Godolphin's Papineau became a major contender for the Gold Cup (Eng-I) at Royal Ascot June 17 with his 1 1/2-length win over favored Mr Dinos in the Henry II Stakes (Eng-II) at Sandown Monday.
Ridden by Frankie Dettori, Papineau survived a stewards' inquiry into interference that Kieren Fallon, aboard Mr Dinos, claimed caused him to check and cost him the race. Dettori was given a two-day suspension for the incident, but the result was not changed.
The controversy sets up an interesting rematch in the Gold Cup. Mr Dinos conceded the winner seven pounds Monday in the two-mile event, which was run in 3:34.17 on good to firm going.
Papineau, a 4-year-old chestnut colt by Singspiel
, is a new addition to the Godolphin stable this year. He won previously at Goodwood and was clear when veering right in front of Mr Dinos 100 yards from the wire.
"The horse was clear," Dettori told The Racing Post
. "He thought he had won the race but just drifted right. He was in the middle of the track. He's a horse who looks for company but he won well.
"He's always been a good horse and chipped his knee when I rode him in the French Derby. We won't know till we try whether he will stay the Ascot Gold Cup trip but he stayed the two miles well today."
A convincing winner of the Henry II last year, Fallon insisted the Gold Cup favorite should have won again.
"We were stopped in our tracks," he said.
Papineau and Mr Dinos were both forwardly placed. Papineau got the first run, though, pressing New South Wales for the lead with about a quarter-mile to go. Papineau got to the lead with a furlong left and managed to hold off Mr Dinos, who was outpaced briefly while on the inside.
New South Wales held on for third, three lengths behind the winner, with Risk Seeker fourth.