Kentucky Derby (G1) hopeful NOBLE'S PROMISE (Cuvee) has been supplemented to the English Derby (Eng-G1) at Epsom Downs, it was announced Thursday. The historic test, held at about 1 1/2 miles on turf, is scheduled for June 5. It cost £8,000 to make the Ken McPeek pupil eligible for the English classic at the second entry stage.
Noble's Promise, who was just caught by Lookin at Lucky (Smart Strike) in the Rebel S. (G2) last time out, is a top contender in Saturday's Arkansas Derby (G1) at Oaklawn Park.
"It depends how Noble’s Promise gets on in his next couple of starts whether we decide to come over to the UK, but we wanted the option of running him in the Investec Derby," McPeek said in a release picked up by Britain's PA Sport. "He is set to run in the Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park on Saturday, and we are aiming him at the Kentucky Derby after that."
McPeek, who sent out Hard Buck (Brz) to a second-place finish in the 2004 King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Diamond S. (Eng-G1) at Ascot, recalled his visit to Epsom during that trip.
"I walked the course at Epsom when Hard Buck came over to England in 2004, and I think that this horse will like the course," McPeek said of Noble's Promise.
"There is a slight question of whether he will get the mile and a half, but I know that he will handle the sharp turns and he won his maiden on turf (in a 5 1/2-furlong sprint at Ellis Park last September).
"He has a high cruising speed, and I think that you need a colt who travels handy to win a race like the Investec Derby, rather than a galloping type.
"I was really pleased with his run in the Rebel S. and he probably went into that race at about 90% -- we felt that it would be a good start for the season. I expect him to improve for that outing, and he is doing well at the moment.
"If he were to skip the Preakness ([G1] on May 15), then I would be more inclined to run him at Epsom," McPeek added. "He is by far the best of my three-year-olds and he ran well against Vale of York (Ire) (Invincible Spirit) at the Breeders’ Cup, so we have a fair idea of where he stands in relation to the good European colts."
Noble's Promise was beaten a half-length by Vale of York when third in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1). Previously successful in the Breeders' Futurity (G1) at Keeneland and the Fitz Dixon Jr. Memorial Juvenile S. at Presque Isle, Noble's Promise concluded 2009 with a runner-up effort to Lookin at Lucky in the CashCall Futurity (G1) at Hollywood Park.