By Sue Montgomery Racing Correspondent
The Independent on Sunday (London, England)
Sometimes it can pay to rate the obvious. Authorized, the favourite for the 228th Derby on Saturday, is not only the best horse in the race as far as the form-book is concerned, but also provides the best storylines. For his trainer, Peter Chapple-Hyam, it is second time around; 15 years ago he went to Epsom under markedly different circumstances and won. For his jockey, Frankie Dettori, it may be first time, easily his best chance of breaking his duck in the world's most famous race.
Chapple-Hyam's first Derby win was courtesy of Dr Devious, in the days when he held the reins on the late Robert Sangster's palatial Manton estate. Since then it has been more the combined output of the Amazon basin and Niagara Falls that has passed under the bridge rather than mere water.
The 44-year-old has experienced a sacking, professional disappointment in foreign parts, and a divorce. But success in races such as the 2,000 Guineas, Irish 2,000 Guineas, Champion Stakes, Irish Champion Stakes, York International, Dewhurst Stakes, Prix du Cadran and Prix de l'Abbaye, as well as that Derby, are not the record of an incompetent.
Back in Britain for the 2004 season after his low-key stint in Hong Kong, Chapple-Hyam has been born again. This time round he started with cheap horses and quickly converted any doubters when he instantly upgraded the plater African Dream to win two Classic trials and won Group races with Captain Hurricane and Montgomery's Arch, picked up for around 20,000 guineas each, back-pocket change in the bloodstock world, at auction.
But an even cheaper one, by name Tawaaf, was to prove the catalyst. As a yearling the horse had failed to raise even the minimum bid of 1,000 guineas at the Newmarket sales and the frustrated vendors, Kuwaiti businessmen Saleh Al Homaizi and Imad Al Sagar, asked Chapple-Hyam to take on the unprepossessing youngster.
They were suitably impressed when the trainer managed to extract a win from the awful beast, even if it was a tiny contest at Wolverhampton. The reward was six more yearlings the following autumn; and what a reward. The new intake included Hamoody and Authorized, respectively winners last year of the Richmond Stakes and the Racing Post Trophy.
By taking the last-named contest on only the second run of his career, Authorized put himself bang in the Classic reckoning. His 25- 1 victory was a surprise to most, but not to his immediate connections, who were perfectly aware of the angel they were entertaining. A maiden race might have been the percentage call as a step up the ladder, but Chapple-Hyam and Dettori, who had ridden the son of Montjeu at home, were confident that the leap into Group One company would be justified.
Authorized by no means came from the bargain basement, having cost 400,000 guineas as a yearling. …