Connections of leading Investec Derby contender Wings Of Desire expressed deep satisfaction by the manner in which he handled the track at Epsom on Tuesday morning.
The Dante Stakes winner, trained by John Gosden, galloped with two stablemates in the hands of Frankie Dettori as part of the track’s traditional ‘Breakfast With The Stars’ event.
Gosden said: “Frankie was very happy with the horse. He hadn’t started any form of action until March and I am thrilled with how he has come on mentally.
“Frankie loved the way he came down the hill. He changed his legs down the straight and picked up when he wanted to.
“He has learnt a lot. He has got a cool mind on him and I like the way he was business-like.
“I just wanted to go half-speed down the hill and not canter down it as they can get on the wrong leg.
“The horse did it nicely. We had not come here to do a flat-out piece of work, we came here to learn about the track.”
Despite having won one of the key Epsom trials at York, Wings Of Desire has hardly taken a conventional route towards the Derby.
Unraced as a juvenile, the Pivotal colt warmed up for the Dante with an easy victory on the Wolverhampton all-weather in April. And Gosden said: “I think it is unusual what he has done.
“Most have an education at two years old – they might have worked and not raced, but in his case he missed it all.
“From coming off a canter in March to winning a Dante is freakish.”
Jim Bolger, meanwhile, is convinced fellow Derby aspirant Moonlight Magic is the real deal.
The Godolphin-owned colt impressed in the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial at Leopardstown, with his trainer adamant Epsom could be made to measure.
Bolger, who won the race in 2008 with New Approach, said: “I rate him as a good Derby prospect and I would not swap him for anything else in the race.
“He has the looks, the demeanour, the balance and temperament to go with his pedigree.
“He is a beautifully-balanced horse so he should handle Epsom well. I thought when he won the Derrinstown he was as good a Derrinstown winner as (the Bolger-trained) St Jovite (1992).
“I could not be any happier than I am with him at the moment.
“He is very straightforward and is a lovely horse to work with. There are no holes in this fellow.”
FIVE TO FOLLOW
1, Chupalla (tonight, 6.35pm Sandown): Created a big impression when romping to victory in March and could be value to beat Mehmas for Mark Johnston.
2, Max Dynamite (tonight, 7.05pm Sandown): Melbourne Cup runner-up trained by Willie Mullins and comfortably clear on the figures.
3, Intilaaq (tonight, 7.40pm Sandown): Flopped in Meydan last time but dropped in class and gets weight from Time Test.
4, Royal Artillery (tonight, 8.15pm Sandown): Entered in the St James’s Palace Stakes and Eclipse.
5, Journey (Saturday, 2.35pm Haydock): Down in class to get back on the winning trail.