‘I feel he is a very solid candidate’: Charlie Johnston confident Dubai Mile can go the distance in the Derby
- Trainer Charlie Johnston hopes Dubai Mile can win Saturday’s Betfred Derby
- The Danny Muscutt-ridden 14-1 shot finished fifth in the 2,000 Guineas in May
- Johnston believes Dubai Mile he will cope with Epsom’s challenging gradients
Trainer Charlie Johnston believes Dubai Mile is a ‘very solid candidate’ for Saturday’s Betfred Derby when the step up to a mile and a half looks a big positive for the Danny Muscutt-ridden 14-1 shot who finished fifth in the 2,000 Guineas.
Johnston, in his first season as the sole training licence-holder at his Middleham stable after a season as joint licence-holder with his record-breaking father Mark, will run two in the Derby, with Dante Stakes eighth and Dear My Friend also lining up at Epsom.
But it is Dubai Mile, who beat Frankie Dettori’s final Derby mount Arrest by a head in last season’s Group One Gran Criterium de Saint-Cloud, who carries by far the biggest expectations.
Johnston said: ‘When a horse can win in a gruelling finish over a mile and a quarter on heavy ground in their two-year-old career, you can have reasonable confidence that a mile and a half will be within their compass as a three-year-old.
‘Ever since Saint Cloud the Derby has been Dubai Mile’s No 1 goal. On pure form and ratings, he is right up there with the principals in the race.
Trainer Charlie Johnston believes Dubai Mile is a ‘very solid candidate’ for the Betfred Derby
Johnston says that only Arrest and Auguste Rodin are rated higher than Dubai Mile at Epsom
‘There is only Arrest and Auguste Rodin rated higher than him and that is not by much.
‘He is a Group One winner who has done very little wrong in his career to date. I feel he is a very solid candidate.’
Johnston also hopes that Dubai Mile’s ability to take the Newmarket track undulations in his stride means he will cope with Epsom’s challenging gradients.
French jockey Mickael Barzalona, winner of the 2011 Derby on Pour Moi, looks like being confirmed as Dear My Friend’s Derby jockey, and Johnston runs 1,000 Guineas fifth Dance In The Grass (Joe Fanning) in Friday’s Oaks.
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