Ryan Moore and Aidan O’Brien continued their fine run of form as United Nations emerged as a potential player in the Derby market with victory in the Lingfield Trial.
Charlie Appleby’s Walk Of Stars, 7/1 third favourite for the Epsom Classic before the race on Saturday, was well-fancied at 11/10 but started slowest of the four runners under William Buick.
Moore and United Nations (9/4) settled in behind Appleby’s second-string Natural World, with Zechariah racing on the inside of Walk Of Stars.
Buick’s mount delivered his challenge around the outside of the winner, with Natural World giving way in front, but O’Brien’s son of Galileo – fourth behind Appleby’s Nahanni in Epsom’s Blue Riband Trial last month – kept his rival at bay to win by three quarters of a length.
Sky Bet cut United Nations to 12/1, from 40’s, for the Derby. O’Brien’s Luxembourg, who it emerged on Friday is a doubt for the race, remains the 6/1 favourite ahead Chester Vase winner Changingoftheguard at 7/1
The victory was O’Brien’s sixth consecutive victory in Britain after a Chester May Festival five-timer, while Moore added to his eight winners at Chester.
Kevin Buckley, representative for owners Coolmore, told Sky Sports Racing: “We’re very pleased, he did that well. We thought he’d improve with the extra step up in distance from his run at Epsom so we’re happy.”
On O’Brien’s choice of Derby contenders, Buckley said: “It’s a nice problem to have. We’ll have to wait until after the Dante at York to sit down and get things organised but I’m sure he’ll be in the mix.
“He [United Nations] has done everything correctly. There’s no reason to believe he wouldn’t be a lively contender.”
Providing an update on Luxembourg, Buckley added: “We’re just awaiting test and scan results. It’s all fingers crossed.”
Clitheroe got off the mark on her first start as a three-year-old by winning the At The Races App Market Movers Fillies’ Novice Stakes after being sent off as 10/11 favourite.
The daughter of Ribchester had shown plenty of promise last year for trainer David Simcock, finishing fifth in the Group Three Prestige Stakes at Goodwood, and was ridden with confidence by Jamie Spencer, who delivered her late to beat market principles Rattling (7/2) and Noya (9/4) by over a length.
Dutch Decoy claimed his second win in what has been a busy year already for the Charlie and Mark Johnston-trained five-year-old, taking the SBK Handicap under Ben Curtis.
The 17/2 shot proved to be a cosy winner in the end, beating Jane Chapple-Hyam’s Ex Gratia and 85/40 favourite Verreaux Eagle.