John Gosden continued his winter big-race haul, adding the Betway Winter Derby to his Saudi Cup triumph when Forest Of Dean executed his trainer’s ‘Plan B’ to perfection under a copybook ride from Robert Havlin at Lingfield.
Gosden had told Havlin that Plan A was to make the running in the Group Three contest – but when Johnny Drama beat him to that punch the jockey reverted to the second plan, making his move coming down the hill and taking a valuable two lengths out of the field.
Felix and Father Of Jazz tried to close the gap, but ran out of real estate as Forest Of Dean (100-30) held on by three-quarters of a length and a length.
Gosden said: “He’s definitely on an upward curve and Rab rode him beautifully. When he got to the top of the hill he said ‘I’m gonna steal this’ and kept him rolling.
“He’s a brave little horse who was off for over 400 days after having problems following his run at Newbury. I think the Easter Classic over a mile and a quarter (on All-Weather Championships Finals Day) might be more his scene than the Lincoln.”
The Clarehaven trainer had news of Mishriff, who has astounded him since arriving back from Saudi.
He added: “Mishriff is in top order. He came back on Monday and had a lead out on Wednesday, but he was so fresh on Wednesday, squealing and playing, that I had to give him two canters on Warren Hill this morning.
“I’ve spoken to Prince Faisal and we’ve agreed to leave it at least 10 days before making a plan for him.”