The John Gosden trained Roaring Lion won the Group 2 Dante Stakes at York and VG Tips members cashed in at the SP odds of 3/1.
He won in taking fashion, going away, and beating the field by a whopping four and a half lengths. Granted, if he does go to the Derby he will face much better opposition, including old adversary Saxon Warrior. The pair first met in the Group 1 Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster last October. A race won by Saxon Warrior, beating Roaring Lion into second by the margin of a neck. That race was over a mile.
Next time up they met in the 2000 Guineas last month. Saxon Warrior impressed when landing that race and Roaring Lion was only fifth. But Roaring Lion caught my eye racing on the rail that day over a mile. In both races Roaring Lion was staying on at the finish and so I was convinced that the grey colt would prefer to race over further. So it proved on Thursday when he demolished the field on the Knavesmire over a distance of 1 mile and 2 furlongs.
I was not surprised. Nor, more importantly, was Gosden. He said post race that he expected such a run from him on the day and that he would have been surprised had Roaring Lion not performed that well in a Group 2 race. The decision for connections is where to send him next.
Roaring Lion was, I told members of VG Tips on Wednesday night, available at odds of 20/1 to win the Derby at Epsom on Saturday June 2nd. He’s not now.
Gosden gave the impression that my 20/1 ante-post, each way bet on Roaring Lion for the Derby may be wasted.
On whether or not punters should take the 8/1 now on offer he said: “I would absolutely advise people to wait. We have set ourselves something to think about.
“I would have been disappointed if he hadn’t won like this. He’s been training beautifully at home. He woke up after the Guineas and has got himself mentally in the zone. To that extent I expected a big performance.
“He hit the line strong, galloped out well, and we just have to work out whether we go to Epsom or the Prix du Jockey Club. There is no decision to be made in a hurry.”
I think Roaring Lion would get the trip of 1 mile and 4 furlongs in the Derby and have no trouble racing at Epsom. I sensed from the way he spoke, however, that Gosden suspects his boy would not beat the current odds on favourite, Saxon Warrior.
Coronet was the second winner from two win only York tips mailed to members of VG Tips on Thursday.
Selected for members when odds of 5/2 were available, Coronet is also trained by the master of the Newmarket gallops, John Gosden. The filly dominated the Middleton Stakes at York on Thursday and pleased both trainer and jockey Frankie Dettori.
After the race Dettori said: “She’s the best ride. She’s brilliant, she’s honest and she’s got an engine. It’s just nice to be around her. When you get up on a morning and see your name down to ride her it’s a privilege.”
Gosden said: “That was a great return. She’s been training nicely. We were perfectly aware that a mile and a quarter on top of the ground is not her favourite, but she did it very well and when we step her up to a mile and a half she’ll be even better. She’s in the Hardwicke (at Royal Ascot) and that is there for her to look at. If not, there’s the Lancashire Oaks at Haydock.”
Mmebers of VG Tips were offered selections in three races at York on Thursday. Roaring Lion (3/1) and Coronet (5/2) won and my 8/1 each way selection for the day, Roussel, was a half length third at a much shorter SP price. But us early bird punters made a little profit on Roussel finishing in the places.
There’s more quality flat racing ahead. At Goodwood, Newmarket, York, Curragh and, of course, the Oaks at Epsom on June 1st and the Derby the following day.
Add to that Royal Ascot later in the month and, for those who like to bet on football, the World Cup begins in Russia on June 14th.