Third Realm was the 14-1 outsider of the field before the Lingfield Derby Trial here on Saturday, and a 100-1 shot to win the Derby itself next month, but Roger Varian’s colt is now as short as 8-1 for the Epsom Classic after a one-and-a-quarter length defeat of the favourite, Adayar, with the remaining four runners at least five lengths adrift.
David Egan’s mount, who stepped up on his debut form to win a minor race at Nottingham in April, was always travelling well and had the race wrapped up a furlong out after moving easily into the lead. Adayar, the runner-up in Sandown’s Classic Trial, closed in the final strides as Third Realm started to idle a little in front but never threatened to get seriously involved with the winner.
Varian saddled El Drama, in the same colours of Sheikh Mohammed Obaid, to win the Dee Stakes at Chester on Thursday and will send Royal Champion, another promising colt in the same ownership, to the Dante Stakes at York next week. For the moment, though, Third Realm very much looks like his leading candidate for Epsom on 5 June.
“We’ve got some lovely horses and the three-year-olds are showing themselves to be a nice bunch,” Varian said. “We thought we’d come here and run well, you never really know coming out of a novice into trial company, but I was very pleased when he won at Nottingham. He got a bit lost in the straight but if you watch him over the line, he’s taken off. If it was another 100 yards, he’d have won five lengths.
1.20 Byzantine Empire 1.50 Midnight Aurora (nb) 2.20 Miss Harriet 2.50 Sir Sholokhov 3.20 Percy's Word 3.50 Danse Idol 4.20 Rapid Flight 4.50 Colonial Empire
1.35 Zuba 2.08 Lawtop Legend 2.38 Bob Backus 3.08 Iconic Muddle (nap) 3.38 Salamanca School 4.08 Playa Blanca 4.38 Miss Antipova 5.08 Here Hare Here
“We’ll see how he is and I’ll speak to the owner, but he’s in the Derby, he’s won a recognised trial and he looks like he’s going to stay. He’s not a big horse, he’s neat and very well-balanced and athletic. He handled the track well here and I can see him handling Epsom, so I think he ticks a lot of the boxes.
“Whether he’s good enough or not, you won’t know until you try, but I think there’s a fair chance he’ll line up at Epsom.”