Ghaiyyath justified favouritism with a bloodless all the way victory in the Group 1 Coronation Cup at Newmarket for Godolphin.
A big race win for trainer Charlie Appleby boosts hopes that the same connections will land the 2000 Guineas with another hot favourite in Pinatubo tomorrow.
Sent off at 11/10, Ghaiyyath went hard early doors in the 1m 4f contest usually run on Epsom Downs under William Buick.
The likes of last year’s Derby winner Anthony Van Dyck and dual champion stayer Stradivarius couldn’t live with the five-year-old, however.
Although his lead was reduced in the final half-furlong, Ghaiyyath had already put the race to bed. He was value for more than the 2 1/2 lengths winning margin from the staying on Irish raider Anthony Van Dyck.
Bookmakers reacted to this impressive victory by slashing Ghaiyyath’s odds for potential future targets. He is now as short as 4/1 but as big as 8/1 for the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot.
There is a similar range in price for the Eclipse at Sandown on 5 July, while Ghaiyyath varies from 11/1 to 33/1 for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp in the autumn.
A genuine mile-and-a-half horse, this was his first outing on British soil since October 2017. Ghaiyyath beat a small but select field, yet the Coronation Cup may have been just a pipe opener for some of his rivals.
Stradivarius firms up as Gold Cup favourite
The two to take out of the race were the runner-up and third. While where Anthony Van Dyck goes next remains to be seen, there is only one race for Stradivarius.
John Gosden’s staying star is now odds-on with some firms for a hat-trick in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot.
No better than 5/4 and as short as 8/13 for the 2m 4f extreme stamina test he has won in the last two years, Stradivarius had a tender ride from regular pilot Frankie Dettori.
As that cutting of his odds across the boards indicates, bookies expect him to come on for the run. There are only 13 days between the Coronation Cup and Ascot Gold Cup, though.
Gosden did have a black type winner but at Lingfield Park when Miss Yoda overcame all sorts of trouble in-running in the Listed Oaks Trial.
Last year’s Zetland Stakes runner-up went one better on her reappearance, yet endured a nightmare passage. Upset in the stalls, Miss Yoda was slowly away despite taking a keen hold.
Rab Havlin held her up on the inner but found himself short of room approaching two out. Miss Yoda edged right before keeping on well inside the final furlong, however, and led close home while three in-behind finished in a heap.
She ranges from 14/1 up to 20/1 with bookmakers for the Epsom Oaks on 4 July. Miss Yoda can certainly have her performance at Lingfield marked up, given the way the race panned out and yet she still won.
English King new Epsom Derby favourite
Stradivarius’ owner Bjorn Nielsen had a winner to celebrate, however, as English King landed odds of 9/4 in the Lingfield Derby Trial. A cosy success there put his Classic claims on show.
The bookies now make English King favourite for the Epsom Derby. Sent off the joint market leader with Berkshire Rocco at Lingfield, he made very classy headway approaching two out after being held-up.
Tom Marquand shook his reins and English King responded to lead, going clear in the final half-furlong for a comfortable 2 3/4 lengths victory. The field was well strung out in-behind.
Ed Walker certainly has a Classic contender on his hands on this evidence. This was a competitive renewal of the Lingfield Derby Trial – the won last season by Anthony Van Dyck.
When final declarations for this year’s race came out, it was 7/2 the field. Punters backed and bookies shortened the first two in the betting, but English King dispensed with Berkshire Rocco.
There are still horses with Epsom Derby aspirations to watch on the Rowley Mile tomorrow in both the 2000 Guineas and Newmarket Stakes. Royal Ascot should also provide punters with Classic clues via the King Edward VII Stakes.
English King laid a marker down, however, but whether he is a worthy favourite or market principal remains to be seen. Just because Lingfield trials produced two Classic winners last term doesn’t mean the same will happen now.