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Late Classic clues in Cocked Hat

Mon, 21 May 2012

A final piece of the Investec Derby puzzle could fall into place at Goodwood on Friday, with Classic entries Perennial and Cavaleiro among the potential starters in the Casco Cocked Hat Stakes.

Both would be outsiders if they were to show up at Epsom just eight days later but the Listed race has produced some smart winners since being introduced in 2007, such as Prince of Wales's Stakes winner Rewilding and last year's St Leger hero Masked Marvel.

Perennial made a winning debut at Doncaster in September and ended his juvenile campaign by filling the runner-up spot in the Autumn Stakes at Newmarket. He returned to action in the Feilden Stakes, but could only finish sixth behind Stipulate.

Trainer Charlie Hills said: "Perennial is a likely runner at Goodwood on Friday. We have been happy with him since Newmarket, when he didn't run his race. He was too keen in the Feilden Stakes and the ground was a little bit loose on top, so it wasn't his true running.

"We gave him a bit of time after that and he worked nicely last week. The form of last year's Autumn Stakes looks pretty solid and the step up to a mile and three furlongs will suit him well. He has been left in the Derby at the moment and would obviously have to win impressively to be considered for Epsom, but we wanted to keep our options open."

Marcus Tregoning's Cavaleiro, who won a Newbury conditions race last September, made a pleasing seasonal return when coming home third in the Lingfield Derby Trial.

The trainer said: "Cavaleiro might head to Goodwood, although he also has the option of going to Epsom for the Derby. He will work tomorrow (Tuesday) morning before we make a decision and he won't run in both races.

"I thought that he ran really, really well at Lingfield as he was possibly a little short of work going into the race. He has come out of that run really well and I think that he will come on a ton. He certainly looks in good form and my horses are running very well at the moment."

Among the seven possible runners are Andrew Balding's Expense Claim, who won Saturday's London Gold Cup at Newbury, while the William Haggas-trained Stencive and the John Gosden pair of Jungle Beat and Michelangelo have fancy entries later in the season.

Clerk of the course Seamus Buckley said: "The course is drying out and is currently good, with good to soft in one or two places. The weather is set fair and I anticipate the we will start the May Festival on some very nice ground."