Aidan O’Brien’s extraordinary domination of the Derby trials continued apace when United Nations foiled Walk Of Stars in the SBK Derby Trial at Lingfield.
A race that threw up the 2021 Epsom hero Adayar 12 months ago saw Ryan Moore at his tactical best as he got the better by three-quarters of a length of a protracted duel down the middle of the course with the Godolphin-owned favourite.
The outcome was decided when Moore squeezed his mount for extra inside the quarter pole, and try as he might William Buick could not get to the 9-4 winner, who was fourth in the Blue Riband Trial at Epsom on his reappearance.
Godolphin’s other runner Natural World tried to skip away from the front running down the hill, but after tracking a route on the far rail he was a spent force approaching the distance.
Both Coolmore spokesmen Kevin Buckley and Paul Smith were delighted not only with United Nation’s performance, but also the quantity of the Ballydoyle challenge on the premier Classic a month from now.
Buckley said: “United Nations has been round Epsom and has clearly come out of his race there well. He ticks the boxes, and Aidan hoped he would put his experience (of a switchback course) into practice today.
“We thought he’d improve with the extra step up in distance. It was a steep learning curve at Epsom and we were happy with that performance, and now he as done that here. It (deciding Epsom runners) is a nice problem to have!”
Smith referred to the “learning curve” all the O’Brien colts were experiencing, and observed: “It’s a great learning curve going from trial to championship and we’ve been delighted with the way the respective horses have run at Chester and now Lingfield. We hope it will continue at York.”
Betfair slashed United Nations to 10-1 for the premier Classic, and Smith added: “There’s three weeks before any firm decisions need to be taken. But this colt will hopefully step up.”