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Greatwood and Secret Gesture can take Lingfield Derby and Oaks trials

Saturday sees a brace of classic trials going off on the Lingfield Turf with Oaks and Derby trial going off back to back-to-back. Luca Cumani’s colt Greatwood and Ralph Beckett’s filly Secret Gesture look the ones to be on in their respective heats.

Two of the last five winners of the Lingfield Derby Trial (2:55) went on to place in the Epsom Classic with Aqaleem third to Authorized in 2007 and Main Sequence second to Camelot last term, but the last winner to go on to victory in the colts’ classic after landing the race was High Rise in 1998. The latter was trained by Luca Cumani who saddles Greatwood – 20/1 in Coral’s Derby betting – in this year’s Lingfield stepping-stone.

Short-headed on his seasonal bow by subsequent Listed winner and Derby-entrant Windhoek, the Manduro colt was doing all his best work at the end of that 1m2f contest and the extra furlong and a half should be to his liking at Lingfield. Confirmed hold up merchant Jamie Spencer is in the plate for this engagement and the Irishman’s style looks tailor made for delivering his mount late in what – with just five runners – could be a tactical affair.

His main rival looks the highest-rated horse Nevis – an Irish raider from Aidan O’Brien last seen distant in the dust behind New Approach in last year’s 1m National Stakes – and the mount of Ryan Moore is worth a market check in the minutes preceding the off.

In the Oaks Trial which precedes the colts equivalent at 3:20, Ralph Beckett’s Secret Gesture bids to join her stable mate Talent in the upper echelons of the Oaks betting. Talent is 14/1 for the fillies classic after beating Lady Nouf in Newmarket’s Pretty Polly stakes on 1000 Guineas day so it’s significant that Secret Gesture is 14/1 for the Oaks without a run this term. 

Secret Gesture is certainly bred for the job being by Derby winner and Derby winning sire Galileo  out of a mare by Danehill, sire of classic winners Dylan Thomas and Rock Of Gibraltar.