VIDEO: Observational takes Goodwood showpiece - but is Derby a step too far?

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OBSERVATIONAL battled to win a close Cocked Hat Stakes at Goodwood’s May Festival - but may not quite have the quality to get among the honours in the Derby.

The £40,000 feature race on the second day of the Goodwood festival is regarded as a Derby trial and plenty have won this race then tried their luck in the big one at Epsom a couple of weeks later.

Richard Hughes was in flying form on day two of Goodwood's May Festival

Richard Hughes was in flying form on day two of Goodwood's May Festival

Trainer Roger Charlton saluted the three-year-old’s ‘tough’ and ‘brave’ performance to beat off three close challengers but expressed doubts he had shown the quality needed for a proper shot at winning the Derby.

“You need a serious horse to win the Derby,” Charlton said. “It’s no fun coming fifth, sixth of seventh.”

Charlton will discuss the June 7 showpiece with the owners and admitted a Derby entry was something to savour for connections if it were deemed worthwhile. “I thought he did well and we’ll see what the owner wants to do.”

Observational, a Galileo colt, is rated around 66/1 for the Derby – although Coral have quoted 50/1.

It was a thrilling finish to the Casco Cocked Hat contest with little to separate four of the five runners in the closing stages.

James Doyle got Observational - the only one in the race with a Derby entry - up by a neck from his fellow 2/1 joint favourite, John Gosden’s Marzocco, itself just a half a length in front of Andrew Balding’s runner Signposted and David Probert. And Richard Hughes - looking for his third win of the afternoon - wasn’t far behind on Richard Hannon’s Barley Mow.

Snow Trouble, trained by Marcus Tregonning, was a little off the pace in fifth.

We’ll have full coverage from the festival in the Chichester Observer on Thursday.

STEVE BONE