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.
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.