Lack of respect for Derby trial winner Battle Of Marengo confusing
Aidan O’Brien’s Battle of Marengo returned to Leopardstown for the first time since winning a listed trial for the Breeders Cup Juvenile back in September last year and the result was the same, with the son of Galileo coming home a length and three quarters ahead of his pursuers. Nonetheless, he was left unchanged on 12/1 by Coral’s odds compilers, behind two of his own stablemates.
The Ballysax Stakes has been won by Ballydoyle inmates Galileo, High Chaparral and Fame And Glory on the way to victorious or highly creditable performances in the Epsom Derby since the turn of the century, with venerable stayer Yeats also scoring in the contest during his classic season.
It was the O’Brien colt’s first run beyond a mile and there was no sign of him running out of gas on the way up to the line, despite unsuitably soft going underfoot and the burden of a 5lb penalty for a Group 2 success last term. However, despite a performance that can only enhance his claims for Epsom glory, Coral were unmoved, leaving him unchanged at 12/1 in the Epsom Derby betting.
Such a lack of market reaction seems to indicate that O’Brien’s Kingsbarns and Mars – shorter in the Derby betting with Coral at 6/1 and 7/1 respectively – are fancied to outshine him when they return to competitive action during the next month.
The former has been ante-post favourite for this year’s Epsom classic since he won the Racing Post Trophy as a juvenile. That victory was especially impressive given he won the race 17 days after winning his maiden – the last two colts to match that achievement were Derby winners Motivator and Camelot.
O’Brien had “dreamed he was our Triple Crown horse for this year”, but sadly an injury setback has robbed him of the chance to take in the 2000 Guineas next month.
The stable’s Mars, himself a one-time Derby favourite, will be taking his chance at Newmarket, but currently rates far more of an unknown quantity than his stable mates. Kingsbarns was found more than equal to Group 1 company, whilst Battle of Marengo has won four of his five races.
Mars has been seen just once on the racecourse, far from the Group 1 limelight on the all-weather track at Dundalk. He won easily that day, but with the exception of the The Ferryman’s – second that day – 10-length fifth to Dawn Approach in the Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes his vanquished foes have done little to advise as to the worth of that performance.
Considering these lingering doubts over his stablemates the 12/1 about Battle Of Marengo in the Derby betting looks a reasonable price.