Alder will be redirected to either Royal Ascot or the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby after a unsatisfactory scope saw him ruled out of the Betfred Derby at the 11th hour.

The Dee Stakes runner-up was poised to represent trainer Donnacha O’Brien in the Epsom Classic on Saturday afternoon, but his name was missing from the declarations made on Thursday for the showpiece event.

With his handler unwilling to risk the son of Australia in such a deep contest when not at 100 per cent, connections will now point the colt towards either the King Edward VII Stakes at the Royal meeting later this month or again target Classic glory at the Curragh on July 2.

“Everything was going to plan, but his scope wasn’t 100 per cent perfect this morning after his last day riding out. It’s a real shame, but just one of those things,” said O’Brien.

“It’s not a race you can go into not being 100 per cent. We couldn’t run him once his scope was slightly off.

“I imagine his two options now will be the King Edward or the Irish Derby, he’s likely to go to one of them.”

Meanwhile, Alder’s stablemate Proud And Regal could be poised for a return to 10 furlongs following his seventh-place finish in the Irish 2,000 Guineas at the weekend.

“He’s come out of the run well,” continued O’Brien. “We haven’t made a plan with him yet, but he’s in good form after the race. I think it is likely we will go back to 10 furlongs for his next run.”

An animal rights protester has indicated she is prepared to break the law in order to “do what’s right” by the horses at Epsom this weekend.

The Jockey Club was last week granted a High Court injunction against Animal Rising demonstrators planning to disrupt the Betfred Derby on Saturday.

The application was lodged by the club, which owns Epsom Downs, because it felt the organisation made it “explicitly clear” it intends to breach security at the Surrey racecourse to stage a disruptive protest.

During a debate on Sky News on Thursday morning, Animal Rising spokeswoman Claudia Penna Rojas was asked if she is prepared to break the law.

She replied: “I’m prepared to do what’s necessary to do what’s right by these animals and try and prevent them from being harmed.”

Pressed on whether that means breaking the law, she said: “If it means breaking the law, we know that law isn’t always equal to morality and we know that people have had to break laws throughout history to create the change that we need.

“And, again, what this is about is protecting these animals. It’s about trying to create the change that we need to see where we don’t see animals as property, where we don’t see them as objects that are used for our entertainment and value them and care for them as the beings that they are.”

Nevin Truesdale, chief executive at the Jockey Club, replied: “That’s for the police and the courts to decide and the court says where we will end up because there is an injunction in place, they will be in contempt of court and therefore it is illegal.”

Truesdale said the sport “has never been safer” for horses, adding: “We love these equine athletes, these superstars who get fantastic care behind the scenes.

“99.8% of horses come back from their races perfectly safe and sound.

“We’ve spent… As an industry, we’ve spent #40 million on welfare over the last 20 years.”

Penna Rojas said protesters will not run in front of a live race.

“Their welfare, the welfare of the jockeys, the welfare of the people there is absolutely our priority,” she said.

Meanwhile, Frankie Dettori – riding in his last Derby before retirement – told BBC Breakfast he hopes things will be “smooth” this weekend and the event passes off without anyone being put in danger.

“Let’s hope that protesters don’t impede this kind of beautiful event,” he said.

Jockey Club officials fear the protest will endanger participants, racegoers and horses – although they said they do not dismiss the right to peaceful protest and have offered Animal Rising an area near the racecourse’s entrance to demonstrate.

The injunction granted by High Court judge Sir Anthony Mann bans people from going on to the racetrack and carrying out other acts with the intention and/or effect of disrupting the races.

Such acts include intentionally causing objects to enter the racetrack, entering the parade ring, entering and/or remaining on the horses’ route to the parade ring and to the racetrack without authorisation and intentionally endangering any person at Epsom Downs racecourse during the two-day Derby Festival.

Those breaching the court order may be subject to contempt of court proceedings and fined or jailed.

There was disruption at the Grand National at Aintree in April when the race was delayed by just over 10 minutes after demonstrators made their way on to the track and had to be removed by police.

Auguste Rodin, Military Order and Arrest form part of a 14-strong field declared for the Betfred Derby at Epsom on Saturday.

Much has been written about Auguste Rodin, and while he was well beaten in the 2000 Guineas, Aidan O’Brien – who also runs San Antonio and Adelaide River – retains maximum faith in the Deep Impact colt.

