By Simon Jackson.
John Gosden has twice won the Investec Derby and has a live chance of adding a third with Betfred Dante Stakes winner Wings Of Desire who will work at Epsom next week.
Wings Of Desire continued his rapid improvement this season when winning the Dante – a key Derby trial – under the resurgent Frankie Dettori who burst back into the big time last season when landing the Derby on the Gosden-trained Golden Horn.
Wings Of Desire’s Dante success followed a victory in a maiden race at Wolverhampton in April. This week Gosden revealed that the son of Pivotal will have his first taste of Epsom when working at the ‘Breakfast with the Stars’ morning on Tuesday, May 24.
The trainer, who first won the Derby with Benny The Dip in 1997, revealed a decision to run in the Derby – for which Wings Of Desire still needs to be supplemented – will not be made until after the workout.
“The thing about the Derby is that you need a particular type of horse – one with great balance and agility, a lot of tactical speed and who also stays,” Gosden said.
“Wings Of Desire came in as a little round ball and then he just started growing. And he just grew, grew and grew.
“He did his first half-speed work on March 15. He ran well at Newmarket [when third on his debut on April 13] and Robert Havlin got off and said Wings Of Desire suddenly clicked coming out of the dip, and then he went to sleep again as he is very relaxed. So I thought Wolverhampton 10 days later, which was pretty eccentric, but I wanted him to go a mile and half, break his maiden and learn something.
“He worked very well the other day and that is when we decided to go for the Dante. Frankie did not hit the front too soon as Wings Of Desire is still a baby. He is a proper Derby horse – you just would have loved to get another run into him. He is a big, strong, strapping colt now and last year he wasn’t.
“Wings Of Desire is a lovely horse but is extraordinarily laid-back. He does not really bother about anything and his favourite habits are eating and sleeping. He looks great and has taken everything in his stride.
“We will go to the Breakfast with the Stars morning at Epsom. We will take him there and it is very exciting. I will know then whether he acts on the course. If he gets on the wrong lead and does a Lyphard and ends up in the fairground then we are in trouble.
“The conservative thing to do now is to go for the King Edward VII and, if he had finished third in the Dante that is probably what we would have done. But if you win the Dante, you go to the Derby and the owners are very clear about what they want.
“Wings Of Desire is every inch a mile and a half horse and it will be his best trip. I won’t bother bringing him back to a mile and a quarter. If things go well at Epsom, we will probably put him away for the King George. He is a proper mile and a half horse.”
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