Take the tip from Lester
LESTER Piggott, the daddy of them all, can write another chapter in the annals of British racing history by taking today's English Derby on the appropriately named Fatherland.
The greatest event in Flat racing is simulcast live from Epsom tonight and bet on as the seventh event on Happy Valley's grass programme.
Favourite Tenby will be very hard to beat but he will almost certainly be at short odds.
It may be better value to back Fatherland to win, save on Tenby - providing he is not a ridiculously short price on the Hongkong tote - and take the Fatherland-Tenby quinella.
Piggott has been keen on Fatherland, a son of boom sire Saddler's Wells, since scoring on him in Group One company at the Curragh as a two-year-old.
When the maestro was out here on an international licence in February and March, he said: ''Henry (Cecil) has a great team for the Derby. Tenby is likely to be there with a good favourite's chance. He has Armiger, the soft-ground horse and they say he has one at home who hasn't raced yet but goes just as well (Crown Commander).
''But my horse is very genuine. There's nothing wrong with him at all. When we sent him to Newmarket for the Dewhurst he was a bit inexperienced coming into the Dip.
''He will have learned from that and could make up into a Derby horse. He's just the right type - I only hope he's good enough.'' Fatherland's form gives plenty of cause for encouragement.
The bay colt needed his first run of the season when reappearing at Leopardstown in mid April to run second of six to Massyar in a listed event over 1,400 metres.
He then stepped up considerably on that performance to just fail to catch one of today's other main rivals, Sheik Mohammed's Barathea, in the Irish 2,000 Guineas.
Fatherland was asked to make up significant ground in the last 400 metres of that slowly-run race.
From the point of view of the Derby, his effort was most encouraging.
Firstly, it is always hard to come from off the pace in a slowly-run affair.
Secondly, Fatherland showed that he can be switched off, settled, and come with a late run.
Thirdly, his run in the Irish 2,000 Guineas does represent Classic form.
Tenby comes into the Derby with outstanding form. He stamped himself as a worthy Derby contender when beating Blush Rambler by 21/2 lengths at Longchamp in his final start as a two-year-old.
At his first run as a three-year-old, he won by half a length from Planetary Aspect who was receiving eight pounds. At level weights he went on to beat the same horse by three lengths in York's Dante Stakes.
The win confirmed Tenby as a genuine favourite but it also suggests that he has not improved any more than Planetary Aspect.
When Shergar started 11-10-on for his 1981 Derby rout he had won his trials by 10 and 12 lengths.
Tenby has not won with such authority which is why it may be best to treat him warily as a win bet.
The best outsider may be Jim Bolger's Desert Team. He is one of the best looking horses you could hope to see.
Should the ground come up soft and Khalid Abdullah decide to run Armiger then his chance must be respected.
If Barathea stays, he must also be a huge threat.
But being out of 1,400-metre specialist Brocade, there has to be a big stamina doubt hanging over the Irish 2,000 Guineas winner.
Commander In Chief does not appeal on his bare form though they say he works like a champion and has the considerable advantage of Mick Kinane in the saddle.