Military Order is bred to be a Derby winner being a full-brother to trainer Charlie Appleby’s 2021 winner Adayar and did little to dispel the impression that he will go close to maintaining family honour when taking the Lingfield Derby Trial.

Arrest will take all the headlines should he prevail, as he is the final Derby mount of Frankie Dettori.

Trained by John and Thady Gosden, the son of Frankel was a Group One runner-up as a juvenile and looked the part on his return in the Chester Vase.

His run in France behind the reopposing Dubai Mile was on heavy ground, while the heavens opened over the Roodee.

He will face very different conditions in the premier Classic, but connections are hopeful he will be at least as good, if not better, for it.

“He’s a very good horse and at Chester it was just about getting him some more experience on an undulating track,” said Barry Mahon, European racing manager for owners Juddmonte.

“He’d been to Sandown, Ffos Las and Saint-Cloud, all pretty straightforward tracks, so Chester was about introducing him to a tight, undulating track which he handled well.

“He then went to Epsom for a gallop and he handled that as well, quickening clear of his work companion, so he’s in good form. He did his last piece at the weekend and went nicely.

“There’s been a lot of talk about the ground, but he won his maiden at Sandown on good to firm, hopefully he can give a good account.

“He’s a fine, big, well-balanced horse so I think he’s better on good ground. Looking at him, that’s what I think.

“France wasn’t ideal, if it was three-quarters through the season rather than last race of the year he probably wouldn’t have run on that ground as it was so bad, but we knew he had the winter off so took a chance.

“He hit the front a furlong out and the ground probably just caught him out and the horse of Charlie Johnston’s got back up and did him on the line.”

Sir Michael Stoute and the Derby need little introduction and 12 months on from the victory of Desert Crown, the Freemason Lodge handler has supplemented Passenger, winner of the Wood Ditton and unlucky in running when dead-heating for third in the Dante.

The winner on the Knavesmire was Andrew Balding’s The Foxes, while immediately behind Military Order at Lingfield was the Ed Walker-trained Waipiro.

Donnacha O’Brien’s Alder was not declared, but there is further Irish representation through John Murphy’s Dante runner-up White Birch and Jessica Harrington’s Sprewell.

Artistic Star is an unbeaten Galileo colt representing Ralph Beckett, who sent out Westover to be third last year, and Roger Varian runs the giant King Of Steel with Dubai Mile’s trainer Charlie Johnston having a second string to his bow in the shape of Dear My Friend.

Marco Botti’s Yorkshire Cup hero Giavellotto will seek further staying riches later this summer with the Al Shaqab Goodwood Cup highlighted as his next target.

The four-year-old rose rapidly through the handicap ranks to earn a crack at the St Leger last season and acquitted himself with real credit in that staying Classic to pass the post in fourth, promoted to third following interference.

Although disappointing in the Dubai Gold Cup in his first outing of the year, he thrived when stepping onto the Knavesmire for the Yorkshire Cup, highlighting himself as a top-quality operator to reverse Doncaster form with Eldar Eldarov.

Despite that race often serving as a trial for the Gold Cup, Giavellotto does not hold an entry for the Royal Ascot feature and although supplementing did briefly come under discussion, connections have decided to stick with their original plan to swerve the summer showpiece.

The Mastercraftsman colt will now be primed for action on the Sussex Downs on August 1 where he will try to land his first Group One prize.

“He’s come out of the race at York well and we’re pleased with him, he seems in good form,” said Botti.

“We had a good catch up with the owners and they decided they don’t want to go for the Gold Cup at Ascot and we will stick to the original plan.

“Even before he won at York, I felt the extra few furlongs of the Gold Cup wasn’t going to help him run his best race and we always felt it wasn’t going to be the race we were aiming for.

“We’re going to skip it and aim at the Goodwood Cup on August 1.”

Giavellotto holds an entry in the Comer Group International Irish St Leger at the Curragh on September 10 and that could prove a further port of call with Botti plotting a potential path to the Melbourne Cup at Flemington in November.

He continued: “If he does well at Goodwood then we have entered him in the Irish St Leger on September 10 and then we if we go any further, we haven’t ruled out the Melbourne Cup.

“It is not a firm plan, but we will consider it and make a decision as we go along.

