Epsom Derby News: Royal Patronage sole Highclere runner as Lysander swerved

Highclere Thoroughbred Racing are on fire but will have just the one runner in the Cazoo Epsom Derby on June 4 after Lysander was rerouted to Royal Ascot. Royal Patronage will go it alone.

Highclere Thoroughbred Racing are on cloud nine currently with their Cachet winning the 1000 Guineas but they will only have one runner in the Cazoo Epsom Derby on June 4.

There had been hopes of the double blue Highclere silks being carried on both Royal Patronage and Lysander in the Classic at Epsom but Lysander will be sent to Royal Ascot instead.

Mark and Charlie Johnston's Royal Patronage will be Highclere's only runner in the Derby with William Haggas' Lysander being aimed at the King Edward VI Stakes instead at Ascot.

Highclere's managing director Harry Herbert was hopeful that a win in the Cocked Hat Stakes at Goodwood would prove that Lysander was Derby ready but he finished third, suggesting that the Classic may be a bridge too far.

Herbert said: "We had high hopes for Lysander and we still do, it was just very frustrating when the rain arrived at Goodwood.

"I think this horse has such a good action and he was slightly all at sea off that slow pace when they really quickened it up, but he still ran a hell of a race.

"We're not going to the Derby with him now and will head to either the Hampton Court or the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot.

"He had a hard race the other day in sticky ground and William just feels going to Epsom would be the wrong move for the horse right now.

"He's very talented and we never like turning down the Derby, but we'll take a longer term view."

Meanwhile, Royal Patronage is a big outsider for the Derby having been beaten three and a quarter lengths by Sir Michael Stoute's Desert Crown in the Dante.

However, Herbert suggests his colt is no forlorn hope.

He added: "He'll definitely run there, all being well. I spoke to Charlie Johnston on Tuesday morning and he tells me he's in very good form.

"He won impressively at Epsom last year, so he's handled the track pretty well and we're hopeful that he'll stay the mile and a half. If he does, he could give everyone a lovely shout.

"We feel the rhythm of the Dante possibly didn't suit him as they went slow and then really sprinted, but take nothing away from the winner, who won well and deserves to be Derby favourite.

"It's a difficult race and anything can happen, as we've seen so many times before.

"I think we're probably too big a price for a talented horse who is proven on the track."

Latest news