Aidan O’Brien’s hand in next month’s Investec Derby was strengthened even further after Anthony Van Dyck put his rivals in their place in the RaceBets Derby Trial Stakes at Lingfield.
Having won Wednesday’s Chester Vase with Sir Dragonet and the Dee Stakes at the Cheshire track 24 hours later with Circus Maximus, the Ballydoyle handler celebrated another Classic trial triumph after the son of Galileo returned to winning ways in the Listed prize.
Out of luck at the top table on his final three starts last season, the dual Group race winner took a drop down in class in his stride when appearing to enjoy every yard of the extended one-mile-three-furlong trip in mastering Pablo Escobarr by two and a quarter lengths.
Following the race, the Ryan Moore-ridden winner was cut from 12-1 into 8-1 for the Investec Derby by RaceBets, while Betway went 6-1 for the same race.
Paul Smith, son of joint-owner Derrick Smith, said: “Aidan has got them in great form and they are running very well.
“Ryan was delighted with him there and said he gave him a nice feel. He is a classy horse, as you know from his juvenile days. He travelled well and he gave him a lovely feel. He will come on for the run and we are delighted with him.
“There were a few ones in there and we hadn’t run since Churchill Downs last year, so no doubt he will come on nicely. He is a classy horse. He would be up in the pecking order.”
As for Moore, he believes there is plenty more to come from Anthony Van Dyck going forward.
He added: “I was very happy with him, he was very smooth and he travelled beautifully the whole way round. He took me there very comfortably.
“Like Aidan said, he would probably need the run today and, for me, he had a little bit of the blow at the two, but once I grabbed hold of him, he got done what he had to do. He is a nice horse to have and will definitely improve for the run.”
A trip to Epsom may be on the agenda for the winner, but plans remain fluid for the runner-up according to his trainer William Haggas.
He said: “I thought he ran a good race. Very solid, very genuine. The winner was better. He ran a good race at Bath. He is a good galloping horse and he run a solid race against a good winner.
“We will have a word and see what they think going forward.”