sport

Ridge out to peak at HQ

Michael Bell is looking forward to seeing how Raven Ridge fares upon his return to action at Newmarket on Thursday.

The son of 2002 Derby hero High Chaparral opened his account in impressive fashion at Newcastle in October following an encouraging debut third at Doncaster a month earlier.

Bell is, however, keen to put any talk of a Derby bid on hold until he sees how Raven Ridge gets on in the newmarketracecourses.co.uk Handicap.

"It's a speculative entry in the Investec Derby for Raven Ridge, but the owners were keen to have the option," said the Newmarket trainer.

"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, but that is always a hot race and how he gets on there will determine what route he goes."

Raven Ridge is one of 10 runners declared for the mile-and-a-quarter contest, with Luca Cumani's hat-trick-seeking Volume and the John Gosden-trained Cloudscape other interesting participants.