James Ferguson hoping Canberra Legend can live up to his potential at York
James Ferguson is excited to see whether Canberra Legend can book his Derby ticket in the Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Dante Stakes at York. After justifying odds-on favouritism on his racecourse debut at Newcastle in February, the Australia colt successfully stepped up to Listed class in last month's Feilden Stakes at Newmarket. The three-year-old is a 14-1 shot for the Betfred Derby at Epsom on June 3 with the sponsors and Ferguson is hopeful he can enhance his claims on the Knavesmire on Thursday. "He's a joy to train and like a lot of Australia's (progeny) he has a very good mind," the Newmarket handler said on Racing TV's Luck On Sunday programme. "For us, he's very exciting. He's done his final piece of work and hopefully, we can get there (York) in one piece and enjoy the day." Connections went to 350,000 guineas to purchase Canberra Legend as a yearling and Ferguson revealed it did not take him long to realise he could be a bit special.
He added: "It's no secret that Mr Ho (owner) spent a lot of money to buy this horse and I was very grateful he decided to send the horse to me. "We realised pretty soon when he came to the yard that he had a bit of presence about him. He was a big two-year-old and was never going to be a sharp, early type. "You have this horse in your yard and you hope to God that he's as good as you think he is. More often than not it doesn't go so well, but when he won at Newcastle it was a relief. "Stepping up from a novice to a Listed race is quite a big step, but I didn't want to fit in another novice with a penalty on the all-weather and we had confidence in the horse. "The Feilden Stakes is a proven race for good horses, it seemed a good option, we took our chance and thank God it went right." Having been pleased with his colt since his Newmarket triumph, Ferguson admits he will need to put up a big show at York if he is to head to Epsom. He said: "I've given him two pieces of work since, he's worked on the Limekilns and he's worked on the Al Bahathri (gallops). Michael Hills sat on him both times and having ridden well over a thousand winners, he knows what he's doing. "Being realistic, I think to go to Epsom, with the trials that we've seen so far, I'd like to see him run well (at York). "The most important thing is that he comes back safe and sound, we know we've got a good horse and whatever happens in the Dante he's won a very good trial in the Feilden. "I would like to see him win or place well to enable us to go to Epsom, if not we'll think about going to France (French Derby) or straight to Ascot."
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