True Story proves a false hope for Godolphin’s Epsom Derby plans

Godolphin’s hopes of winning the Derby at Epsom for the first time suffered a setback after True Story failed to live up to his tall reputation on the Knavesmire.
True Story did not disappoint with jockey Silvestre De Sousa aboard in the Fielden Stakes at Newmarket on April 16, but failure on Thursday in the Dante Stakes at York may have put awry Godolphin's plans for the Epsom Derby. Mark Cranham / Racingfotos.com
True Story did not disappoint with jockey Silvestre De Sousa aboard in the Fielden Stakes at Newmarket on April 16, but failure on Thursday in the Dante Stakes at York may have put awry Godolphin's plans for the Epsom Derby. Mark Cranham / Racingfotos.com

York, England // Godolphin’s hopes of winning the Derby at Epsom for the first time suffered a setback after True Story failed to live up to his tall reputation on the Knavesmire on Thursday.

True Story was considered the overwhelming favourite for the Group 2 Dante Stakes, considered the best trial for next month’s contest, having put seven lengths on his rivals in the Fielden Stakes at Newmarket last month.

Ridden by Keiren Fallon for the first time as his growing association with Godolphin gathers pace, the pair could only finish third to The Grey Gatsby and Arod.

Since the Dante Stakes was first run in 1958, only Prince Khalid Abdullah of Saudi Arabia’s colt Workforce has managed to turn defeat at York in to victory at Epsom.

Despite the defeat, trainer Saeed bin Suroor was stoic in defeat and stated that the Derby remains the objective.

Aidan O’Brien’s much-vaunted Australia will be lying in wait on the first Saturday in June as the Irish trainer seeks an unprecedented third successive victory.

However, Fallon has won six Classics at Epsom, and the master of that idiosyncratic racecourse was unperturbed by yesterday’s defeat, claiming that the rain-softened track was largely to blame.

“It is only a trial,” Fallon said after a long debrief with Bin Suroor. “We had to run somewhere.

“I don’t think we have too much ground to make up.”

The Grey Gatsby, who finished unplaced in the English 2,000 Guineas two weeks ago, is now likely to head to the Prix Du Jockey Club at Chantilly next month.

Earlier in the day, Ambivalent, trained by Roger Varian, improved on her third-place finish in the Dubai Sheema Classic with a gutsy win in the Group 2 Middleton Stakes from last season’s English Oaks runner-up Secret Gesture.

sports@thenational.ae

Follow us on twitter at @SprtNationalUAE

Published: May 15, 2014 04:00 AM

SHARE