Palmer to saddle first Investec Derby runner after colt excels in key warm-up

Hugo Palmer is set to have his first runner in next Saturday's Investec Derby after Emissary came through a key workout at Sandown on Friday morning.

The son of Kingman, a 50-1 chance with Paddy Power, is bred for the job as he is a half-brother to Workforce, who won the Epsom Classic for Sir Michael Stoute and Ryan Moore ten years ago.

Emissary won his sole juvenile start on the all-weather at Wolverhampton in October and made a decent reappearance when finishing a neck second to Khalifa Sat in the Listed Cocked Hat Stakes at Goodwood this month, with five lengths back to Celestran in third.

Although he may be a bit short on experience, Emissary has a similar profile to Workforce, who won a maiden at two and headed to Epsom after a reversal on his seasonal return in the Dante Stakes at York.

Palmer, a Classic-winning trainer in the 2,000 Guineas and Irish Oaks, said: "Emissary went to Sandown on Friday and pleased in a piece of work, so we're going to enter him for the Derby on Monday.

"He was second in a recognised trial when he was only just ready to start off and deserves to take his chance. We'll find out at Epsom how much improvement he has made since Goodwood but he's in good shape."

He added of the Khalid Abdullah-owned colt: "I don't know who'll ride him yet. There are a few on the list and hopefully we'll book someone early next week."

Newmarket-based hopefuls Military March and Highest Ground have been ruled out of the Derby in recent days and connections of possible entry Al Aasy have taken the same decision.

The son of Sea The Stars, a general 25-1 chance, was a ten-length winner of a 1m4f novice race at Newmarket last week.

Angus Gold, racing manager to owner Hamdan Al Maktoum, said: "I haven't spoken to William Haggas but Al Aasy won't be running in the Derby as it would be too much too soon for the horse. We'll look for something a bit smaller for him."

Investec Derby betting

bet365: 5-2 English King, 7-2 Kameko, 15-2 Russian Emperor, 9 Vatican City, 10 Mogul, 16 Highland Chief, Pyledriver, 20 bar