By Simon Jackson at Sandown Park.
Master Apprentice fashioned a 12-1 upset when he landed the Group 3 bet365 Classic Trial on an informative day at Sandown Park where Frankie Dettori rode four winners.
The Andrew Balding-trained Master Apprentice was sent off the outsider in a boutique field of four runners but belied the odds as he led throughout to score by half a length in the £65,000 contest.
The winner benefitted from a well-judged ride by David Probert.
“Master Apprentice has done plenty of work and has a good level of ability,” Balding said. “He is much more professional now and we are looking forward to something at Ascot.
“David is always good from the front. He is riding with plenty of confidence and has plenty of ability,” he added.
Custom Cut won the day’s feature race, the Group 2 bet365 Mile, and is now likely to be aimed at the Lockinge Stakes, where he was trimmed to 12-1 (from 14-1) by Paddy Power.
“I think he has improved over the winter and is now ready to step up to Group 1,” winning jockey Daniel Tudhope said. “He switched off so nicely today and that helps him do his best work at the end.”
Another possible Royal Ascot contender is Western Hymn, who landed the Group 3 bet365 Gordon Richards Stakes to secure the second of Dettori’s four winners and also provide the first leg of a treble at Sandown for John Gosden.
“It is good to have him back,” Gosden said of the winner who last season won three of his six starts and finished sixth in the Investec Derby. “It was a good effort. He likes it here and has come here today and shown his class,” said the trainer who highlighted the Hardwicke Stakes as a possible target.
Dettori’s first winner of the day was on Brian Meehan’s Mutarakez in the bet365 Esher Cup. The Newmarket-based Italian rider secured a hat-trick of winners on the day when landing the maiden race on Brandybend. He made it four for the day with a 12 length victory in the finale, on the Gosden-trained Jack Hobbs whose price for the Derby has been slashed to 12-1 (from 40-1) with Betfred.
Waady provided the second leg of Gosden’s treble when easily winning the Class 2 sprint under Dane O’Neill.
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