Cape Blanco turned in a hugely impressive performance to give Aidan O’Brien his fourth success in the totesport Dante Stakes at York.
Sent off at a rather generous 9-2 on the back of an unbeaten juvenile campaign, the Galileo colt travelled ominously well throughout under Johnny Murtagh.
While favourite Chabal was the first beaten, Cape Blanco shot to lead passing the furlong marker and only had to be kept up to his work to score by three and a quarter lengths.
Workforce was the talking horse of the race having bolted up in a Goodwood maiden on his debut and although he looked green in the home straight, he kept on well to fill the runner-up spot.
A clearly impressed Murtagh said: ``They are all trials, we're trying to find out about these horses. He had good form as a two-year-old and is a very nice horse.
“They went a good gallop, it was a properly-run race. He runs a bit lazy when you get him off the bridle but when you do ask him he really responds well.
“He’s quite tenacious and very brave. He’s a big player this lad.
“This is a very good trial and I’ve always liked this horse.”
Paul Smith, son of Cape Blanco's part-owner Derrick Smith, said: ``That was a real trial and we've always thought he was a good horse.
“We hoped he’d run well and he’s now a serious contender (for the Derby).
“He seemed to stay well so we’ll have to see what happens.
“Johnny said he travelled well and quickened well and you couldn’t be anything but delighted with that.”
The runner-up's trainer Sir Michael Stoute said: ``The bit went through his mouth turning into the straight which wouldn't have helped him at all.
“He’s only had the one race and is just a big baby.
“I’m sure he’ll be better with some cut in the ground.”
Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager for owner Prince Khalid Abdullah, added: “He’s a big baby and has now had a good race.
“Ryan (Moore) wasn’t too disappointed and the ground would be as fast as he’d like.”
Michael Bell, trainer of the third home Coordinated Cut, said: “He’s run a very good race and the small field wouldn’t have suited him.
“Jamie (Spencer) had to force the pace early in the straight.
“It’s too early to say where we’ll go next, but my gut feeling would be the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot, but that is not set in stone.”
Frankie Dettori was understandably bitterly disappointed with Chabal, who was well-beaten in fourth, and feels something must be wrong.
“I can’t put my finger on it. He was beaten four (furlongs) out. A good horse like that can’t be that far wrong,” he said.
“They are animals and you never know what they actually feel or if something hurt.
“We are going to take him home and have a look at him. It’s very disappointing as we thought we had a Derby horse. It was too bad to be true.”