“He definitely stays the two miles. I felt the one-mile-six at York was always the race we wanted to go for as I felt the track and trip was tailor-made for him and I’m glad he showed what he was capable of.

“He was probably unlucky in the St Leger. He didn’t have a clear run and in Dubai it just didn’t happen for him, but he showed that in the right conditions, on the right track he is quite a nice stayer.”

Three student-athletes from the GC Foster College of Physical Education and Sport were the first recipients of scholarships from the Brendon Rodney Excellence Scholarship Awards that was launched at the Canadian High Commission in Kingston on Tuesday.

Rodney, a Canadian Olympic medalist of Jamaican parentage, trains at the GC Foster College where he also serves as an adjunct lecturer. In 2022, he was a member of the Canadian 4x100m relay team that won gold at the World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon.

Shantel Munroe, Selvin Stewart and Toni Ann Lindsay were the recipients of the scholarship awards that aims to foster the integration of sports and education at the GC Foster College. The scholarship is designed to support full-time students from all programmes at GC Foster College and the amount awarded to each recipient is based on an appraisal of their individual needs.

It is open to students in their second, third and fourth years between the ages of 17 and 25, who maintain a minimum GPA of 2.0 and should exhibit a strong sports orientation and demonstrate financial need.

Munroe, who is in the second year of her Associate Degree in Recreation and Sport Programme, was the only recipient on hand to receive her scholarship. Stewart and Lindsay were unavoidable absent. Rodney explained that both student athletes were at work which is why they were unable to attend, validating the purpose behind the scholarships.

In a prepared statement, Munroe explained why she deserved her scholarship award.

“This (Sport ) programme not only makes me a world-class coach at the end, it also makes me a great leader and how to be a multi-faceted individual. I am a very determined, dedicated, persistent motivational and responsible individual,” said the second-year student, who is also a certified boxing official and the manager of the college’s netball team.

“I take my studies seriously and whatever is thrown at me in life, I do my best to overcome it.”

Stewart is pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Physical Education while Stewart is pursuing a Bachelors in Education.

“Physical Education and Sports Education is more than a career path, it is an extension of who I am as a citizen of the world and with your support and financial aid I will make my mark as a contributor to the future of Jamaica’s development in Jamaica’s Physical Education and Sport.”

Canadian High Commissioner Her Excellency Emina Tudakovic lauded the initiative by the Canadian sprinter, because “education matters and sports matter”.

“While we celebrate the presentation of scholarships to the awardees it is also my pleasure to celebrate Brendon’s work and sterling accomplishments throughout his athletic career. Brendon is recognized by many as a world-class Canadian athlete, who we now know has a tremendous passion for promotion education and sports,” she said.

“A couple weeks ago we had the chance to meet and what I was really struck by was that he is thinking ahead and he is passionate about the youth and I think this is really important because it’s not just about being good at sports, it’s also about using it to build upon your life in the direction you’re heading and this is what these scholarships are doing.”


Jaydon Hibbert continues to rack up accolades in only his first year at the University of Arkansas. On Wednesday, the record-breaking Jamaican was named SEC Outdoor Freshman Field Athlete of the Year and Field Athlete of the Year.

 He becomes the first freshman to claim both field event honors since Mondo Duplantis of LSU in 2019.

The previous Razorback to sweep both awards was pole vaulter Andrew Irwin in 2009.

Other Arkansas Freshman Field Athlete of the Year include jumpers Nkosina Balumbu in 2006 and Tarik Batchelor in 2009. Razorbacks named Field Athlete of the Year include jumper Alain Bailey in 2009 and decathlete Ayden Owens-Delerme in 2022.

Hibbert, who also claimed the SEC Indoor Freshman of the Year accolade, broke the triple jump collegiate record by nearly 0.3m in winning the SEC Outdoor title on his second attempt in the competition.

The former Kingston College athlete’s mark of 17.87m bettered the field by more than a metre while his opening round effort of 17.02m would also have claimed the victory. In addition to breaking multiple records, four of which were set in the 1980s, Hibbert moves to equal 13th on the all-time world list, matching the career best mark by Olympic gold medallist Mike Conley from 1987.

Hibbert is the Number 2 performer with the Number 2 performance on the Jamaican all-time list, trailing only the 17.92m by James Beckford from the 1995 NJCAA Championships in Odessa, Texas.

