Who will win the 2002 Derby?

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  • Wet weather looks set to make life difficult for favourite Hawk Wind in the colts classic

    Hawk Wing has the stamp of a champion, but whether he can overcome the wet conditions in the Vodafone Derby at Epsom on Saturday is the burning question.

    There must be a doubt about the Aidan O’Brien-trained colt’s stamina, though had the rain stayed away and the ground remained good instead of soft he would be odds-on favourite.

    As it is, he is not value at 13-8 and Coshocton, winner of the Predominate Stakes at Goodwood, is an each way prospect at odds of 25-1.

    Hawk King, the mount of O’Brien’s stable jockey Mick Kinane, looked veryunlucky when unfavourably drawn and finishing like an express train to take second, beaten a neck by stable companion Rock Of Gibraltar in the 2000 Guineas. Rock Of Gibraltar has since franked the form in the Irish 2000 Guineas.

    Hawk Wing’s stable companion High Chaparral did not impress when winning his trial at Leopardstown, but will appreciate the rain-softened ground.

    The Mark Johnston-trained pair Bandari and Fight Your Corner, both supplemented into the race at £90,000 each, are relentless gallopers who will make a bold show. But it is Coshocton who could spring a big surprise for his trainer Michael Jarvis and jockey Philip Robinson.

    Coshocton led all the way to beatDubai Destination at Goodwood and has been nurtured to full maturity by Newmarket-based Jarvis, who as a stable lad led up the 1966 Derby winner Charlottown.

    Coshocton, who is by Silver Hawk, has been an exuberant handful on the gallops but 63-year-old Jarvis and his staff have worked rigorously at restraining him. “He now settles much better in front,” says the trainer.

    Robinson, the professionals’ thinking jockey, will have explored every conceivable imponderable and, waiting in front, may just lead them all a very merry Derby dance.

    Coshocton represents America in the race. John Phillips, of Darby Dan Stud has sent him across the Atlantic, with one mission in mind. Phillips’s grandfather John Galbreath won the 1972 Derby with Roberto. Phillips admits he bred Coshocton with the dream of winning the Derby. Very occasionally dreams do come true.

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