Weatherbys Digital Solutions Blue Riband Trial
|Epsom Downs 14:20
1m 2f 17y, Class 2
1 Epictetus 2/5F
2 Hadrianus 9/1
3 Cite d'Or 33/1
5 ran NR: Intricacy Distances: ¾l, ¾l, 6½l
Time: 2m 20.00s (slow by 14.40s)
Epictetus is ridden out by @FrankieDettori to win easily enough in the @weatherbysltd Digital Solutions Blue Riband Trial for John & @thadygosden @EpsomRacecourse pic.twitter.com/3NhW5JlB2l https://t.co/0ExN1FLzZd via @RacingBetter— RacingBetter (@RacingBetter) April 25, 2023
A winner on debut last season, the John and Thady Gosden-trained Epictetus went on to finish second in both the Autumn Stakes at Newmarket and Doncaster’s Vertem Futurity Trophy – where he chased home Betfred Derby favourite Auguste Rodin in heavy ground.
Having handled testing conditions adequately on Town Moor, soft ground on the undulations of Epsom held no qualms and Frankie Dettori aboard the 1-3 favourite was happy to let Andrew Balding’s Stormbuster and Charlie Johnston’s Hadrianus stride on in the early stages.
The gap closed as the field swung downhill towards Tattenham corner and Dettori was still holding on to plenty of horse when they straightened for home.
The Italian asked his mount to extend passing the two-pole and although getting lonely inside the final furlong, was kept up to his work under hands and heals to complete a successful reconnaissance of the Derby track.
Although seemingly not bowled over by the performance, QuinnBet went 20-1 from 25s about the winner for the premier Classic.
However, any decision about whether he will return to Epsom or go to Chantilly for the Prix du Jockey Club will be left until after he has taken part in the Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Dante Stakes at York on May 18.
“It was very testing conditions today,” said John Gosden. “It was very deep and he hasn’t trained in anything like that this year. Frankie said he was a little bit lonely in front and he got to the front sooner than he wanted. He travelled well.
“He was looking about a little bit in front, but got tired on the ground as it is deep out there.
“He has wintered well and is a grand horse, but he hasn’t been training on that. He has gone and done it well and shown a good attitude, but just in the end he was looking about a bit and getting tired.”
On future plans, he continued: “We had this pencilled in for him all year. We will go to the Dante and take it from there.
“He may well be more a Prix du Jockey Club horse. Certainly his pedigree might indicate that. We will get to the Dante and make a decision.”
Dettori added: “The pace was even for that ground. I had him exactly where I wanted him to be.
“I thought beforehand Oisin (Murphy, on Stormbuster) was the one to beat. On this ground you can’t give them too much rope.
“I kicked with them at the two and then all of a sudden I found myself in front. He kind of idled a bit and it was the first time that the horse had been on grass for a long time. He has passed his test and I suspect we will run again one more time.
“I’d like to see him again (before deciding whether he stays a mile and a half). It is very hard to tell in these testing conditions.
“He got a mile and a quarter well on very testing ground and he hasn’t got much further to go, but perhaps a race like the Dante will give us a better clue. He is a very neat and balanced horse.
“His form is solid as he was second in the Vertem Futurity and he was entitled to come here and win. If you freeze the race at the furlong marker I was three (lengths) clear, but then you if look at the winning post I was three-parts clear. I was pleased with him.”
Derby Trial (Listed)
£60,000 guaranteed, 3yo only, 1m 2f 17y, Class 2
POS. (DRAW) DIST HORSE AGE WGT TRAINER JOCKEY SP
1 (3) Epictetus 3 9-3 John & Thady Gosden Frankie Dettori 2/5F
2 (2) ¾ Hadrianus 3 9-3 Charlie Johnston William Buick 9/1
3 (5) ¾ Cite d'Or 3 8-12 Harry Eustace Pierre-Louis Jamin 33/1
4 (4) 6½ Think First 3 9-3 James Tate Rossa Ryan 25/1
5 (1) 5 Stormbuster 3 9-3 Andrew Balding Oisin Murphy 100/30
NR 3 (6) Intricacy 3 9-3 Simon & Ed Crisford NON RUNNER