Frankie Dettori has been hired to ride Investec Derby favourite English King at Epsom on Saturday week, to the major disappointment of Tom Marquand.
The son of Camelot could not have been more impressive when landing the Lingfield Derby Trial and is now best priced 7-2, just ahead of Guineas hero Kameko who is 5-1.
Hard luck Tom
It is a bitter pill to swallow for Marquand who rode English King to victory at Lingfield, but it’s not every day you get a chance to win a Derby so owner Bjorn Nielsen is taking no chances.
Ed Walker told the Press Association: “Frankie is going to ride English King in the Derby.
“I feel desperately sorry for Tom, and it is absolutely no reflection of our faith and trust in his ability.
“Bjorn and I mulled it over and watched all the trials, and it became increasingly clear John (Gosden) wasn’t going to have a Derby runner. After Tom won on the horse at Lingfield he asked if he’d keep the ride in the Derby, and I said to him ‘your only danger is Frankie’.
Frankie oozes Group 1 class
“Frankie obviously has a wealth of big-race experience and raises his game to stratospheric heights for the big races. We feel very privileged to have him on board.”
Walker added: “The Derby is the Derby, and Frankie is Frankie. It’s very tough on Tom – but he has never ridden in a Classic around Epsom before, and I hope he’ll have other big days with us in the future, very possibly on this horse.
“It will be my first runner in the Derby – fingers crossed we get there – and having Frankie Dettori on board will just give me a bit of confidence as well, and obviously Frankie and Bjorn have the connection through Stradivarius.
“It wasn’t an easy decision. I’m sure it won’t be too long before Tom is jocking people off left, right and centre.”
He’s ready to go
“He’s in cracking form – really well in himself. I just hope we can keep him in the same form for the next 12 days,” said Walker.
“We haven’t organised when it will happen yet, but Frankie will come and sit on him between now and the Derby.”