Fine Wine is clearly maturing as his name suggests judged on the way he made every yard of the running in the Paddy Power ‘Making Flat Less Flat’ Handicap at York.
The Scott Dixon-trained five-year-old was having his 17th run since October and was registering his fifth win in that time, showing his rivals a clean pair of heels.
Despite only running at Hamilton on Sunday, Fine Wine produced a career-best effort and bounced out of the stalls under Jack Duern.
At the head of affairs throughout, he may have looked a sitting duck at halfway but once Duern asked him a question Fine Wine picked up and scooted clear, taking lengths out of some good handicap sprinters.
The 5-1 chance beat Raasel by three lengths, a huge margin in such a race, with Good Effort a short-head back in third.
“That was quite impressive really,” said Dixon.
“There was definitely a few worries about running him back so quick. He’s always sore the day after he runs and I had no intention of declaring him really, but I trotted him up on the morning of declarations and he was like like a dressage horse.
“I thought we should declare and he’s produced what is by far his most impressive performance to date.
“The Dash (at Epsom) is the next target. We’ve been an unlucky second and third in the race before, I’d love to win it and I’ve always thought Fine Wine would be a Dash horse.
“I think we’ll go straight there. He deserves a couple of weeks off.”
Tim Easterby rarely leaves a big York meeting without a winner and Cruyff Turn made sure that would be the case once again with a game success in the Paddy Power Hambleton Handicap.
Successful at the Ebor meeting in August, the 8-1 winner was sat in the perfect position just behind the pace-setting Lion Tower.
David Allan asked him to quicken entering the final furlong but he failed to put the race completely to bed and top-weight Brunch came from off the pace to throw down a sustained challenge, with Cruyff Turn holding on by a head.
Easterby said: “That was brilliant, he’s a super horse and galloped out well.
“He got knocked over a bit at Thirsk in the Hunt Cup and was taken on early on so it didn’t go to plan, but it’s come off today.
“We’ll aim for the Ebor meeting back here. I’m not sure where we’ll go between now and then. This was one of the plans today so we’ll just work away.”