Cape Of Good Hope has boosted his chances in the Epsom Derby by winning the Listed Trial Stakes.
Twice placed at Group level last season, the full-brother to multiple Group One winner Highland Reel, made a triumphant return with his win over a mile-and-a-quarter (2000m).
After being settled near the rear of the field early by Ryan Moore, the 4-1 chance steadily worked his way into the race before forging on inside the final furlong, holding the fast-finishing Cap Francais by half a length.
As a result he was cut to 20-1 from 33-1 for the Derby by Paddy Power, while Coral introduced him at 40-1.
“He brought probably some of the best form into the race,” Coolmore’s UK representative Kevin Buckley said:
“Coming here you never know what is going to happen, but it is good to get that experience around Epsom. He is a full-brother to Idaho and Highland Reel. Idaho was third in the Derby and Highland Reel won the Coronation Cup. The family has experience and success around here.
“He is entered in the Derby and we will just have to see how these trials go and see what will happen for definite.
“It is not my position to say he is coming here, but on that performance you would like to think so.”
As for the runner-up, trainer Ed Walker is now considering whether to pay a late fee for the Epsom Classic on June 1.
“Gerald (Mosse) loves him and he was just very fresh today,” he said.
“It is STG85,000 to supplement him, so it is a lot of money. We might take in another trial and see what happens. Maybe he is not a horse for the Derby, but for another Derby, maybe Ireland.”