Frankie Dettori guided Godolphin's Mastery to a comfortable 1 1/2-length win in the Derby Italiano Better (Ity-II) at Rome's Capannelle racecourse May 9, setting up a possible return in the Investec Derby (Eng-I) next month.
Trainer Saeed bin Suroor confirmed the option on the Godolphin Web site after the son of Sulamani drew off in the final yards of the 1 3/8-mile Italian Derby, which was downgraded to group II this year. Mastery would have to be supplemented to June 6 Classic at Epsom.
"He has run a big race to win," said bin Suroor. "It was a tough contest on fast ground but he did it really well. I talked to Frankie before the race and asked him to keep the colt close to the leaders.
"We are looking at the English Derby next month for Mastery but will consult with His Highness Sheikh Mohammed before making a final decision."
Mastery was among the leading group in the 21-horse field while racing on the inside for Dettori, moving up to fourth near the mid-point. He started his bid a quarter-mile from home, making headway in the center of the course to challenge Jakkalberry, who had taken the lead with a furlong to run but jinked into the rail. Mastery stayed on through the long straightaway to get the lead with 100 yards left and finished up decisively as Jakkalberry failed to recover.
Turati, who moved into contention in the straight on the inside, headed Jakkalberry for second, a half-length in front of front-running Apprimus. The final time was 2:16.5 over good to firm going.
Bred in Great Britain by Darley, Mastery was was transferred to Godolphin after finishing fourth in Kempton's Kentucky Derby Challenge on the Polytrack for former trainer Mark Johnston. Sent off at odds of 5-2, he was Godolphin's third winner in the Italian Classic, joining Central Park (1998) and Mukhalif (1999).