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Roaring Lion gets green light for Investec Derby

22 May 2018

Emphatic Dante Stakes winner will attempt to get better of Saxon Warrior at third time of asking

Roaring Lion, left, and Saxon Warrior fight out the Racing Post Trophy. Picture:

Roaring Lion will attempt to make it third time lucky against Saxon Warrior in the Investec Derby at Epsom on June 2.

Trainer John Gosden confirmed at Epsom’s Breakfast With The Stars on Tuesday that the runaway Dante winner would take his chance in the £1.5 million showpiece, for which 16 horses remain engaged.

The Qatar Racing-owned colt finished a close fifth to Saxon Warrior in the QIPCO 2000 Guineas this month, having been beaten a neck by him in the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster in the autumn.

“Roaring Lion will run in the Investec Derby,” Gosden said. “I just like to see how horses are after a race before making grandiose plans.

“We are thrilled with the horse (after the Dante), he ate up and I had to put someone on him to for a trot as he was playing so much.

“Roaring Lion is in splendid form and the owner is very keen that he goes for the Derby, so that is exactly where he is going and I think that’s the right choice.”

Saxon Warrior, who is unbeaten in four starts and a general 8-11 to preserve his unbeaten record in the QIPCO British Champions Series contest at Epsom, is one of seven Aidan O’Brien-trained entries left in the premier Classic.

His septet also features Delano Roosevelt and The Pentagon, who had to settle for minor honours behind Hazapour in the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial at Leopardstown this month.

Masar, third in the 2000 Guineas, will represent Charlie Appleby, while Chester Vase victor Young Rascal will attempt to give William Haggas a second triumph in the mile and a half showpiece.

Others still in the mix are Knight To Behold, winner of the Derby Trial at Lingfield, and the Pascal Bary-trained Study Of Man, who could fly the flag for France after his dominant victory in the Prix Greffulhe at Saint-Cloud.