A man who always relishes the big occasion, top-class Irish jockey Pat Smullen has had his services called upon by trainers John Gosden and Roger Charlton for the Investec Derby and Oaks respectively which take place this weekend.
Smullen, who tasted success in the Epsom Derby last year aboard the Dermot Weld-trained and Aga Khan-owned Harzand, will partner Gosden’s Khalidi in this year’s renewal of the 12-furlong Grade One Epsom Classic.
Winner of the Listed Cocked Hat Stakes at Goodwood in a course record time earlier this month, Gosden’s charge put the race to bed stylishly that day to come well clear of his rivals and he is a general 20/1 shot for Saturday’s race. He was added to the Derby entries on Monday for £85,000 and could make up a quintet of runners for the Newmarket handler.
Smullen will also ride Roger Charlton’s Natavia who scored in taking fashion at Newbury last time in the Investec Oaks for which she is a general 10/1 shot. The Oaks will be just the third start of her career but she was very impressive when dispatching some decent rivals under Ryan Moore earlier this month.
Commenting on his Derby ride, the Irish rider said:
It looks an open year and worth taking a shot. It’s about whatever steps up on the day. It will be a big field and a hassle-free run through the race will be a big help.