It’s ‘Game On’ for next Saturday’s Group 1 Investec Derby following confirmation that last week’s impressive Group 2 Betfred Dante Stakes winner Roaring Lion (pictured above) will take his chance and go head-to-head once again with hot favourite Saxon Warrior at Epsom.
The news so many racing fans had been hoping for was confirmed on Tuesday morning at the traditional Breakfast With The Stars at Epsom, where trainer John Gosden wasted no time in informing the racing public that Roaring Lion, the mount of Oisin Murphy, will once again take on his Qipco 2000 Guineas conqueror at the Surrey track next weekend.
“We were pleased with the horse [after the Dante Stakes],” said Gosden. “He ate up. He’s in splendid form and the owner [Qatar Racing Limited] is very keen that he goes for the Derby, so that is where he is going and that’s the right call.”
“He’s in great form,”added the former champion trainer. “He came on a lot for the Guineas and I have always longed to run him over middle distances. I hope he can get back to his Racing Post Trophy form and get involved with Saxon Warrior.”
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It was in the Group 1 Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster last October that Roaring Lion surged past Saxon Warrior inside the final furlong and looked set for victory, only to hang left and be worried out of it close home by the Aidan O’Brien-trained star who bravely got back up to score by a neck.
Two-and-a-half lengths separated the pair at Newmarket earlier this month where Saxon Warrior was a hugely impressive 2000 Guineas with Roaring Lion back in fifth, but Gosden’s colt has since gone on to win the Dante Stakes in very eye-catching fashion and looks to be getting better as he steps up in trip.
O’Brien, also at Epsom on Tuesday, was unable to confirm how many of Saxon Warrior’s stable companions will join him in the Derby starting line-up. The likes of Delano Roosevelt, The Pentagon and Rostropovich, are just a few of the battalion of horses available to the Ballydoyle-based training legend.
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.