Trainer Ed Walker is over the moon with his leading Epsom Derby hopeful English King after the favourite for the Classic contests underwent his first spin under Frankie Dettori on Wednesday morning.
The three year old bounced onto the racing scene back in October finishing a modest seventh in a novice contest at Newmarket but since that run which seemed to kick him into gear, he has been unstoppable.
He broke his maiden tag at Newmarket, which has been the home of unleashing smart horses in the past and off the back of that win he started his 2020 campaign off even better with a decisive win at Lingfield in the Listed Derby Trial.
The son of Camelot was ridden by Tom Marquand that day and it was thought the up and coming rider would get the ride in the Group One at Epsom but with Frankie Dettori with no other ride he was taken off English King and the Italian will now sit on the favourite.
(Credit At The Races) Walker said: “Today is 9 days out from the Derby, which is always when I would do my last proper piece of work with a horse, and he worked very well. Frankie came in and had a sit on him, and everything went smoothly. He came out of it good and seems in good shape.
“Frankie came down last night and had dinner with Bjorn and me, which was fun. We spoke about Stradivarius for about three hours – and English King for about five minutes!
“You know what Frankie is like – he’s quite a calming influence. It’s great to have him onside – he’s got such a wealth of experience and he loved the horse.
“I wasn’t really nervous about this piece of work, because he’s not a horse that you need or expect to see blasting clear of his lead horse in Frankel-Bullet Train style. I was lucky enough to see that horse work a number of times and I always feared that if that’s what it took to have a Group One horse, I probably never would have one!
“This guy only does what he has to do, and the thing I was most nervous about, with Frankie coming down, was he might not impress Frankie, but he loved the horse.“Frankie rode him from his stable and back to his stable – he really wanted to get inside the horse’s head and understand him, which is a mark of Frankie’s professionalism. He rode him for well over an hour, and they got on great.
“His feedback was kind of as I expected – he loves the way he moves, he’s an exceptionally athletic horse and he loved his personality. He’s a playful horse who switches off and conserves energy. He is very straightforward, but has that Montjeu twinkle in his eye.
“He’ll have another piece of work early next week, all being well. Then it’s just a case of freshening him up and get him feeling as well as he possibly can for the big day.”