English racing fans were disappointed to hear that Michelle Payne is not going to ride in the Epsom Derby this Saturday, having been proposed some weeks ago as a potential jockey for rank outsider Diore Lia. In her absence an apprentice, Gina Mangan, who has yet to ride a winner in public, takes the ride in a move that has attracted controversy.
Gina Mangan is yet to ride a winner as a jockey and will partner the horse Michelle was supposed too ride who is a $1,000/1 shot in markets.
The British public are still hopeful they’ll catch a glimpse of Payne later in the summer at Ascot where she may have some rides at the Royal meeting and, later in the year, Ascot’s Shergar Cup where she’ll be part of an all-female team, bidding to beat the men in this team-based event.
Meanwhile, there will still be a strong Australian bloodstock connection at Epsom for the big race this weekend as outstanding Darley sire Teofilo, who stands at a fee of $44,000 at Kelvinside NSW, will be represented by a live contender in the shape of the Mark Johnston trained Permian. He has been attracting sustained support in the betting market for the race having won his last two in good style. If he’s to win at Epsom he’ll have to reverse earlier course form with one of the joint favourites for the race, Cracksman, a son of the legendary unbeaten racehorse Frankel.
The ill-fated High Chaparral, who many Australian racing fans will remember as the sire of Descarado, So You Think and It’s A Dundeel, is doubly represented by Khalidi and Rekindling. Rekindling is trained by Joseph O’Brien, son of the multiple Irish champion trainer Aidan O’Brien who trained High Chaparral during his racing career and handled So You Think when he was sent to the northern hemisphere to race.
O’Brien Snr intends to saddle several runners in Saturday’s classic, including the other joint favourite Cliffs Of Moher, a son of super-sire Galileo who is sire of no fewer than 6 of the 20 runners declared for the race.