Epsom Downs Racecourse breaks new ground this Sunday, October 1, with the first two-year-old race to offer a wildcard entry into next year’s £1.5 million G1 Investec Derby.
The winner of the extended-mile £20,000 totepool Conditions Race (2.40pm) will receive an entry into Britain’s premier Classic and richest race, run over a mile and a half at Epsom Downs on Saturday, June 2, 2018, providing they are not already entered or a gelding.
The 14 entries for Sunday’s contest, staged at Epsom’s last fixture of the 2017 season, include Dee Ex Bee (trained by Mark Johnston), who made an impressive debut when winning at Glorious Goodwood in early August and finished third on his most recent appearance in a mile Listed race at Haydock Park on September 9.
Godolphin’s Old Persian (Charlie Appleby) readily captured a Polytrack novice race at Chelmsford City on his latest outing, while Tadleel (Ed Dunlop) could also line up on the back of an All-Weather success having gained a comfortable victory in a Kempton Park nursery.
Lisheen Castle looks set to head to Epsom Downs after capturing a novice race over an extended mile on his debut at Hamilton, Scotland, on August 25.
The Most Improved colt quickened strongly to beat subsequent York runner-up Ayutthaya by a length and a quarter.
Trainer John Quinn, based in Malton, North Yorkshire, commented today: “We will have a look at Lisheen Castle on Tuesday (tomorrow) morning but there is a good chance that he will run on Sunday.
“He is a grand horse who won well over this trip on his debut at Hamilton. We were going to Ayr with him last Thursday and that wasn’t on so we decided to have a look at this race, especially as he doesn’t have a penalty for winning first time out.
“He won on soft, but he doesn’t have to run on it – he is a good-moving horse and works well on the Polytrack at home.
“I wouldn’t think that the ground at Epsom will change a great deal from its current description [Good, Good to Soft in Places] and that would be absolutely fine.
“He is a nice horse and it would be grand if he could get himself entered into the Derby.”
Other contenders include the Richard Hannon-trained pair of Regimented, a winner at Lingfield Park and Salisbury, and Move Over, who finished a close fourth in a German Listed race at Dusseldorf on his latest outing.
The Revenant (Hugo Palmer), who already holds a 2018 Investec Derby entry, made a winning debut at Haydock Park earlier this month, while Lynwood Gold (Mark Johnston) and Hollydaze (Richard Hughes), one of two fillies entered, have both scored at Epsom Downs already this year.
Horses not entered for the 2018 Investec Derby can also gain a wildcard entry by winning the £50,000 Investec Derby Trial at the Investec Spring Meeting on April 25, 2018. The 10-furlong conditions race was won this year by Cracksman, who went on to finish third in the 2017 Investec Derby.
There were 448 yearling entries made for the 2018 Investec Derby in December, 2016.
Two further opportunities are available for horses to be entered in the mile and a half Group One race – at the second entry stage on April 3, 2018 and at the supplementary entry stage on Monday, May 28, 2018.
Andrew Cooper, Head of Racing and Clerk of the Course at Epsom Downs Racecourse, commented: “We wanted to provide a two-year-old opportunity at Epsom Downs with a wildcard entry for the Investec Derby.
“This follows the higher profile the Investec Derby Trial has enjoyed following the addition of a wildcard entry.
“The 2018 Investec Derby, which remains Britain’s richest race, will figure in the dreams of many owners, trainers and jockeys over the winter, including those successful in the totepool Conditions Race at Epsom Down on Sunday.”