Horse racing Knight To Behold and jockey Richard Kingscote

Knight Slays Lingfield Foes; Derby a Different Story

10 months ago

Credit where it’s due. Harry Dunlop’s Knight To Behold (7/1) did everything asked of him at Lingfield Park on Saturday afternoon in running out a convincing three-and-a-quarter length winner of the listed Betfred Derby Trial.

It’s hard though to see him getting the same run of the race in the Investec Derby at Epsom in less than three weeks’ time having comfortably accounted for Aidan O’Brien’s rather one-paced galloper Kew Gardens (8/11f) after been given an enterprising ride by Richard Kingscote.

The son of 2009 Derby hero Sea The Stars poached a big lead around a mile from home and it was always going to be difficult from that point for the pursuers to reel him in. Unsurprisingly, nothing landed a blow (see video below). John Gosden’s Corelli (4/1) was a distant third, seven lengths adrift of the Ryan Moore-ridden runner-up.

Bookmaker reaction to the Lingfield Trial winner has been fairly muted. Of course, he has shortened from his pre-race ante-post Derby offer of around 40/1 with most firms to a current top price of 20/1 with BetVictor, but they don’t seem to have been knocked over in the rush to take that price.

Knight To Behold was having just his third career start. He failed by only a nose to win on his racecourse debut in a Newbury maiden last September, and the winner, White Mocha, has well and truly franked the form since by finishing second in the Group 3 Craven Stakes to Masar who subsequently finished a brave third in the 2000 Guineas. Dunlop’s colt then stayed on well on his second outing, on the Rowley Mile in October, getting up to beat Charlie Appleby’s Bow Street by a neck. It’s good form, but not form that shout’s “Derby winner!”

Clive Cox’s Perfect Clarity, 5/1 winner of the Betfred Lingfield Oaks Trial half an hour earlier under Adam Kirby, was probably more impressive than Knight To Behold as the race appeared to be solidly run. Winner of her only start last term in a Nottingham mile maiden, she was pulling away from Ralph Beckett’s Cecchini (9/4) inside the final furlong, with Aidan O’Brien’s 6/4f Flattering unable to quicken with the front two who were separated by a length-and-a-quarter.

Perfect Clarity, a daughter of Nathaniel, is clearly a useful filly and could improve again to give herself an outside chance of shaking up the market principals in the Oaks at Epsom on June 1. There is clearly a difference of opinion among betting firms as to the merit of the Lingfield Oaks Trial form, Cox’s filly being a top priced 20/1 shot with Sky Bet for the Oaks, while BetVictor go just 10/1.

John Gosden’s Pretty Polly Stakes winner Lah Ti Dar – recommended in our ante-post tipping at 12/1 a few weeks ago – is the clear 7/2 favourite with Sportingbet.

Paul Alster

Written by Paul Alster

Paul Alster has been part of the British and international racing media for more than three decades working as a race commentator, TV/radio presenter, journalist, betting correspondent, SP returner, and form analyst. He’s always sought out overpriced runners in handicap races, a quest that excites him as much now as it did at the start of his career.