Crossed Baton moved a step closer to an outing in the Investec Derby when continuing trainer John Gosden’s recent domination of the Investec Blue Riband Trial at Epsom.
Having teamed up with Frankie Dettori to win the last three renewals of the mile-and-a-quarter race, the Newmarket handler again combined to good effect with the Italian to take top honours in the recently-upgraded Listed prize.
Breaking smartly, the 11-4 shot made virtually all to defeat the prominently-ridden My Lord And Master by a head, with favourite Dee Ex Bee a further length and a quarter back in third.
Gosden said of his Dansili colt: “That (making the running) was not exactly the plan. The plan was to get a lead, but he jumped and no one wanted a lead, so he did his own thing.
“He handled everything well. He got a little unbalanced during the last part and slightly changed legs, but that’s the camber and he did it well. The second’s form is rock solid.
“We will see how he is. It is great he has handled the track well and won. Obviously there is the Derby, but it is a step at a time at this time of year.
“It’s wonderful to win a Listed race here at Epsom. He handled the track, so it gives us that option and he is in the Derby already so he didn’t need the ‘win and you’re in’.”
He added: “I’m thrilled with the horse. I think he showed the benefit of a having a previous race.
“His best ground would be good to firm. He is a big boy by Dansili, but he hasn’t got the biggest feet and he just flows over faster ground – this for him was slow enough, but he handled it.
“If we have a hot summer he might be back here.”
As for Dettori, he believes the Khalid Abdullah-owned runner – who was cut from 33-1 to 20-1 for the June 2 Classic with Betway – still has plenty more to offer.
He said: “He did it well, but he is still learning. He got a little bit unbalanced on the track at the end, but it was nice.
“To be honest, I expected there to be more pace. I jumped to get in the box seat, but nobody took it off me so I made my fractions.
“I had to really grab him at the end, as I could hear the other one coming. He got a little bit unbalanced and it gave the other one a chance to have a last go at me, but luckily for me the line was there.”
Royal Line completed a quickfire double for Gosden when carrying the original maroon and white silks of Sheikh Mohammed to victory in the Investec Corporate Banking Great Metropolitan Handicap.
The famous colours are now run in the name of HH Sheikha Al Jalila Racing and the four-year-old colt turned in a much-improved performance to take the mile and half prize by two and three-quarter lengths.
Gosden said of the 5-1 winner: “He does nothing at home, so I thought I better get a run in at Doncaster. He has been busy enough since and he did that well and handled that well.
“We will just hope to stay in that level, I have no pretensions of roaring up to Group Threes or anything like that. I’m thrilled he fitted this race, as it is a great old race.”