On the Arkansas all-time list, Hibbert surpassed two of Conley’s marks that were both set in winning the 1985 NCAA title in Austin, Texas. A wind-assisted 17.71m and a wind-legal 17.54m.

His awards were among five titles won by the University of Arkansas.

Coach of the Year went to Chis Bucknam, Jaydon Hibbert collected a pair of awards – Field Athlete of the Year and Freshman Field Athlete of the Year – while Ben Shearer was named co-Freshman Runner of the Year.

Coach of the Year went to Chis Bucknam, Ben Shearer was named co-Freshman Runner of the Year and Ayden Owens-Delerme was named Co-Scholar-Athlete of the Year.       

Jimmy Adams is out as Cricket West Indies Director of Cricket and the regional government body has commenced a search for his replacement.

Cricket West Indies (CWI) announced on Wednesday that the recruitment process for a new director of cricket has begun as the role will become vacant at the end of June when Jimmy Adams' contract expires.

Adams, who played 54 Tests and 127 One-Day Internationals for the West Indies, has been in the role since January 2017.

“We are extremely grateful for the leadership and contribution that Jimmy has made over the past six and half years," said CWI CEO Johnny Grave.

"He has overhauled our High-Performance structure, especially with respect to Coach Education and Development, Sport Science and Medicine and most recently with the launch of our Academy based at the Coolidge Cricket Ground (CCG) in Antigua. I have no doubt that Jimmy will continue to contribute to the game, particularly West Indies Cricket.”

Meanwhile, CWI President Dr. Kishore Shallow, lauded Adams for his contribution to West Indies Cricket.

“Jimmy has always served West Indies Cricket with passion and distinction. His composed demeanor and professionalism have inspired many positive outcomes over the years," said Dr Shallow.

"One of his legacies would definitely be the commencement of a coaching revolution in the region. On behalf of the CWI Board, we wish him a favorable future path.”

 Adams said serving West Indies cricket has been a privilege.

“It's been an honour to have been involved in the ongoing evolution of CWI," he said.

"I have had the privilege of working with some amazing people across the organization and am grateful for all the support they gave me over the past six plus years. I wish everyone all the best going forward especially in light of the various challenges that exist both regionally and globally.”

Under the leadership of Jimmy Adams as Director of Cricket, CWI started a Coach Education & Development Department that created a new set of CWI coaching courses and accreditations that has seen over 1,000 new certified coaches in the region; launched the Men’s Academy, based at CCG in Antigua; started an U19 Regional Women’s Tournament, Women’s ‘A’ Team series and the Women’s Caribbean Premier League and established a Sports Science & Medicine Department to drive a fitness culture.

He also implemented a new Selection Policy that included appointing separate Women’s and Youth Selection Panels as well as established the High-Performance Coaching Group.


As it ramps up preparations for its preliminary-round match in the Conacaf Gold Cup next month, Guyana’s national football team are currently engaged in a 10-day at the UWI/JFF Captain Horace Burrell Centre of Excellence in Kingston.

The team arrived in Jamaica on Friday, May 26 and will break camp on Monday, June 5.

“We are happy to work with our regional counterparts,” said JFF President Michael Ricketts.

“We all have the same goal of improving the standard of our game and progressing on the international stage. We welcome not only international sporting teams like Guyana, but any other group locally or internationally at our facility. We provide whatever is necessary to ensure that each team or group can concentrate on their main objective. We sincerely hope that Guyana will do well in the Gold Cup and they will be the first of many to be hosted at our centre.”

Guyana will face Grenada in the first round of the Concacaf Gold Cup preliminary round when it gets underway in June, with the winner advancing to the main competition.

The St Kitts & Nevis Patriots have retained d big hitters Evin Lewis and Andre Fletcher for their 2023 campaign in the Republic Bank Caribbean Premier League (CPL).

The Patriots will also retain middle-order batsman Sherfane Rutherford, all-rounder Dominic Drakes as well as fast bowler Sheldon Cottrell and wicketkeeper/batsman Joshua da Silva. The Patriots have also brought in Oshane Thomas who was transferred from the Barbados Royals.

The tournament gets underway on 16 August with the final taking place on 24 September. There will be matches in Barbados, Guyana, St Kitts & Nevis, Saint Lucia and Trinidad & Tobago.

The overseas players and draft picks will be announced during the Republic Bank CPL draft show which will be broadcast at the end of June.

