Epsom Derby News: Sir Michael Stoute's favourite Desert Crown all set after Newmarket spin

Sir Michael Stoute's Desert Crown seems a worthy Cazoo Epsom Derby favourite after eye-catching performances in the Dante and on a prep run at Newmarket on Thursday morning.

Excitement is building ahead of the Cazoo Epsom Derby on June 4 and Sir Michael Stoute's market leader Desert Crown impressed on a practise run at Newmarket.

The three-year-old Nathanial colt was lucky enough to gain acccess to the watered gallop at HQ which is normally closed on a Thursday and Stoute sent his Dante winner on an early morning piece of work on a strip adjacent to the Rowley mile.

Desert Crown has, almost unbelievably, only ever raced twice, progressing at a rate of knots from his debut maiden win at Nottingham.

His next race was a huge step up to the Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Dante Stakes at York in which he put in a scintillating performance in the Group 1 to dismiss Royal Patronage by a full three and a quarter lengths.

Sir Michael Stoute is in his seventh decade and has trained five previous winners of the Epsom Classic in Shergar (1981), Shahrastani (1986), Kris Kin (2003), North Light (2004) and Workforce (2010).

Desert Crown, owned by Saeed Suhail, took to the Newmarket gallop with stablemate and fellow Suhail inmate Solid Stone but the latter was a mere pace-setter for the real class horse.

Indeed, Desert Crown pulled nicely clear of the 112 rated rival under big-race rider Richard Kingscote in a showing that will have done nothing to put off punters expecting another Stoute Derby win.

Bruce Raymond, the owner's racing manager, said: "He went nicely and everyone is happy. He went on the Watered Gallop and we're very pleased with him.

"He's not a great worker, but I believe everyone was very happy with him this morning, both the jockey and Sir Michael."

The Epsom Derby is considered the premier English Classic and takes place on Saturday, June 4.

The Group 1 race takes place over one mile and four furlongs on the Epsom Downs and the winner will receive £850,650.

Due to line up against Desert Crown are Aidan O'Brien's second favourite Stone Age, who ran away with the Leopardstown Derby trial, while O'Brien's son Joseph sends Piz Badile, who may well be a dark horse after game win in the Ballysax Stakes at Leopardstown.

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