FRANKIE Dettori steered Golden Horn to a brilliant victory in the Investec Derby at Epsom yesterday.
John Gosden’s three-year-old was sent off the 13-8 favourite for the Premier Classic following a fine display in the Dante Stakes at York last month and Dettori settled the market leader towards the rear of the field for much of the mile-and-a-half Classic.
Dettori allowed his mount to ease closer from the home turn and he dispelled any doubts about his stamina as he quickened clear of stable companion Jack Hobbs to give the popular Italian rider his second taste of Derby glory.
Just as he had done in the Dante, Jack Hobbs came off second best, beaten three-and-a-half lengths. Storm The Stars was a further four- and-a-half lengths away in third.
Golden Horn was not even in the Derby reckoning until after his York romp, but the triumph led to owner-breeder Anthony Oppenheimer supplementing him for the race, despite his own doubts about whether his charge would get home over the 12-furlong distance.
Dettori was on board Jack Hobbs on the Knavesmire, with William Buick riding Golden Horn, but the two jockeys swapped places at Epsom after Buick’s retaining owners Godolphin snapped up a majority share in Jack Hobbs.
Golden Horn’s stamina was certainly tested, with Hans Holbein and Dante third, Elm Park setting a furious early gallop before weakening out of contention.
Jack Hobbs, the 4-1 second-favourite despite concerns about the drying ground, was the first of the Gosden pair to show his hand, sweeping to the front inside the final furlong.
But he had no answer to Golden Horn’s superior turn of foot and the market leader was well on top as he passed the post under a jubilant Dettori, who said: “Unbelievable – I still can’t believe I’ve won the Derby again. What a feeling. Fantastic.
“I knew he was a good horse, it was up to me to mess it up, but everything went right.”
Buick said of Jack Hobbs: “I’m very proud of him. It’s all come very quick for him and he’ll be a lovely horse in time. He ran a great race and they are two lovely horses, the first and second. On the day the winner was just better.
“I knew when I pressed the button Frankie would be on my tail. It was a smooth race to ride in, he came there with a good chance and he ran his heart out.
“I’m very happy for John Gosden, it’s an unbelievable feat and I’m far from disappointed to be second.”
William Haggas said of Storm The Stars: “I’m thrilled to bits, he ran great, and I’m even more delighted for Anthony Oppenheimer. He’s been at it a long time with this breeding game and to breed one with a turn of foot like that is fantastic.
“As far Storm The Stars, I’m chuffed to bits with him. He ran great, he was well ridden and he stayed on well. He’ll stay further and he’s going to be a nice horse and we’ll look after him.”
Giovanni Canaletto did best of Aidan O’Brien’s three runners in fourth, one place ahead of French raider Epicuris.
Irish raider Success Days, another who was supplemented, was last of the 12 runners.
O’Brien said of Giovanni Canaletto: “The horse’s preparation wasn’t perfect and we would have loved to have taken him to Chester for the race there. He is a really big baby and another run would have been ideal in helping him gain a bit of racecourse experience.
“He is a horse with potential and it was a good race. He came home really well and will stay much further. Giovanni Canaletto and our other two horses will all be confident in getting the St Leger trip so that is a race we will look at.’’
Kilimanjaro stayed on past beaten horses to finish sixth and O’Brien said: “He is a nice horse who will stay further. A step up in trip will really suit him and there should be some nice progress to come from him.”