Could BuiCk enjoy last laugh AT EPSOM?
Byline: BOB DOWNING
WILLIAM Buick, one of a number of jockeys who learned his trade with the master of jockeys, the late Reg Hollinshead at his Staffordshire stable, has been jocked off one Derby contender - but he could have the last laugh at Epsom on Saturday.
Buick will ride displaced favourite Jack Hobbs in the Classic of classics next weekend - having burst his bubble at York just over three weeks earlier.
In a quite remarkable change of events, Buick rode Golden Horn to win the best of the Derby trails, deflating the unbeaten record of Jack Frost, ridden by Frankie Dettori.
When it was decided that Golden Horn would run at Epsom - at a cost of PS75,000 instead of waiting for the French Derby - Dettori opted to desert Jack Frost in favour of the new favourite.
But then came another twist of fate.
Godolphin "bought into" Jack Frost - and, as Buick is now employed by the boys in blue, he was the natural replacement.
So now, one of the most talented of all our young jockeys goes into the biggest race of his life with the added bonus of having ridden one of his major rivals in a top-class race.
And it would be no surprise if Dettori had opted for the wrong option. The reason Golden Horn was not entered for Epsom was that, on breeding, he is not guaranteed to get the mile and a half.
Buick rode Jack Frost at Epsom recently in a media event and it could not have gone better. Connections were clearly pleased with what they saw and it was only natural that Jack Frost would have improved from the Dante run.
Those who braved the cold at Wolverhampton racecourse on December 27 were in for a bonus - although, for the uneducated racegoer, it is not until now that they have realised.
For it was on that day that Jack Hobbs made his racecourse debut in a maiden race as the even money favourite. Next Saturday, he may be larger odds than that but he can hit his rivals for six by landing the The Derby at Epsom - and leave Frankie Dettori with a red face.
Under the lights at Dunstall Park on that winter's evening, Jack Hobbs almost walked out of the starting stalls but his class shone like a star as he cruised past his inferior rivals to win by 10 lengths. By the time he had won his second race, a handicap at Sandown, he was favourite for the The Derby. The fact that he had won the race that trainer John Gosden has, in the past, looked at for other Derby contenders underlined his feeling about the horse.
For many people, they have suggested this is a sub-standard, they could also be in for a surprise.
Elm Park, another beaten in the Dante, is not without a chance and all of Ireland have been talking up the Dermot Weld trained Zawraq.
Weld has won 17 Classics but never the Epsom Derby and he does not hide his esteem for this unbeaten Colt and the bookies in fact make him the chief rival to Golden Horn.
We only have to wait until tomorrow to find out whether Aidan O'Brien will supplement Dual Guineas hero Gleneagles or whether Oaks fancy Found takes on the boys instead.
But my vote goes to Jack Frost to warm up the Classic picture
William Buick on |Golden Horn winning the Derby trial at York earlier this month