The Sandown Classic Trial may have seemed like one of the more low-key Derby Trials of the campaign at the time, but as time wears on it has yielded some very useful performances.
Libertarian was a strong finishing eight-and-three-quarter-length fourth in the race after throwing away his chance when fluffing the turn into the home straight. He improved on that green-as-grass showing next time out when defying 33/1-outsider-status to land the Dante at York.
The performance of Karl and Elaine Burke’s colt on the Knavesmire suggested that the race was one to look at again and if punters were in any doubt about that then Epsom Derby was the pudding in which the proof was found, Libertarian and Galileo Rock – who had finished third at Sandown – filled the minor medals behind winner Ruler Of The World.
Whilst the strength of this year’s Epsom Classic may have been quibbled with it remains at this stage the strongest staying contest for colts yet to be run.
Sugar Boy and Eye Of The Storm fought out a ding-dong battle up the rise to the finish line at Sandown. Neither has been seen since, but both – along with Galileo Rock and Libertarian – occupy the upper echelons of the ante-post St Leger betting.
Sugar Boy – 12/1 for the Doncaster Classic – really ought to have won that day given he had a good five races worth of experience over his foes and so there was much to be taken with about the performance of the second who was racing for just the third time.
Well-backed on the day, he looked to be on his way to victory when sent on by Ryan Moore and although he was headed by the winner he showed a very likeable attitude to battle back to within a head at the line.
His next entry is in the Irish Derby at the Curragh and he can be expected to progress well for his last run. A strong performance in that race – which is regarded as more of a stamina test than the Epsom equivalent – could see him shorten drastically in the betting for the St Leger and he’s certainly bred to appreciate longer trips.
Five of the last 10 St Leger winners were by Sadler’s Wells or one of his sons and Eye Of The Storm is by the great sire’s son Galileo. His mother is out of fellow Epsom Derby winner Shirley Heights.
If he can improve at a similar rate as the two that finished behind him at Sandown then he should be a live contender at the Curragh, so taking the 14/1 about him winning the St Leger could be good business.