Any delay to the Betfred Derby caused by protesters would be a “big negative” for everybody involved, according to Aidan O’Brien.

The animal rights group Animal Rising has made no secret of its intention to cause as much disruption as possible at Epsom on Saturday.

Some of its members made it on to the track at Aintree before the Grand National, causing around a 10-minute delay, but while there was an attempt to repeat that at Ayr and the Scottish National the following weekend it was quickly thwarted by police and security staff.

The Jockey Club, which owns Epsom and Aintree, among other courses, has admitted it may well be harder to prevent the protestors from gaining access to the track this weekend due to the public areas around Epsom.

However, it was granted a High Court injunction last week which means those that do attempt to enter the track itself or other prohibited areas could be subject to proceedings for contempt of court, which may lead to a fine and/or imprisonment.

In the National, Hill Sixteen suffered a fatal fall at the first fence, with trainer Sandy Thomson adamant afterwards the delay caused by what he called “ignorant” protesters had been a contributing factor.

“It’s out of our control,” said O’Brien.

“Any delay would be a big negative. Things happen every day to test us all and you just have to make the best of a situation whichever way it has fallen and it will be the same for everybody, that’s all any of us can do really.

“Obviously it is not ideal for anybody (if there is a delay). The horses, the people involved, everybody.

“Hopefully everybody will see sense and it won’t be like that, but all any of us can do is our best and hopefully everybody will see sense and look at the welfare of the animals and people and everybody first.”

O’Brien appears to have finalised his Derby plans, with Adelaide River and Chester winner San Antonio getting the go-ahead to join favourite Auguste Rodin.

O’Brien usually flies his runners in on Derby day, but has been forced to rethink with the race moved to a 1.30pm start time to avoid a clash with the FA Cup final.

“I think we’re going to run three, Auguste Rodin, Adelaide River and San Antonio at the moment,” he said.

“They all came out of their last races well, the two from Chester seem fine and Auguste Rodin seems fine.

“They are leaving Ballydoyle on Thursday afternoon, I think that’s the plan. We usually travel on the day, but with the early start we couldn’t take that risk.

“We don’t have any choice other than to take them earlier this year, we think it’s the sensible thing to do and the responsible thing to do.

“The fillies’ race (Oaks on Friday) is not as early as the colts, but we’re sending them early so they are doing the same route as the colts.

“We just think it’s the responsible thing to do for everybody involved and we’ll see what happens.”

West Indies ‘A’ took full control of the third and final unofficial Test against Bangladesh ‘A’ on Wednesday on the back of strong performances from their batsmen and bowlers at the Syhlet International Stadium.

Carrying on from their overnight score of 320-6, the West Indies eventually scored 445 all out. Their bowlers then combined to reduce the hosts to 157-7, still 288 runs behind with only three wickets remaining.

The hero of the day was Kevin Sinclair, who scored 60, the sixth half-century of the innings to help push the West Indies ‘A’ past 400 runs. Sinclair was 22 not overnight in a 60-run partnership with Raymon Reifer, who failed to add to his overnight score of 56.

With only two runs added to the team score, Reifer was out caught behind off in the second over the day to Shoriful Islam but Sinclair and Akeem Jordan put on 87 for the eighth wicket that took the score to 407 when Jordan, who has been showing off his potential with the bat, was dismissed by Mahmudul Hasan Joy for 47.

Ten runs later, Sinclair’s stay at the crease ended when he was trapped lbw by Nasum Ahmed, who also snared Veerasammy Permaul in similar fashion for 18 to end the lower-order resistance. Anderson Phillip was not out on 13 when the innings ended after 116.2 overs

Nasum Ahmed finished with figures of 5-133 from 38.2 overs. Shoriful Islam took 2-80 and Musfik Hasan 2-59 in support.

Bangladesh ‘A’ struggled with the bat as Sinclair took 2-51 and Phillip 2-36 ripped through the line-up that offered little resistance.

Captain Saif Hasan was the top scorer with 32 and opener Zakir Hasan was run out for 29. Nurul Hasan contributed 28 but the hosts were unable to establish any significant partnerships while trying to cope with the visitors’ attack.

Atr stumps, Tanzim Hasan Sakib was not out on 17 with Nasum Ahmed at the other end on seven.


