Michael Bell's Raven Ridge could hit the heights
Last Updated: 15/04/14 4:52pm
Epsom is the aim for Raven Ridge and Warrior Of Light
Michael Bell is looking forward to seeing his Investec Derby entry Raven Ridge in action at Newmarket on Thursday.
The Newmarket-trained youngster was a second entry for the Investec Derby last week and will kick off his season in the newmarketracecourses.co.uk Handicap at the Craven Meeting.
The 10-furlong contest has been a good stepping stone for future Group One performers, with recent winners including 2012 Investec Derby runner-up Main Sequence, Wigmore Hall - also trained by Bell - and Papal Bull.
Raven Ridge is a son of 2002 Derby winner High Chaparral and, after shaping well in third on his debut at Doncaster's St Leger Festival in September, captured a mile Newcastle maiden by four lengths last October.
His owners Saleh Al Homaizi & Imad Al Sagar have already tasted Investec Derby success with the Peter Chapple-Hyam-trained Authorized in 2007, while Bell saddled Motivator to victory in 2005.
Bell reported: "It's a speculative entry in the Investec Derby for Raven Ridge, but the owners were keen to have the option. It's down to circumstance rather than anything else. He was bought at the breeze ups and therefore could not be entered as a yearling, so this was the earliest opportunity to put him in.
"He won very impressively in his maiden and, although he is in that bracket of a 'could be' horse, there are plenty of them.
"On what he has achieved at two, the entry is justified but it's a massive gulf between winning a maiden up north and the Derby. I like the horse and he looks well at the moment, but I'm not talking him up as a Derby horse.
"He is running at Newmarket later in the week, but that is always a hot race and how he gets on there will determine what route he goes."
Warrior Of Light was entered for the same contest but the three-year-old, who won a Kempton Park maiden in November, will skip the engagement, although David Lanigan retains high hopes for the son of High Chaparral.
Warrior Of Light holds an entry in the Investec Derby and is from the family of 2007 Investec Oaks heroine Light Shift and Group One winner Shiva.
Lanigan said: "We are treating Warrior Of Light as a potential Investec Derby horse. He is training very well at the moment, but we are yet to decide where we will start him off this season.
"There is nothing wrong with him, but we just want to take our time. He will tell us when he's ready and he won't go to Newmarket later this week.
"He has strengthened up well over the winter and is a very attractive looking horse.
"We expected him to win on his second start at Kempton. I did have the idea of putting him away after his first run, but he held on to his coat and looked well so we thought we would get him out again.
"On pedigree, he should get mile and a half, but ideally we would like to start him over a mile and a quarter and go from there."