Dubai: Godolphin handler Saeed Bin Surour need look no further for a genuine Epsom Derby (G1) contender after Best Solution stormed to a decisive victory in the Lingfield Derby Trial on Saturday.
Last seen finishing eighth in the Group 2 UAE 2000 Guineas on the unfavourable dirt surface at Meydan in February, the winner took control of the 2,310 metre contest to post a 3 1/4 length victory from Glencadam Glory and stake his claim for the Derby on June 3.
The Lingfield contest is one of the most successful Classic trails with eight winners of the race having achieved victory in the Derby. The most recent being High-Rise in 1998.
Winner of the Group 3 Autumn Stakes last year, bookmakers Sky Bet introduced Best Solution into the Derby betting at odds of 12-1 behind the Irish-trained Churchill (4-1) and Cliffs Of Moher 13/2.
Michael Shinners, Sky Bet’s PR racing manager, said: “Although it’s been a good week overall for the Ballydoyle three-year-olds, it’s hard to feel like we have seen any obviously strong Derby winners and you have to wonder whether this latest defeat will increase the prospects of Churchill lining up at Epsom.”
Bin Suroor was vindicated in his decision not to run Best Solution in the UAE Derby and said: “He is a very nice horse. He didn’t handle the dirt — he ran on it twice and we came back straight from Dubai as we did not want to run him in the UAE Derby.
“This was the plan, to run in the Derby Trial, and he has come through this well.
“He is in the English and Irish Derbys. We will have to talk to His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, [Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai] and he will make the decision.
“When he finished second in a Group One in France, the ground was soft and we found today that he can handle any ground. He is improving all the time. He improved from Dubai and I’m sure he will improve from this race, too,” said a bullish Bin Surour.
“More than likely he will be running in the English Derby.
“We also have Benbatl, who runs in the Dante (at York on Thursday).
Winning jockey Pat Cosgrave had nothing but praise for Best Solution and said: “They went a really good gallop and they didn’t mess about. When I got by the two-and-a-half pole, I let him go and he stretched out going down the straight and I couldn’t fault him in any way.
“He probably wouldn’t want it too fast, that’s the only thing, but if it is nice ground, he’s fine. I like the way he has a good attitude, tries hard and he’d handle something like Epsom pretty well,” he added.
“He is experienced but he is not overly big and is a nice sized horse, so tracks like here and Epsom are no problem to him.”
Earlier on, Hertford Dancer landed the Lingfield Oaks Trial for Frankie Dettori and John Gosden, but she will be heading to Ascot instead.
Meanwhile, over in Deauville, France, the Fabrice Chappet-trained Precieuse, won the Group 1 Abu Dhabi Poule d’Essai des Pouliches (French 1,000 Guineas).