york rACECOURSE Dante winner Golden Horn banished any fears over his supposed stamina limitations after storming to a roof-raising victory in Saturday’s Investec Derby at Epsom.
Wild celebrations were the order of the day as Frankie Dettori delivered the 13-8 favourite with a perfectly-timed run to collar stablemate Jack Hobbs and provide trainer John Gosden with a famous one-two.
Not only did the victory underline the training talents of the Newmarket handler and remind everyone that Dettori is still riding at the top of his game, it vindicated the decision of owner Anthony Oppenheimer to stump up the £75,000 fee to supplement the son of Cape Cross. Golden Horn eventually crossed the line three and a half lengths to the good of Jack Hobbs, with Storm The Stars, representing Newmarket-based Yorkshireman William Haggas, a further four and a half lengths adrift in third.
It marked a victory that saw Gosden claim a second Derby win following the triumph of Benny The Dip in 1997 and become the first trainer since 2002 to saddle the first and second home.
Gosden said: “Frankie did a lovely job. He just put him to sleep, being the old head he is. When the others went to make it a true test he didn’t panic. I said to him ‘don’t press the button until you are inside the last two furlongs’.
“We talked after York about supplementing him and then we talked on the phone, but Mr Oppenheimer had already made his mind up so I didn’t have to persuade him.
“Golden Horn is in the Eclipse, so we’ll talk about that again - if he is in good form and he’s OK after this race, then that would be a target for him.”
While the victory was not a first for Dettori after Authorized for Peter Chapple-Hyam in 2007, it was one that in many ways meant much more to the popular Italian, coming in what has been a resurgent season and for an old ally in Gosden. Dettori said: “I was convinced he would stay, but everything that everyone was saying started to play with my mind a bit.
“He hit a flat spot but when I gave him a crack he took off and when I got upsides Jack Hobbs I knew that I had won. I then went numb the last few yards, I was in shock and disbelief that I was going to win the Derby.
“John and myself go back 20 years. I was meant to ride Benny The Dip, then I won it with Authorized and finally we’ve done it together. John has been very constructive in my career, as a friend and like a father figure, but now we are good mates.”
Oppenheimer said: “I didn’t take too much persuading to supplement him for Epsom. It’s a bit of a no-brainer to go for the best race in the world.”
Haggas said of Storm The Stars: “It was a great run and I am very pleased with it. I was thrilled. He got beaten by two horses that were quicker than him. You would have to say he would go down the St Leger route. If we look after this horse he is going to get better and better.”