Goldspur put a nasty experience at Epsom behind him to run out a determined winner of the Godolphin Flying Start Zetland Stakes at Newmarket.
An impressive winner in testing ground on his debut at Sandown, Goldspur then went to Epsom for a race that would have earned him a starting berth in the Derby – but he got upset beforehand and was withdrawn down at the start.
He wore a red hood to keep him calm going to post on this occasion, and behaved impeccably for James Doyle throughout.
Goldspur was always to the fore, just like his Charlie Appleby-trained stablemate Hafit, but the Godolphin party looked like being spoilt when Frankie Dettori made a bold bid on Donnacha O’Brien’s Unconquerable.
To Goldspur’s credit, he found plenty for pressure to win by a head from the Irish raider – with a short head back to Hafit.
Coral gave him a 33-1 quote for the Derby, but Paddy Power were more impressed and cut him to 16s from 33s
“He was very impressive on very soft ground at Sandown but the form has not particularly worked out,” said Appleby.
“We then took him to Epsom for the ‘win and you’re in’ ticket, and everybody saw what happened – he got very upset in the parade ring and played up going down, eventually getting his front legs over the gate, so he couldn’t run.
“The team at home have done a great job. I was keen to get him here – he passed his stalls test with flying colours and he had the red hood on, going down. He was good as gold.
“We were concerned that he could have just been soft-ground specialist.
“They got racing a little way out today, so it was a question of stamina – (and) on that evidence, he’s got plenty of it. The only concern today was whether it was an ordinary race at Sandown, and he found an extra leg on soft ground, but he’s proved himself today.
“The Saint-Cloud race (Criterium International) over 10 furlongs could be a possible, because it will probably be run in deep ground and we know he handles it, but there are no fixed plans. He’s a horse for next year.”
Appleby went on to complete a treble on the card, with Native Trail (5-6) and Coroebus (4-5) the top two in the betting for next year’s 2000 Guineas after winning the Darley Dewhurst and the Autumn Stakes respectively, both under William Buick.
Title-chasing Buick had earlier initiated a hat-trick of his own aboard the Charlie Hills-trained Point Lynas (9-1), who claimed a two-length victory in the opening Dubai Nursery.
With Hills inspecting prospective new horses at Tattersalls before Book Two beginning on Sunday, it was left to his father Barry to say: “He deserved that, he’s run well a few times.
“He liked being allowed to stride on – it seemed to suit him”
Appleby and Buick teamed up with 9-4 favourite Barney Roy in the Group Three Darley Stakes, but he had to make do with minor honours in fourth place behind John and Thady Gosden’s Mostahdaf (3-1).
Jim Crowley’s mount was winning his fourth race from just five career starts – his only defeat coming when failing to land a blow in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot.
John Gosden said: “He’s done nothing wrong during his career.
“He was boxed in when he ran in the St James’s Palace Stakes and never got a run, so that was the end of that.
“His best trip is a mile and a quarter – we’ve always thought that – and I was going to run him in the Champion Stakes at Ascot next week, but I was overruled, and that’s why we ran here.
“He’s a classy horse and probably a horse for next year, but we will have a look at the race in Bahrain (Bahrain International Trophy). We’ll have a talk about that with connections.”
The Roger Varian-trained She Do emerged triumphant after a pulsating finish to the Dubai British EBF Boadicea Stakes.
Ridden by Callum Shepherd, the 12-1 shot lunged late to get up in the final stride and deny Gale Force Maya by a short head.
“She ran very well last week at Ascot in the October Stakes (finished fifth),” said Varian.
“That was a stiff seven furlongs, and at the furlong marker she looked nailed on to be in the three.
“She didn’t quite get the last 100 yards, so we thought we’d come back here for a stiff six – and it suited her.
“She’s had two quick races and has just won a Listed race, so we’ll see how she is.”