Aidan O’Brien appears to have the Investec Derby very much at his mercy, with the favourite in the horse racing tips, Camelot, likely to prove a very tough nut to crack.
The Qipco 2000 Guineas winner may be joined in the line-up for the Epsom classic by a number of other Ballydoyle colts, amongst whom, Imperial Monarch is also unbeaten, but has yet to race on anything other than very easy ground, writes Elliot Slater.
Just because he has proven himself on both soft and heavy ground in his two outings to date does not indicate that Imperial Monarch will not be effective on a decent surface.
It might very well prove to be the case that the son of Galileo, a half-brother to the 2003 Epsom Derby runner-up, The Great Gatsby, won when the mud was flying, despite being better suited to top of the ground.
A top priced 16/1 to score in the blue riband event of British racing, on June 2, O’Brien’s three-year-old had just one outing as a juvenile, when easily accounting for 18 rivals in a mile maiden at the Curragh, in September.
He was not seen again until last month, when he crossed the Irish Sea to bid for the Group 3 Bet365 Classic Trial at Sandown, a race run on particularly testing ground.
Given a canny ride by the young Joseph O’Brien, Imperial Monarch was switched to race on the outside rail for much of the trip, in search of the best ground.
He appeared to be struggling, half a mile from home, before picking up in taking fashion under the stands rail to beat recent Newmarket listed winner, Thought Worthy, by nearly two-lengths.
With the form of that race having been nicely franked, and reports suggesting that he has been working well of late, Imperial Monarch is by no means without hope, and could represent a decent each-way bet at the latest Epsom Derby odds.