Monterosso Sweeps to King Edward Prize
1 Monterosso 7/2
Frankie Dettori had the Irish Derby in mind after winning the King Edward VII Stakes on Monterosso.
Ladbrokes, sponsors of the St Leger, quoted the colt at 8/1 for that contest, but Johnston knows there are other options beforehand. He said: “We’ve been gradually stepping him up in class and it’s paid off. He ran his first four races on the all-weather, but when he went to Ripon in April he was so green. He couldn’t handle the bends or the surface - everything went wrong, but he still won. We knew we had a class horse.
“We had a green horse earlier in the season but now he’s a completely different animal.
“Frankie was full of confidence. When he got on him he said ‘I love him’ and after he won at Newmarket he didn’t think the trip would be a problem. The horse has the speed for a mile but the attitude for a mile and a half.
“It’s one step at a time, but we’ll go home and think of a plan.
Investec Derby runner-up At First Sight made the running once again today, and Johnston said: “With Frankie Dettori riding and knowing the horse I didn’t need to give any instructions. I was thinking during the race that Frankie, who was sitting fourth, was at the mercy of those in second and third because I didn’t want them to let the leader get away from them. I just assumed the other jockeys knew he had gone clear in the Derby, but it went fine.”
Frankie Dettori declared: “I really like this horse. We stepped him up in distance and he has kept on improving - it was a tremendous performance today and a good credit to Dubawi, who has done very well this year.
“Perhaps a pop at the Irish Derby could be on the cards. He is still learning and he was running about but that is a good sign as it means that he is not quite tired yet.”
ST LEGER ENTERS COSMOS CALCULATIONS
Arctic Cosmos could now be on the Classic trail after his fine effort to take second in the Group Two King Edward VII Stakes under William Buick.
John Gosden’s charge bolted up in a Kempton handicap over the mile and half distance nine days ago and showed vastly improved form to get within two and a quarter lengths of the victorious Monterosso, despite his 14/1 starting price.
The Newmarket trainer said: “That was a huge run, a great run.”
“We will definitely put him away now and bring him back for the St Leger, with a view to possibly giving him a run before that. I could still run him in a Listed race if I wanted to.
“I could have run him in another handicap and picked up £8,000 for being placed or come here and collect £29,000. We came here and now he’s Group Two-placed.”
Mahmood Al Zarooni was pleased with another honest effort from 11/1 shot Buzzword who claimed third under Ahmed Ajtebi by a head from Derby runner-up At First Sight.
The Godolphin handler commented: “Buzzword ran very well. Ahmed said he gave his best and could have been closer. He got bumped a bit on the bend and but for that he might have been second.
“He will probably have a rest because his races have been close together but a decision about where he goes next will be made later.”
At First Sight was a disappointing 5/2 favourite for trainer Aidan O’Brien.
The colt’s jockey Johnny Murtagh said: “I’ve got no excuses.”
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