Lambourn trainer Ed Walker is still seeking his first Group 1 winner since taking out a licence. However, Luca Cumani's former assistant may not have to wait too much longer judged on English King's stylish victory in the Lingfield Derby Trial on Friday. A colt by Camelot, he had created a favourable impression when winning at Newcastle last backend and confirmed that view with his two and three quarters of a length victory here. Slowly away, he was given time to find his feet under the man of the moment Tom Marquand. Creeping into contention running downhill, he was still on bridle when challenging Berkshire Rocco. Nudged clear, he booked his place in next month's Epsom Derby and looks a leading contender on this evidence. On thing he can't afford to repeat at Epsom though is the slow start.
Imperium (3/1) provided the Handicap Snips section of AOTF with a winner later the same afternoon at the same venue. Roger Charlton's lightly raced four year old was forced to dig deep to get the better of longtime leader Natty Night prevailing by a head. Turning for home, the big strapping son of Frankel looked set for a comfortable win but the gutsy runner-up wouldn't lie down with the pair pulling nearly four lengths clear of the third. A progressive type, the handicapper can't be too hard on him for his narrow win and he looks the type to keep one step ahead of the assessor. The fact he stays further is a bonus, too, because it gives his shrewd handler more options.
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It promises to be a superb weekend's action with the 1000 and 2000 Guineas at Newmarket, plus an excellent card at Haydock on Sunday. The Top 40 Prospects, which features the aforementioned English King, is due to have four runners on Saturday, namely those on pages 9, 17, 37 and 46.
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