Dune Of Pilat looked a highly-promising three-year-old as he landed a facile victory for Irish trainer Joseph O’Brien in the Bombardier Golden Beer Novice Stakes at Southwell.
The Medaglia d’Oro colt was a first runner at the track for O’Brien, and a first ride there too for 3lb claiming apprentice Shane Crosse.
Their venture to Nottinghamshire could hardly have gone smoother as Dune Of Pilat, who has a Derby entry, brushed aside his four rivals with consummate ease.
Successful at Dundalk on his second start last month, the 1-4 favourite breezed into the lead two furlongs out and pulled away to score by eight lengths from Looktothelight.
O’Brien said: “We’re delighted with him. He did it nicely, and Shane gave him a nice ride.
“Being an American-bred horse, we thought there was a chance he would handle the surface. It looked a suitable race, and the timing of it was suitable. It all worked out well.
“We thought it would be a good experience for him in case he ends up going to Dubai or America in the future, if he proves to be good enough to do that.
“We might run him in a Listed race back at Dundalk next at the end of February- and go from there.
“I think the experience of running today will do him good.”
Crosse told Sky Sports Racing: “He was a bit keen early and he was in front a long way, but he’s a got a great attitude and a big, massive stride.
“Hopefully he’s improving.
“From his first run to his second, he stepped up loads – and from the last day to today, he felt even stronger.”
Gulliver made his class tell in the valuable Betway Handicap, winning by two and a half lengths at 9-2 on his first Fibresand start.
David O’Meara’s sprinter was also returning after a 108-day break, and conceding a stone or more to each of his five rivals.
Gulliver, winner of York’s Coral Sprint Trophy on his previous start in October and third in the Ayr Gold Cup the previous month, did not appear to be relishing the unique surface in the early stages.
Jason Hart persevered, however, and delivered Gulliver up the far side to comfortably get the better of favourite Wasntexpectingthat.
The winning jockey said: “He was the best horse in the race.
“At halfway, I wasn’t thinking that was going to happen.
“He jumped well enough, (but) then I was never really getting into my stride very well and was stuck on the outside.
“But I thought ‘I’m going to have to switch in and just try to save a bit of ground’ – because I was going nowhere really.
“When I did switch him in, he did face the kick-back very well and picked up then up the straight.”