Frankie Dettori produced a masterful ride on Dubai Warrior to run out a convincing winner of the Betway Winter Derby at Lingfield.
Dettori made one of his rare visits to the domestic all-weather scene this winter – and treated racegoers to one of his hallmark front-running displays.
As soon as Dubai Warrior broke smartly out of the stalls, the popular Italian was able to grab the lead and dictated proceedings throughout the mile and a quarter.
He slowed things down mid-race and then quickened the tempo over two furlongs out, just before the home turn.
Dubai Warrior (13-8) produced a neat turn of foot to put more daylight between himself and his rivals to cross the line two and three-quarter lengths ahead of his stablemate Court House.
Bangkok, the 8-13 favourite, was third having been unable to reproduce his record-breaking win over the course and distance three weeks ago.
Riding in Britian for the first time this year, Dettori was in flying dismount form afterwards and said: “I tried not to burn too much petrol at the beginning. I was looking for Silvestre (de Sousa, on Bangkok) but I could feel some daylight and I knew then he would finish the race very strong, so it’s good.
“He’s got such a big body and he’s taken time to get it all together, but he’s getting better and I suspect he’ll come back here on Good Friday (Easter Classic). It’s the obvious choice.”
Winning trainer John Gosden said: “I think he is a horse who wouldn’t want soft or loose ground. He has a huge stride and likes to put his foot down. He is a Dansili and that is a trait of them, so he is a horse who likes this surface and likes good to firm ground, but if it rains you won’t see him running.
“He is a different type of horse to Wissahickon (winner last year), he just had that burst, but this boy can gallop them into the ground if he wants to, and on the other hand, if there is a good gallop, he can sit off them as he did here in December.”
As for Dettori’s ride, Gosden said: “The horse broke well and he had a perfect rhythm, and he nicked five lengths when they were all messing about and they had to use a bit of petrol to get to him and then he kicks again.
“He’s a clever old boy. Leave him alone, he’s good. Don’t complicate him with instructions!”
Of Bangkok, trainer Andrew Balding said: “He was a little bit keen, but there are no real excuses. Frankie has ridden a very good race and we couldn’t catch him.
“I think we will come back here at Easter rather than go to Dubai now. There will be other days as he is a little more mature than he was.”