Epsom Derby News: It could be six and not out for Sir Michael Stoute thanks to Desert Crown

Sir Michael Stoute is confident in his Cazoo Epsom Derby favourite Desert Crown but the 76-year-old is taking nothing for granted in this game that throws up plenty of surprises.

Cricket fanatic Sir Michael Stoute knows all about sixes and winning a sixth career Epsom Derby with Desert Crown will be a smashing achievement.

His three-year-old Nathanial colt Desert Crown is favourite for the Blue Riband on the Downs on June 4 but has only has two runs and two wins to his name.

A victory in a Nottingham maiden was followed by a hugely impressive step up to win the Dante Stakes at York.

Stoute might have favoured another run for the colt who has the huge weight of Derby favouritism on his back but is generally hopeful of a good run.

"We went to York just in time," said Stoute. "When he won at Nottingham, he won it and won it impressively, which surprised us last year.

"So, he obviously does a little bit more on the racecourse than he does here (at home)."

"You couldn't fault the Dante performance, which was very efficient.

"The hold-up was nothing too serious, but it held him up. He had a bruised foot. I can't remember exactly how long he was sidelined, but it was nothing too serious, as we were able to get him going relatively quickly again. He was just about to start fast work (when the injury occurred)."

"I certainly wasn't confident going into the Dante, as I felt we were just about ready to go to the races, but I knew that he did more on the racecourse than at home, as he indicated that as a two-year-old on his only start."

"He has had just one piece of work since the Dante. It was just a loosen up, really. He went six furlongs quite comfortably."

"He would not have to come on too much (from the Dante), but it was a good performance that puts him in the reckoning."

"He did surprise me and he impressed me. It was a solid performance in a good time."

Stoute added: "If you win the Dante, you don't have to improve too much more to win the Derby."

The elder-statesman of Newmarket is now 76 but is resisting any urge to hang up his binoculars.

"I've probably thought about it for the last 30 years! If you have a very bad day, you think, 'Do I really need this?'."

"You have very disappointing days and it is very upsetting being involved with these animals. We will play it off the wicket and see what happens."

"But I hope my enthusiasm remains undiminished. I hope I am doing the job all right. The numbers are reduced and we have a smaller unit and we'll see what happens."

"I think you form an affinity with the horse. That is how it begins, really. Sometimes there are many unsolved puzzles. Every day reminds you that you haven't got it cracked - believe me!"

Latest news