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Waipiro set for drop in trip

Ed Walker trainer of WaipiroEd Walker trainer of Waipiro
© Photo Healy Racing

Waipiro will drop back in trip for the Hampton Court at Royal Ascot, as trainer Ed Walker felt he did not see out the Betfred Derby trip.

Runner-up to Military Order in the Lingfield Derby Trial, Waipiro was sent off a 25/1 chance in the premier Classic at Epsom, where he did not help his chance at the start.

Tom Marquand's mount made up plenty of ground and was in contention with two furlongs to race, before his run petered out, eventually finishing sixth, some 10 and a half lengths behind the impressive Auguste Rodin.

Walker was making no excuses, however. He said: "It was a good run. I don’t think had he probably jumped better, he would have finished too much closer.

"I don’t think he truly stayed. I wasn’t convinced at Lingfield and I wasn't convinced again at Epsom.

"His last furlong was weak and at Lingfield that was the same. He came to Military Order and eyeballed him, and looked like he was going to beat him, then just in the last 100 yards, he didn’t quite see it out.

"I hoped it was just immaturity and inexperience at Lingfield, but I think Epsom reiterated he didn't see it out.

"If he truly stayed, he would have gone with White Birch (third) and I think him and The Foxes didn't stay, didn't go with White Birch, who stayed extremely well."

The Group Three Hampton Court Stakes over 10 furlongs on June 22nd is now on the cards for the son of Australia.

Walker confirmed: "I think we will go back to 10 furlongs. He came out of it well and the Hampton Court is the plan. I hope the race doesn’t come too soon, but that’s the plan. The quicker the ground the better for him, really."

Plans thereafter remain fluid, although the Lambourn handler believes the colt’s future could lie in the Far East.

"Obviously the Siu family, who own him, have lots of horses in training in Hong Kong," added Walker.

"His half-brother which they owned, Waikuku, was a Group One winner in Hong Kong, having finished runner-up in the (Hong Kong) Derby in 2019, and if he’s not looking like competing at the highest level here in the UK, I think there is a good chance they will understandably take him to Hong Kong.

"It's kind of my job description for them to identify horses for them and qualify horses for Hong Kong. If he can't be winning the best races in the UK, then he'll probably win a lot more money in Hong Kong than he will here.

"There’s a chance he will get his head back in front, (and) he’ll stay here. We’ll see what happens at Ascot and go from there."