Stable lad Michael’s the man with the Golden touch

editorial image
0
Have your say

When top jockey Frankie Dettori sits astride 2-1 favourite Golden Horn in the Epsom Derby this Saturday, there will be one Borderer hoping lightning can strike twice.

Last year, Galashiels-born stable lad Michael Curran hit our headlines when looking after Irish 2000 Guineas, St James’s Palace Stakes, Sussex Stakes and Prix Jacques le Marois winner Kingman, who was named Cartier Horse of the Year 2014.

Michael – who works in John Gosden’s Clarehaven Stables in Newmarket – was gutted when a throat infection put paid to Kingman’s racing career, but the horse was retired to Bandstead manor stud alongside legend Frankel.

Usually for a groom, getting to look after such a horse is a once-in-a-lifetime chance, but it appears Michael has struck it lucky again with Golden Horn, owned by De Beers president Anthony Oppenheimer.

He said: “To look after Kingman was a huge honour, but Golden Horn is a fantastic horse as well. It’s just the luck of the draw.

“He had been down to run the Prix du Jockey Club – sometimes referred to as the French Derby – as at one mile and 2.5 furlongs, it’s a shorter distance to the Epsom Derby which is one mile four, and there were worries he would struggle to stay.

“But he was up against the then favourite for the Derby, stablemate Jack Hobbs, in the recent Betfred Dante Stakes at York, and basically won it easily and looked to have more in the tank.

“I think the penny just dropped for him. He now relaxes really well into the gallop.”

Owner Oppenheimer did not have Golden Horn entered into the Derby – but after that display in York, he has been persuaded to put up the £76,000 supplementary entry fee – and Golden Horn was elevated to the position of ante-post favourite for the Derby.

But is he worth a punt?

Michael said: “The forecast for Saturday’s race is fairly fast ground, which will help him.

“And his sire, Cape Cross, has sired other horses that can run the mile-and-a-half well.”

Trainer Gosden also has joint second favourite Jack Hobbs in the race, so could be well placed for a nice double.