By Simon Jackson.
Kevin Ryan is looking forward to returning to York with French Derby winner the Grey Gatsby who is set to face a maximum of five rivals in the Juddmonte International at York on Wednesday.
The Grey Gatsby burst into the big time with an impressive victory in the Group 2 Betfred Dante Stakes at York in May, finishing three quarters of a length ahead of second placed Arod, who went on to run fourth in the Investec Derby and reopposes at York.
Ryan opted to miss the English Derby with The Grey Gatsby in favour of tackling the French equivalent. He reaped the rewards of that decision when the colt prevailed by three lengths in the Prix du Jockey Club (French Derby) on June 1.
The son of Mastercraftsman was unsuited by the heavy ground when sixth in a Group 1 at Longchamp at his last start in mid-July. He is reported to be in good order for Wednesday’s contest, where he will be partnered for the first time by Richard Hughes, as regular rider Ryan Moore has been claimed to ride rival Telescope.
“The Grey Gatsby has been great since his Longchamp run and is very fresh and well. The ground in France was bottomless, which he hated, though he still ran a good race,” Ryan said of his charge who is a 12-1 shot with Paddy Power for the Group 1 contest.
“He won his maiden at York, was second in the Acomb at York and he won the Dante at York so the Knavesmire will be no problem for him.
“He’s proven at this mile and a quarter although at some point I envisage stepping him back up to a mile and a half. He’s only a three-year-old and is developing all the time.
“It’s going to be a fantastic race, although I have to say that all Group 1 races are great races. But we will try to treat it as just another day.”
Meanwhile, Arod’s trainer Peter Chapple-Hyam says that preparations have gone well while giving the Derby fourth time to recover from a hard run at Epsom.
“He seems to be in very good form, he’s had no problems whatsoever since his win at Leicester,” Chapple-Hyam said.
“He had a very hard race in the Derby – because he didn’t stay he had a harder race than normal. But he is back at the right trip now, whether he is good enough we will just have to wait and see.
“I took him to Leicester as I wanted to give him a bit of confidence and it worked out well. He’s getting stronger all the time and thickening out.
“I just don’t want any rain for him. He’s such a good mover that the ground couldn’t be quick enough for him – he’s not the same horse on soft.”
Juddmonte International betting (Paddy Power): 8-13 Australia, 4 Telescope, 6 Mukhadram, 12 The Grey Gatsby, 14 Arod, 33 Kingfisher
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