Sir Henry Cecil has spoken optimistically about the long-term prospects for his maiden Noble Mission, a full brother to the mighty Frankel, still under consideration for a crack at the Investec Epsom Derby in June if he can make good progress in his early outings this spring, writes Elliot Slater.
Noble Mission has an awful lot to live up to and however well he does this season it will almost certainly fall short of the gold standard set by his four-year-old brother who is unbeaten in nine career starts and is ranked the best horse in the world by some way. Cecil is treating the Galileo colt as an individual, and whilst making no promises appears confident that he will do well this term having been restricted to just one outing as a juvenile as a result of suffering from sore shins earlier in the campaign.
It was in late-October that Noble Mission finally made his eagerly awaited racecourse debut at Yarmouth on soft ground, where he was patiently ridden by Tom Queally at the back of the 15-runner field before making his move through the pack over two furlongs from home. Although he kept on well under a considerate ride, the Prince Khaled Abdullah-owned colt was never going to catch the impressive winner Swedish Sailor, (currently a 25/1 chance for the Derby on Betfair), but did enough in finishing runner-up to suggest there would be better to come over more of a trip in his three-year-old campaign.
Cecil has suggested he will seek to return Noble Mission to racecourse duty at Newmarket’s Craven meeting this month, after which (if all goes well), he will look for a conditions race before deciding whether or not to let Frankel’s brother take his chance in the Derby itself, a race for which he has generous Epsom Derby betting odds of 40/1 in the ante-post market for the blue riband contest.