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Johnston eyes third straight win in Sunday's Investec Derby "Wild Card" Conditions Race

Article 27th September 2019 Epsom Downs

The curtain comes down on another successful season at Epsom Downs this Sunday, September 29, with the action headlined by the £20,000 Investec Derby "Wild Card" Conditions Race (2.30pm).

Run over a mile and 113 yards, the two-year-old contest offers the winner an automatic entry into the £1.5 million Investec Derby at Epsom Downs on June 6, 2020 (if not already entered or a gelding).

Mark Johnston has captured the first two runnings of the Investec Derby "Wild Card" Conditions Race, most notably in 2017 with subsequent Investec Derby second Dee Ex Bee, and the Middleham handler bids for another victory with King's Caper (Joe Fanning).

A son of 2008 Derby victor New Approach, King's Caper shoulders a 5lb penalty thanks to his victory a mile conditions race at Chelmsford City on August 31, his third success on the bounce following wins over similar distances at Beverley and Ripon.

Charlie Johnston, assistant to his father Mark, said today: "King's Caper is in good form and Sunday's contest has been the plan for a while.

"He has progressed very nicely this term and we have been pleased with his last three victories.

"King's Caper looks the right type of horse for this race, as he has progressed with every run and is improving all the time.

"We are hopeful that the race will suit. He likes soft ground and the track hopefully shouldn't pose a problem.

"The form of his victories are probably not up to the level of a Royal Lodge, so we decided to target this race instead and that will give us an indication of his ability.

"We have won the race for the last couple of years and it would be nice to do so again."

Owner Hussain Alabbas Lootah is doubly represented by Grand Rock (William Haggas/James Doyle) and the filly Night Colours (Simon Crisford/Dane O'Neill), who both shed their maiden tags at the second attempt. Grand Rock appeared to relish the testing conditions when scoring over this distance at Hamilton Park on August 30, while Night Colours impressed in taking a mile novice race at Ffos Las on September 15.

All of the three runners in Sunday's contest are not currently entered in the 2020 Investec Derby.

Horses not entered for the 2020 Investec Derby can also gain a wildcard entry by winning the £50,000 Investec Derby Trial at the Investec Spring Meeting at Epsom Downs on Wednesday, April 22, 2020.

356 yearling entries were made for the 2020 Investec Derby in December, 2018 and there are two further opportunities available for horses to be entered - at the £9,000 second entry stage on April 7, 2020 and at the £85 ,000 supplementary entry stage on Monday, June 1, 2020.

Tickets for this Sunday, September 29, are free for under 18s and adult tickets can be purchased here.

The going at Epsom Downs is Soft, Good to Soft in places, with rain expected between now and Sunday.

The seven-race programme starts at 2.00pm and ends at 5.15pm.

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