Power hitter Shimron Hetmyer and the stylish Shai Hope are among the nine players retained by the Guyana Amazon Warriors for the upcoming Republic Bank Caribbean Premier League season set to get underway in August.

Along with Hetmyer and Hope, the Amazon Warriors have also announced the retention of fast bowler Odean Smith, all-rounders Romario Shepherd an Keemo Paul, spinner Gudakesh Motie as well as Chandrapaul Hemraj, Matthew Nandu and Junior Sinclair.

The overseas players and draft picks will be announced during the Republic Bank CPL draft show which will be broadcast at the end of June.

The tournament gets underway on 16 August with the final taking place on 24 September. There will be matches in Barbados, Guyana, St Kitts & Nevis, Saint Lucia and Trinidad & Tobago.

Charlie Johnston was always destined to take over from his record-breaking father Mark at their Middleham base. But to have a realistic Betfred Derby contender through Dubai Mile in his first year with just his name on the licence has certainly exceeded his expectations.

While Johnston senior went close at Epsom with Dee Ex Bee in 2018, finishing second to Masar, the blue riband event was one of only a handful of major races to elude him during a stellar career.

Charlie initially shared the licence with his father last season before Mark took his name off completely, sooner than many thought but done partly through paternal pride so that his son would get the credit he felt he deserved.

Now, with Dubai Mile having won a Group One over 10 furlongs at two in France and run perfectly well in the 2000 Guineas when fifth, Charlie has a real shot at putting the Johnston name on the illustrious Epsom roll of honour.

“I wouldn’t be singing from the roof if he wins having done so in my name, in fact I’d be a bit embarrassed after dad had been trying for 30 years and we won it for the first time without his name on the licence!” said Johnston.

“There’s still no greater race for a trainer to win, I think.

“There’s no race I can win this year that would give me greater assurances that when I go to the yearling sales, people will want to fill this barn again next year and try to find the next one.

“This game is a cycle and you always want people to invest in you, by winning the Derby there is no greater advertisement.”

Dubai Mile is owned by Ahmad Al Shaikh, who himself has had two of his horses finish second at huge prices in recent years – Khalifa Sat at 50-1 behind Serpentine in 2020 and Hoo Ya Mal at 150-1 to Desert Crown last year.

Johnston said: “He’s gone close twice in the Derby at huge prices, so I’m sure he’s going there with huge expectations and he’s great fun to train for.

“He flew a team from his favourite restaurant in London up here and we had a huge lunch with all the staff while watching the (Saint-Cloud) race and he gave prizes out and I don’t think the team has ever felt closer or more involved than he made them.”

Having only cost €20,000 at the Goffs Orby Sale, despite being by Roaring Lion and out of Beach Bunny, who was beaten just a short head by Dar Re Mi in the 2009 Pretty Polly, Johnston has shown he can look beyond the obvious – and feels others may have been put off by Dubai Mile’s big white face.

“We thought we’d got a bargain at £20,000. To us he’s a very good looking horse, but bizarrely a lot of people would be put off by his markings for a start. He’s got so much white about him and he must have had a fight with a fence at some point as a foal as when you take the saddle off, he’s got white marks all over his withers,” said Johnston.

“His pedigree, as is always the case, put us on to him. We’ve been fortunate to have horses for Lady O’Reilly (Beach Bunny’s owner), so would always pay close attention to her horses. Another factor was probably the fact that his stallion was sadly dead at the time, which meant he was never going to get the same support as most first-season sires and he was a weak, backward yearling.

“I’m not going to say we knew right away (he was good) as we buy 70 every year in that price bracket, but am I confident that out of 20 every year we’d find one good one? Yes, but was I confident he was the one? Probably not until he ran in the Royal Lodge, if I’m honest.

“The Royal Lodge (second to The Foxes) looked ambitious at the time, because of his price he’d been astutely placed to win two restricted novices, but I think the handicapper would have said he had no chance going into the Royal Lodge, as did the market. But it was a small field and it was a race we always like to target which led us to roll the dice.

“We’ll be taking the winner on again and a lot of water has gone under the bridge for both since the Royal Lodge. I got the impression up until York they thought he (The Foxes) was a 10-furlong horse and there was talk of the French Derby, whereas we’ve always known where we were going.

“Ahmad was always keen to go for the Guineas and, in hindsight, it was clearly the right decision because there’s been a hell of a lot more interest in him since then than before it. People take him a lot more seriously now.

