at Royal Ascot.”

The opening British European Breeders Fund EBF Novice Stakes was won in good style by Andrew Balding’s newcomer Masekela (9-2) under champion jockey Oisin Murphy, who said: “He ticks every box with his temperament and action and he’s a lovely type.

Masekela (noseband) made a pleasing debut
Masekela (noseband) made a pleasing debut (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

“His work had been really nice going into this race. His dam stayed very well, while he covers a lot of ground, and to be honest I was thrilled to be able to ride him today in what was a super performance.

“In the conditions we went very steady for the first two to three furlongs, but I didn’t want William (Buick, on Fall Of Rome) to get away from me. The conditions are not ideal, but it is raceable.

“If there was one race I wanted to be run today, it was this one.”

David Simcock and Jamie Spencer landed the Height Of Fashion Stakes with Ad Infinitum and then doubled up when Luckiness (17-2) won the Vesta Handicap – but it may be his last success on British shores.

Luckiness could be heading to Hong Kong
Luckiness could be heading to Hong Kong (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Simcock said: “He’s a lovely horse who had come forward quite a lot from his run at Doncaster.

“But, unfortunately he might now be off to Hong Kong, it’s up to his owner and there’s not much I can do about it.”

Spencer said: “I was gutted he was beaten at Doncaster, but he was tubby and needed the run. He has a good, willing attitude and a nice turn of foot and is a joy to be around – although I’m not sure how long that will be.”

Meade puts Lone Eagle on Classic trial

Lone Eagle puts his Cazoo Derby credentials on the line in the bet365 Classic Trial at Sandown on Friday.

Trainer Martyn Meade believes this Group Three contest over a mile and a quarter will reveal whether the Galileo colt justifies being aimed at the premier Classic at Epsom.

Lone Eagle progressed through the ranks as a juvenile, winning the last three of his four races, culminating in the Group Three Zetland Stakes at Newmarket.

“He improved all the time last year and did everything we asked of him. He is totally laid-back at home,” said Meade.

“He is a horse that never shows anything at home, but just gives his all on the racecourse.

“He coped with Sandown well first time out there when he was a bit unlucky, so hopefully he can go one better there this time.

“After the race on Friday it will tell us where we are and whether we need to work him on our Derby gallop at home, but so far he is going the right way.

“I think he is pretty versatile ground-wise and I don’t think he is ground dependent as far as I can ascertain, both from what we have seen at home or on the race track.”

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It is a similar scenario for Charlie Appleby, who is looking forward to testing the qualifications of Yibir and Adayar.

“It’s a nice draw for Yibir (stall six). He’s done well through the winter and progressed with each run as a two-year-old, ultimately winning the Haynes Hanson and Clark Conditions Stakes at Newbury – form which got a nice boost at the start of the season,” he said.

“His preparation has gone well and we feel he’s hopefully one of our nicer middle-distance horses, so we’re expecting a nice run from him.

“It was a very pleasing victory for Adayar at Nottingham on his second start and he’s done well through the winter.

Yibir is one of two runners for Charlie Appleby
Yibir is one of two runners for Charlie Appleby (Tim Goode/PA)

“He’s drawn down in stall one, which isn’t ideal, but it all depends on the pace angles really.

“We’re hopeful they’re two nice middle-distance horses that can start their three-year-old careers off and we’ll see where we’re pitching them in the first half of the season after Friday.”

Etonian returns to the scene of his two victories as he tries to return to winning ways after finishing down the field behind St Mark’s Basilica in the Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket in October.

Trainer Richard Hannon feels the step up in distance will suit the son of Olympic Glory.

“He’s in good form, he loves that track and we’ve been very happy with him over the winter,” said Hannon.

“He’s won twice there and hopefully he can do the business again, but it’s a step up again.

“In his work he looks like he wants this trip, which is a good thing.”

Belloccio takes a perfect record to the Esher track with two wins, including a Listed success at Toulouse.

Trainer David Menuisier is hoping this race will be a platform for the rest of the season.

“He’s in good form – obviously that will be his first run of the season so he’s likely to need it like the rest of my horses, but physically and mentally he’s in a good place,” said Menuisier.

“He’s unbeaten in two starts and both races have worked out really well, so we’re really hopeful that he can show a very good level of ability and let’s hope that Friday will be a stepping stone to something better down the line.”

Aidan O’Brien tests the water by sending Cork winner Sir Lucan, while Hugo Palmer saddles Irish Legend winner of his two starts to date in what looks a fascinating contest.

Lone Eagle forges to Zetland Stakes success

Lone Eagle fuelled Derby dreams for the Martyn Meade team with victory in the Godolphin Flying Start Zetland Stakes at Newmarket.

The Galileo colt demonstrated the best of his battling abilities in the Group Three contest, making his first attempt over a mile and a quarter a winning one.

Racing in the front pair throughout, the 16-5 shot showed stamina is very much his forte when forging clear late on to defeat his Sandown conqueror Recovery Run by a length and three-quarters, completing a hat-trick of wins for the season.

Assistant trainer Freddie Meade: “He showed a great attitude to knuckle down and get the job done. With the ground the way it is you don’t want to be too far away.

“He has been headed in the past over shorter trips and battled back so I was always positive he would have enough to get on top in the end. We spoke back at Goodwood and we thought this might be a target so I’m glad it has come off.

“I think we have to dream of a Derby campaign first and see where we go on the way to that. Whether we look at a Derby trial and then we can always rethink if things change.

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“I think that will be him for the year as he has progressed nicely and will have a well-deserved break.”

Winning jockey Silvestre de Sousa – who enjoyed a Group-race treble at the track on Friday – believes Lone Eagle could develop into a contender for the Derby, for which he was introduced at 50-1 by Betfair.

He said: “It was a nice performance as it is not easy for a two-year-old on that kind of ground. He is really tough, he’s not very big but he gallops with his heart out. I’m just pleased he has won three.

“Next year you could look at a Derby trial and then possibly the Derby if he keeps improving through the winter.”

Henry Candy’s Jouska ended a lengthy drought stretching back more than a year when opening her account for the campaign with a hard fought victory in the Dubai British EBF Boadicea Stakes.

Without a win to her name since Sandown last July, the daughter of Cable Bay set the record straight in the Listed prize when getting up late on to defeat Sunday Star by half a length.

Candy said: “It was very like the Cornwallis last year when Shane Foley rode her.

“She was stone last coming out the Dip and I thought it was going to be seriously embarrassing – thinking she was going to be 100 yards last – but she wanted another 50 yards to win as she finished a close third.

“She just loves coming up that hill and it’s a question of getting to the bottom of it first.

“She is very gutsy and she will make the owner a lovely broodmare eventually as she is a lovely, big filly with a lovely temperament. We will take her home and give her two or three months in the paddock and hopefully she will be bigger and better next year.”

Fozzy Stack got more than he bargained for after Lady Wannabe gained a breakthrough first Pattern-race victory in the Darley Stakes.

The daughter of Camelot built on her Listed win at Listowel last time out when prevailing by a length and three-quarters in the Group Three contest under Jamie Spencer.

Stack said of the 28-1 winner: “She had won two Listed races at home and we came over hoping to get a little bit of Group form on her page and we ended up getting a big bit of Group form.

“She is not very big but she is very tough. It is great for Jamie as we go back a long way and he has had a tough year.

“I’ll talk to Tom (Gaffney, joint owner) about whether she will run again there is probably not much left for her to be honest.”