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Sir Percy Derby Rated Worst In Decade

Wednesday, 7th June 2006

Sir Percy's victory in last weekend's Gr1 English Derby was "the worst for a decade" according to UK Racing Post handicapper Paul Curtis, though the colt "is confidently expected to improve on the bare form". Sir Percy rated 121 (in just beating Dragon Dancer & Dylan Thomas), the lowest winning mark since Shaamit in 1996 & "just 1lb higher than his effort when Sir Percy finished 2nd (at his previous start) in the UK Gr1 2000 Guineas". However Curtis noted: "I don't think that will be the limit of his ability. He came from further back than some of the others & I think he will be better than that. The Derby is rarely the summit of a winner's ability: Shaamit went on to run to 126 behind Pentire in the Gr1 King George & I can easily see Sir Percy doing something similar." Curtis admitted the Derby "was a difficult race to assess" (with just a head & 2 short-heads separating the 1st 4 horses) & added: "There are too many doubts about the Derby to rate it a vintage renewal. There were a few hard-luck stories, with horses running into the back of each other, & the slow pace meant it did not become the test you would like to see: the 2nd & 3rd were always up there & it did not stretch them out in a way you need for a good figure." Close 2nd Dragon Dancer also rated 121 (up 17lb on his effort when 2nd in the Chester Vase) & 3rd-placed Dylan Thomas improved 6lb; beaten favourite Visindar was "judged to have matched the pick of his French form, running to 117 in 5th place". Other recent Derby-winner Racing Post ratings were: 2005 Motivator 129; 2004 North Light 124; 2003 Kris Kin 123; 2002 High Chaparral 130; 2001 Galileo 127; 2000 Sinndar 127; 1999 Oath 124; 1998 High-Rise 123; 1997 Benny The Dip 123; & 1996 Shaamit 121.

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