“I said if he finished in the first six and hit the line strong I’d be delighted and that is exactly what he did. He’d have been fourth in another stride which would have been lovely but knowing he wants further, we couldn’t have wished for much more.”

Since the Guineas, John and Thady Gosden’s Arrest has won the Chester Vase on soft ground. His first run since being beaten a head by Dubai Mile in France and yet Dubai Mile is available at a much bigger price.

“A lot has been made of our form with Arrest and interestingly he’s about a quarter of the price we are. It’s probably not surprising given John Gosden’s Derby record and ours, but the weather forecast means it should be a good to firm Derby, whether it is or not we’ll wait and see,” said Johnston.

“I’m sure Arrest’s camp are a lot more worried about that than us. We might have won a Group One on heavy, but we’d rather it was quicker as it might inconvenience a few others.”

Of the others, he said: “I have a lot of respect for the (Jessica) Harrington horse (Sprewell), he looks overlooked in the market simply because Aidan (O’Brien) doesn’t get beaten in that (Leopardstown) trial and if you do beat him, you must have a good one.

“It’s been a bit different this spring as the two trials you’d expect Aidan to win he’s been beaten in, with the (John) Murphy horse (White Birch) winning the other (Ballysax) – and he ran a nice race at York (second to The Foxes).

“It should always be the best test of a three-year-old and all the ones who deserve to be there will be there. Does 14-1 represent our chance? It probably does, it might underestimate him a little.

“There’s no horse in this race that we know is better than ours, on ratings we’re right there with them all. He’s a Group One winner who ran a good trial over an inadequate trip in the Guineas, so in that sense I think we’ve got a rock-solid profile.

“The fact he was a €20,000 yearling and a bit more unfashionable probably explains why he’s 14-1 rather than 4-1. There’s nothing in there that scares me or we have 7lb to find with. If he improves for the trip, which we all expect he will, then he goes there with a good chance.

“I don’t feel it has added any pressure, it’s great to have a horse like this, you need them any time but to have one the first year the licence is in my name is great.”

David Menuisier is confident a step up in trip can help Heartache Tonight hit the big time when she races in the UK for the first time in the Betfred Oaks on Friday.

A €160,000 purchase as a yearling, she is a half-sister to two-time Group One-winner Wonderful Tonight, Menuisier’s former stable star.

The daughter of Recorder now has the chance to step out of her sibling’s shadow and she heads to Epsom with an encouraging book of form in France to her name, placing in the Prix Cleopatre and beaten less than two lengths when a close-up fourth in the Prix Saint-Alary last time out.

Despite bringing that Group One form to the table, Heartache Tonight is still available for the Oaks at odds as big as 33-1.

But her handler is not fussed by her outsider status, with Cristian Demuro set to continue his association with the filly having ridden her in all three starts so far.

“I don’t mind being overlooked, that is the story of my life, but it won’t stop her from running well,” said Menuisier.

“It was a great effort in the Prix Saint-Alary and she has been craving the step up to a mile and a half. We decided to keep her at one-mile-two to try to gain more experience and more tactical speed and we are delighted so far.

“Cristian Demuro will come and ride. We get on well and he’s our go-to man when we go to France. He absolutely loves the filly and the schedule wasn’t too busy for him, so he’s really delighted to keep the ride on her.”

So far, all of Heartache Tonight’s appearances have come on ground described as soft or slower, but Menuisier is hopeful she might not be as ground dependant as her illustrious mud-loving half-sister ahead of her bid for Classic honours.

“We’re just hoping the ground isn’t too quick, we’re hoping for genuine good ground,” continued Menuisier.

“She seems different to the half-sister – she was really designed for soft ground and had a very high knee action.

“Heartache tonight is a bit more elegant, she moves much better, so we like to believe she might not need it as soft. Obviously she will handle soft/heavy conditions later in the year probably better than most, but if she could handle quicker ground then that is a definite plus.”

The handler also feels her performance in the Prix Saint-Alary shows she has the potential to match Wonderful Tonight’s achievements on track.

Menuisier added: “At the moment she is showing the right signs and is a little bit above Wonderful Tonight as she would have been unable to perform good over one-mile-two at Group One level in the spring.

“So whether the finished article will be ahead of the sister, it would be lovely to think so, but she has a serious challenge ahead of her, so we will see.”

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