FRANKIE Dettori produced a masterful ride on Dubai Warrior to run out a convincing winner of the Group 3 Betway Winter Derby at Lingfield.
Dettori made one of his rare visits to the domestic all-weather scene this winter and treated racegoers to one of his hallmark front-running displays.
As soon as Dubai Warrior broke smartly out of the stalls, the popular Italian was able to grab the lead and dictated proceedings throughout the mile and a quarter.
He slowed things down mid-race and then quickened the tempo over two furlongs out, just before the home turn.
Dubai Warrior (13/8) produced a neat turn of foot to put more daylight between himself and his rivals to cross the line two and three-quarter lengths ahead of his stablemate Court House.
Bangkok, the 8-13 favourite, was third having been unable to reproduce his record-breaking win over the course and distance three weeks ago.
Riding in Britian for the first time this year, Dettori was in flying dismount form afterwards and said: “I tried not to burn too much petrol at the beginning. I was looking for Silvestre (de Sousa, on Bangkok) but I could feel some daylight and I knew then he would finish the race very strong, so it’s good.
“He’s got such a big body and he’s taken time to get it all together, but he’s getting better and I suspect he’ll come back here on Good Friday (Easter Classic). It’s the obvious choice.”
Hareem Queen took full advantage of the defection of the prolific Good Effort to land the Listed Betway Hever Stakes.
Making her Polytrack debut, the Karl Burke-trained four-year-old, sent off the 5/2 favourite in the five-furlong dash, came with a wet sail to collar Royal Birth in the last 100 yards under a well-timed ride from PJ McDonald.
The daughter of Dark Angel, who had scored in a five-runner handicap at Southwell last month, again stayed on resolutely to score by a neck.
McDonald said: “In sporting terms it was unfortunate Good Effort could not run, because you always want to see the best horses run, but his absence meant she could take this chance.
“They caught me on my heels a bit coming down the hill and I had to sit and sit, but luckily enough I had the space to come wide and you could see ho good she was when they levelled out.
“She hit the line lovely and did everything right. That was a good performance. She is a listed winner now, so it doesn’t matter what she does from now on, but I’m sure she is more than capable of picking up another race or two.”
Another fancied horse defected from the Ladbrokes “Play 1-2-Free” On Football Novice Stakes, as the odds-on Bombshell was withdrawn minutes before the five-furlong event.
That made for a largely non-competitive affair in which the Archie Watson-trained Ice Ice Lady (2/1 joint-favourite) won with some ease under Adam McNamara.
The Due Diligence filly, making her debut, got a nice tow into the race and drew readily clear after hitting the front inside the final furlong.
McNamara said: “She is very straightforward. Originally, I wanted to make the running, but she missed the break by half a beat and luckily enough they have gone quick and she picked up after travelling very well.
“She has not really beaten a special bunch of horses, but she can only beat what is put in front of her. I was very happy with her.”