Goldspur put a nasty experience at Epsom behind him to run out a determined winner of the Godolphin Flying Start Zetland Stakes at Newmarket.
An impressive winner in testing ground on his debut at Sandown, Goldspur then went to Epsom for a race that would have earned him a starting berth in the Derby – but he got upset beforehand and was withdrawn down at the start.
He wore a red hood to keep him calm going to post on this occasion, and behaved impeccably for James Doyle throughout.
Goldspur was always to the fore, just like his Charlie Appleby-trained stablemate Hafit, but the Godolphin party looked like being spoilt when Frankie Dettori made a bold bid on Donnacha O’Brien’s Unconquerable.
To Goldspur’s credit, he found plenty for pressure to win by a head from the Irish raider – with a short head back to Hafit.
Coral gave him a 33/1 quote for the Derby, but Paddy Power were more impressed and cut him to 16/1.
“He was very impressive on very soft ground at Sandown but the form has not particularly worked out,” said Appleby.
“We then took him to Epsom for the ‘win and you’re in’ ticket, and everybody saw what happened – he got very upset in the parade ring and played up going down, eventually getting his front legs over the gate, so he couldn’t run.
“The team at home have done a great job. I was keen to get him here – he passed his stalls test with flying colours and he had the red hood on, going down. He was good as gold.
“We were concerned that he could have just been soft-ground specialist.
“They got racing a little way out today, so it was a question of stamina – (and) on that evidence, he’s got plenty of it. The only concern today was whether it was an ordinary race at Sandown, and he found an extra leg on soft ground, but he’s proved himself today.
“The Saint-Cloud race (Criterium International) over 10 furlongs could be a possible, because it will probably be run in deep ground and we know he handles it, but there are no fixed plans. He’s a horse for next year.”