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Next stop the Derby for Trial winner Bellum Justum

Next stop the Derby for Trial winner Bellum Justum
Next stop the Derby for Trial winner Bellum Justum

Andrew Balding’s Bellum Justum will head straight to the Betfred Derby after his Blue Riband Trial triumph at Epsom.

The Sea The Stars colt ran four times as a juvenile, ending his season on a high note when winning a Newmarket maiden over a mile in late September.

He returned to action at Epsom earlier in the week, contesting the Listed Blue Riband Trial over a mile and two furlongs in a field of six.

Aidan O’Brien’s Chief Little Rock was the 4-5 favourite based on his Group form from last season, with Balding’s runner a 9-1 shot under stable jockey Oisin Murphy.

The bay was ridden prominently and took up the lead from the Irish raider over a furlong from home, before prevailing by three-quarters of a length, with Roger Varian’s Defiance staying on for second and Chief Little Rock a further neck behind him in third place.

Bellum Justum winning the Blue Riband Tria
Bellum Justum (left) winning the Blue Riband Trial (John Walton/PA)

Bellum Justum’s success has persuaded connections to head straight to the Derby on June 1, with the colt now having proved that he can handle the unique track at Epsom.

“We were delighted with his win in the Blue Riband Trial at Epsom and the plan now is to go straight for the Derby,” the trainer said in a stable tour on attheraces.com.

“We know he handles the track, I’m pretty sure he will stay, and he is certainly in the mix for the places.

“He has ticked a lot of boxes, so we don’t see the point in running him again before the Derby.”

Balding also has big plans for sprinter Purosangue, another horse moving into his three-year-old season this year.

Purosangue (left) in the Molecomb Stakes at Goodwood
Purosangue (left) in the Molecomb Stakes at Goodwood (Andrew Matthews/PA)

The son of Aclaim was a reliable performer last term, winning on debut before collecting a string of second places in the Molecomb Stakes, Julia Graves Roses Stakes and the Harry Rosebery.

He finished the season with a well-deserved win in the Rockingham at York and the form from that run has since worked out incredibly well, as it now transpires he beat the Greenham winner in Esquire.

The value of his prior near misses is also unimpeachable, with the horses who finished in front of him including Breeders’ Cup hero Big Evs and Cornwallis winner Inquisitively.

Balding has the Commonwealth Cup in mind for Purosangue and is hoping to head there via the trial at Ascot next week or the Duke Of York Stakes the following week.

“He was a very smart sprinter last year and his form is rock solid,” the trainer said.

“His work has been good this year and it looks like he has trained on grand.

“He will either go to Ascot next Wednesday or to the Duke Of York, and we very much hope he is going to develop into a Commonwealth Cup horse.”

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