Another Derby For Gosden

Top trainer is most successful in the race's history

Forest Of Dean provided champion trainer John Gosden with a third consecutive victory in the Gr3 Betway Winter Derby at Lingfield Park on Saturday afternoon.

Gosden is now the most successful handler in Betway Winter Derby history, with Forest Of Dean following on from Wissahickon in 2019 and Dubai Warrior 12 months ago.

Forest Of Dean received a top class ride from Robert Havlin. The duo stalked pacesetter Johnny Drama (Andrew Balding/Ryan Moore) for much of the 10-furlong contest before seizing the initiative approaching the home turn.

Forest Of Dean had a three-length lead at the top of the straight and always looked in control. Felix (Marco Botti/Hollie Doyle) closed the deficit having sat last of the five runners, ultimately going down by three parts of a length, with 6/4 favourite Father Of Jazz (Roger Varian/Callum Shepherd) a length further back in third.

Forest Of Dean won valuable handicaps at Glorious Goodwood and York’s Ebor Festival in 2019 before missing all of last year. The five-year-old returned with two third-placed finishes on the All-Weather this season, most recently in the Listed Betway Winter Derby Trial on February 6.

Havlin said: “It was a small field. We knew half the runners were hold up horses, but I thought Ryan would go on.

“The last day I hung on to Forest Of Dean into the straight – I didn’t know whether to kick on as I knew if I did, it would open up the race for those behind me.

“Today I used the hill, gave him a kick, and he nicked a few lengths. Then he was able to hang on – it was good.

“He is probably better on the grass, so it’s good that he has been putting up some nice performances. He has been beaten a bit less each time and has now turned the form around with Felix.

“I suppose he will come back here for the Easter Classic now. A mile and a quarter is his ideal trip.”

The Betway Winter Derby is a Fast-Track Qualifier, with Forest Of Dean now guaranteed a start in the Betway Easter Classic at Lingfield Park on All-Weather Championships Finals Day, Good Friday, April 2.

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