Wings Of Desire flies into Derby picture

John Gosden could not hide his excitement after the “freakish” Wings Of Desire shot to Investec Derby prominence with victory in the Betfred Dante Stakes at York yesterday.
Wings Of Desire flies into Derby picture

It is less than a month since the imposing son of Pivotal took his first steps on the racecourse at Newmarket and while there was clear promise in his performance in finishing third, even a trainer with Gosden’s experience appeared to be blown away by the subsequent rapid progress.

His second start yielded a comprehensive and predictable victory at Wolverhampton and while he faced a far sterner test in what is widely regarded as Britain’s leading trial for next month’s Epsom Classic, the booking of Frankie Dettori suggested connections meant business.

Eventually allowed to go off at 9-1, the chestnut was given a chance to find his stride by the popular Italian.

Wings Of Desire moved up ominously in the straight and while Aidan O’Brien’s Deauville refused to go down without a fight, Dettori’s mount answered every call to get up by a neck.

Gosden, who completed the Dante-Derby double with both Benny The Dip (1997) and Golden Horn 12 months ago, confirmed Wings Of Desire will be supplemented for Derby — having been withdrawn from the race just two months ago.

Gosden said: “He’s freakish, he’s so laid back.

“I took him out of the Derby on March 7 as I thought he would go for the King Edward VII at Royal Ascot, like his brother Eagle Top. That was my plan and it has obviously changed.

“I have to take the blame and now the owners will have to use the prize-money they’ve won today to supplement him.

“ There’s a lot more to come and all being well we’ll go to Epsom. There’s no reason not to go.”

Gosden was similarly delighted with the performance of the third home, Foundation.

The highly-rated colt may well have finished even closer had he enjoyed a smoother passage.

“He got boxed in, got out late and William (Buick) got off him and said that’s his trip,” said Gosden.

“We’ve always known he’s a Prix du Jockey Club (French Derby) horse. He will go to Chantilly the day after the Derby.

“That’s the plan for him, he ran a blinder.”

O’Brien said of Deauville: “He ran well and we are very happy with that display, especially because it was his first run of the year.

“The lads will decide if goes to the Derby. But I’ve been very happy with all the horses in all the trials, even those that haven’t won.”

In a difficult-to-predict Derby market, Paddy Power offer 9-2 about Wings Of Desire. The Irish firm make O’Brien-trained 1000 Guineas heroine Minding the 2-1 favourite with a run, with stable companion US Army Ranger a 4-1 shot.

The disappointment of the race was the previously unbeaten Midterm.

Michael Stoute’s 5-4 favourite was under pressure a long way from home and passed the post a well-beaten fifth.

Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager to owner Khalid Abdullah, said: “It was a bit disappointing, to say the least. He never seemed to be happy and was never in a rhythm like he was at Sandown. It all seemed so easy for him that day, so it’s hard to put a finger on what the difference was.”

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