Kilimanjaro peaks at Lingfield
Aidan O'Brien secured a fourth victory in the betfred.com Derby Trial Stakes as Kilimanjaro came from off the pace to win the Listed event at Lingfield.
Although winning a maiden at Dundalk only 15 days earlier, the 5-1 shot put himself in the Investec Derby picture when grinding out victory in the extended one-mile-three-furlong contest to continue O'Brien's recent domination of Classic trials.
Settled out the back early on by Ryan Moore, the son of High Chaparral gradually warmed to his task, joining long-time leader Magic Dancer on the run down to the final furlong and although taking time to assert, eventually getting the better of the battle to score by a length and a quarter.
Odds-on favourite Christophermarlowe, in the same colours as the winner, held every chance entering the closing stages, but his challenge was brief and he faded away tamely.
Following the race both Betfred and Paddy Power cut Kilimanjaro's odds to 20-1 for the Epsom Classic on June 6.
Paul Smith, for the winning Coolmore owners, said: "That was really good. He's progressing all the time. He settled beautifully and he is learning the job quite quickly.
"When he hit the front he had a little look around. He's got a very nice attitude and I suppose he's in the Derby picture now. He's a trier, which is important."
Moore added: "He's done it nicely and we just took our time. I settled him out the back. He had a lot to do turning for home, but he steadily picked up and he was a bit idle when he got to the front.
"He only won a maiden a couple of weeks ago and it's all happening quite fast for him. He's a nice, progressive colt and he's improving in leaps and bounds.
"To make up that ground in the straight at Lingfield, it's not an easy place to do that."
John Gosden was quick to suggest that the easier ground was the reason behind the surprise defeat of Christophermarlowe, who was eased out to 33-1 by Betfred for the Investec Derby.
The Newmarket handler said: "He was never going on the ground. As he's by Tapit, he wants it fast and the ground was too dead for him today."