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Wirko leaves it late in Listed Blue Riband Trial


Wirko gained a wildcard entry for this year’s Derby when getting up near the line in the 10-furlong Listed Blue Riband Trial at Epsom Downs, UK, on Tuesday, 20 April.

The Charlie Appleby-trained colt, a decisive winner of a Kempton Park novice race in November, was half a stride slow leaving the stalls but soon recovered to race in fourth on the inside rail.

Wirko stayed on strongly after being switched out by William Buick a furlong and a half from home, hitting the front in the final strides to beat Technique by a head.

William Buick said: “Wirko was always going to improve for today and we all know how challenging Epsom can be this early in a three-year-old’s career. I was pleased with how he handled it – the race was run at a solid pace and it was a bit of a test.

“He came round Tattenham Corner very well and handled the camber. I always felt that I was getting there. It was tight in the end but Wirko was always doing everything right for me and responded very well.

“He is a very likeable horse, who is going to stay, and has learned a lot today as well. It’s obviously early days and I presume the team will talk it over, whether they take one more step before they consider sending him back here in June.

“With the way he is bred and everything he has done so far in his career, especially after today’s performance, he would have to be under strong consideration for the Derby.”