Dettori in seventh heaven as Daban stakes Guineas claims with ready win
It is now the norm for Frankie Dettori to win the Nell Gwyn Stakes. It is also the norm for the Nell Gwyn winner to then not win the 1,000 Guineas.
With the trial now run and the Classic looming, John Gosden is not saying the latest Nell Gwyn heroine will win the Guineas - but he is also very much not saying she won't.
Dettori landed his first Nell Gwyn in 1991. Twenty-six years on he teamed up with Gosden and a filly who had quickened smartly to win a Kempton maiden in November. That was promising. Upped significantly in class for her second start, the promise was fulfilled.
A deep field full of proven Group performers had assembled for a Lanwades Stud-backed contest that has not produced the Guineas winner since 2006. It is far from implausible Daban could bridge that gap, given she overcame racing keenly in the early stages to deliver a sustained challenge that carried her past Unforgetable Filly and Poet's Vanity.
Most bookmakers quote Daban for the Qipco-sponsored Classic at between 10-1 and 14-1, the same sort of odds attached to Saturday's Newbury-bound stablemate Dabyah, another to race for Abdullah Saeed Al Naboodah.
"I asked the jockey today if she would stay a mile and he thinks she will. That's all I needed to hear."
The jockey who passed on those encouraging words has now claimed the last four Nell Gwyns and seven in total. He certainly likes the seventh.
"She travelled like a winner and she quickened up well," said Dettori.
"John has kept banging on about her working well and saying she has a great turn of foot. He was spot on."
Assuming Daban returns here two weeks on Sunday, she will meet the second and third, whose connections were both pleased. "She's trialled and run very well, so we'll have a go on the big day," said Unforgetable Filly's trainer Hugo Palmer. Andrew Balding expects Poet's Vanity to "strip fitter" on that day.
Conversely, Ballydoyle pair Roly Poly and Brave Anna were disappointing in seventh and tenth. The operation's Rhododendron continues to head the Guineas betting at 3-1. In Daban, she may face a proper contender.
"She is the kind of filly who they will know they've had a race if they go by her," said Gosden. "She may well be in the frame. I wouldn't start banging any more than that but I also wouldn't discount her."
Gosden is entitled to be biased, but it seemed a fair assessment.