Robert Sangster's silks will once again be represented in the Vodafone Derby at Epsom after Percussionist registered a 10-length win in the Gallagher Group Ltd. Derby Trial Stakes (Eng-III) at Lingfield.
John Gosden trains the Irish-bred son of Sadler's Wells, who ran away from Hazyview in the final quarter-mile of the about 1 3/8-mile Trial. Four horses ran.
Sangster, who died last month, has twice won the Vodafone Derby with The Minstrel and Golden Fleece.
Percussionist would have won by an even greater margin, but he drifted to the right across the course in the straight trying to get away from a television camera vehicle that was tracking him, Gosden said.
"It frightened him and he nearly wound up in Tatts," Gosden told The Racing Post
. "I'm very glad he was far enough in front that it didn't matter. Logically he will now go to Epsom and I hope we don't now have a warm May because he appreciates this soft ground, although he would be perfectly happy on good.
Gosden is hoping for a big effort in the Derby for Sangster's memory.
"His death leaves a huge gap," he said. "No British owner gave more to racing and I rather wish he was here today."
Stewards held a brief inquiry into the drifting incident because of jockey Frankie Dettori's use of the whip in the final furlong. He struck Percussionist five times in rapid succession. Dettori explained that he used the whip to try to correct his colt.
"He won really well, loved the ground and I couldn't fault his performance," Dettori said. "The camera took him by surprise. It is on eye level to the horse from a furlong and a half out. Up to then he had been as good as gold."
Hazyview finished 17 lengths clear of Five Dynasties. The final time on soft going was 2:38.30.