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Lingfield best bet: All signs point to Illinois in Derby Trial

The Flat season steps up another notch on Saturday afternoon, with Lingfield's Derby Trial offering nine three-year-old colts the opportunity to strut their stuff in next month’s Epsom Classic.

15:00 Lingfield:  William Hill Derby Trial Stakes (1 mile 3½ furlongs)

The bookies appear to be heavily in favour of this developing into a two-horse race between Illinois and Defiance, with both well fancied at a best-priced 2/1 at the time of writing.

Planet Sport Bet Daily Special: Bet £20+ cash on any runner in the race and if Illinois wins by more than 2 lengths, get a £5 Free Bet

Defiance won narrowly on debut at Sandown last August, and although down the field in the Royal Lodge at Newmarket, he ran well on his season debut 18 days ago, finishing a good second behind Bellum Justum and showing a liking for the Epsom track that could serve him well should he make the Derby line-up.

Illinois is one of two Aidan O’Brien runners here, and with Ryan Moore at the reins this son of Galileo appears to the stable’s best prospect .

Another debut winner at the Curragh in October, his subsequent outing at Saint Cloud two weeks later looks to carry a strong form line, having finished within a length of Los Angeles and Islandsinthestream ahead of him.

Illinois was given the chance to blow a few winter cobwebs away at Leopardstown a month ago, and although no match for Dallas Star in the heavy conditions that day, that outing appears to have been with this race in mind and he should be all the sharper for the run. 

Suggested best bet: Illinois in the 15:00 at Lingfield


Assuming the two market leaders dominate as expected, then their short prices is likely to leave their seven rivals battling for third spot at a decent price.

O’Brien’s second runner, The Euphrates, is likely to be in good shape after splitting Dallas Star and stablemate Illinois in the aforementioned race, while Salamanca is also interesting after kicking off his career with a couple of creditable runner-up spots either side of his winter break.

Our final each-way nod, however, goes in the direction of one of Karl Burke’s two candidates, Imperial Sovereign, who is looking to carry some impressive all-weather form into his turf debut.

Sired by Frankel, he clearly has pedigree on his side, and he proved as much when winning on debut over Newcastle’s testing one-mile track in December.

He reappeared at kempton three months later and appeared to take the step up to 11 furlongs comfortably in his stride, beating the Charlie Appleby’s odds-on favourite, Tribal Star (despite missing the break), only to be edged out close home by an 18/1 outsider.

His untried capabilities on turf is still an open page, but his scope for improvement suggests he could well put himself in the mix here at a decent double-digit price.

Each-way punt: Imperial Sovereign in the 15:00 at Lingfield


READ MORE: Saturday ITV racing tips: Best bets for Lingfield, Ascot and Haydock on May 11

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