04/22/2009 12:00AM

Sandown has derby flavor


Friday's Group 3, $95,000 Sandown Classic Trial is the first major stepping-stone on the road to the Epsom Derby. The 1 1/4-mile test up the long, half-mile Sandown Park stretch has drawn six Derby possibles, three of whom have the potential to make an impact this season.

Taameer, a son of Beat Hollow trained by Marcus Tregoning for Hamdan al-Maktoum, won a maiden race first time out and a one-mile Newbury allowance in September, before finishing second to Kite Wood in the Group 3 Autumn Stakes at Ascot. Malibu Bay, a son of El Prado, will be saddled by Aidan O'Brien off his lone start on Oct. 8 when he took a one-mile maiden at Navan. Saptapadi was only second in a Polytrack maiden at Wolverhampton on Nov. 29 but has plenty of room for improvement under the care of Michael Stoute.

* At Epsom on Wednesday, John Gosden produced a Derby hopeful in Debussy. The nine-length winner of a Lingfield Polytrack maiden race in his seasonal debut on March 21, the Diesis colt was the 1 1/4-length winner of the Blue Riband Trial Stakes, a 1 1/4-mile conditions race. William Hill was unimpressed, however, quoting him at just 33-1 for the June 6 classic, for which J. Paul Reddam's Crowded House remains the 5-1 favorite.