MELISSA JONES SAYS: Derby could be a Main event

First published in Melissa Jones

THE Queen will witness a rather uncompetitive Investec Derby as part of her weekend of Jubilee pomp and circumstance if the bookmakers are to be believed.

Camelot is set to start the shortest-priced favourite in years in what is quite a disappointing turnout given the special occasion.

Those who have taken the odds-on price believe the 2000 Guineas winner will blitz his rivals and line the pockets of those in the Coolmore empire with the first prize of £751,408.

The Irish have another runner, the promising Astrology, but it could be written in the stars that one of England’s hopefuls will give the long-reining monarch something to smile about.

Over the years, the Queen has been known to appreciate a decent thoroughbred, as a special picture exhibition of her time in the industry will show Chepstow Race-course attendees on Monday.

So surely she would not be too downhearted if the Irish did win the prize.

Just one year ago, it was her turn to experience the thrill of owning a live Derby contender as Carlton House, who got the Jubilee celebrations off to a winning start on Thursday, represented the Buckingham Palace resident.

He did not live up to the hype and, like Camelot, the expectation was huge.

Today’s race does not look a vintage renewal with just nine runners going to post – the smallest field in over a century.

Camelot impressed with his turn of foot at Newmarket and it was a good performance given he is expected to excel over 1m 4f.

However, while there looks to be plenty more in the locker, he is yet to tackle today’s trip, something which cannot be said for Main Sequence.

While I would be loathed to put up a horse which, on paper, won an average Lingfield Derby Trial, there was much to like about the performance.

David Lanigan’s colt was trapped at the back as the runners entered the straight, but once finding a gap he picked up stylishly to hold the challenge of Shantaram, albeit flashing his tail, with the pair clear.

The second was a very well-backed favourite on the day, which suggests he is held in some regard and if Lanigan’s unbeaten colt was trained by one of the so-called ‘fashionable’ trainers he would be half the price.

The horses in behind were not overly special but they were not trees standing still. With stamina guaranteed, he can make the frame at 10-1.

Lanigan does not make too many entries for graded contests and Welsh trainers are hardly regulars at Epsom either.

Peter Bowen’s Mezzanisi is declared for the 4.50 with top jockey Paul Hanagan on board, while the Monmouthshire-trained Noverre To Go is also heading to Surrey for the 5.25.

Finally, I may be putting my pen down on the racing-front for a short time soon to take over the reins at a local stable yard or racecourse.

That’s because the Argus is launching a new ‘work experience’ feature which will see us reporters face a new challenge away from the newsroom.

My colleagues have also noticed my love for racing branch out onto my desk this week, where jump racing’s finest horse, Kauto Star, has taken pride of place in poster form. I thought it was quite fitting given the superstar has regained his crown as the top-rated steeplechaser following a mighty 2011-12 season.

Rising 13, that is some feat.

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