Veteran trainer David Elsworth has a genuine Classic contender on his hands after Dandhu prevailed in a blanket finish for the Dubai Duty Free Stakes at Newbury.
Second in the Rockfel Stakes when last seen, the Dandy Man filly was weak in the betting and drifted out to 8-1 in the race better known as the Fred Darling.
She was brought with her run between Aidan O’Brien’s So Perfect and Richard Hannon’s Star Terms and looked set to run out a cosy winner.
That was until Tom Dascombe’s Iconic Choice, a prolific winner at two, came charging up the rail – and the pair flashed across the line together.
Dandhu got the verdict by a short head to give Gerald Mosse a quick Group race double after his earlier win on Marmelo.
So Perfect just beat Star Terms for third.
Elsworth, confirming the plan to head to Newmarket next, made clear he expects the winner to improve significantly from her comeback run.
“I thought she would need it, and she will probably benefit from it, but she looks pretty fit,” he said.
“I’ve not really given her a hard preparation.
“I was just saying that we have had her up all winter, and she has been cantering and so on. Spring is coming round, and I’m thinking we’ve got to get her to do a bit and gallop her.
“She looked fit, and I gave her one bit of work last week on the July Course courtesy of Michael Prosser. We whizzed down there and she worked a million dollars – and I thought maybe we are all right.”
Elsworth also had praise for Mosse.
“He is a good man, and he put her to sleep,” he said.
“He may be French – but we speak the same language about horses.”
Elsworth explained the reason for choosing Newbury over Newmarket next week for Dandhu’s return, having finished runner-up to Just Wonderful in last season’s Rockfel.
“It is an undulating course at the Rowley Mile, and she was still a progressive filly, and I didn’t want her to get unbalanced and make too much use of her.
“She was only going to improve, with a bit of luck, and we will have to see if we can beat her next time
“I’m worried about the ground, and that is why I ran her here and not there. It is an undulating course, that mile.
“Of course, we will go (back there) if we can – but it is a long season.”