Rio’s rocking once again
Rio De La Plata served notice he could again become a leading player this term with an accomplished victory at Nottingham.
Godolphin's Group One winner was just a few years ago considered the genuine article, signing off his juvenile career with a fourth in the Dewhurst.
Yet despite occasionally flickering into life since those glory days, the five-year-old was in danger of becoming a forgotten horse — with a low-key return in Dubai adding credence to that theory.
For all his problems, however, Rio De La Plata looked a rejuvenated beast in the totepool Flexi Betting Conditions Stakes, in which he defeated the game Balcarce Nov by a length and a quarter.
Trainer Saeed bin Suroor said of the 6-4 favourite: “He's a Group One winner and ran well here — that will have helped his confidence.
“He needed the run and will improve. He's had his problems and had not been in form, but he has been working well at home.
“There are no plans, but we will see how he comes out of this and go for a better race — maybe a Listed race, maybe a Group Three.”
Rio De La Plata's success completed the second leg of a short-priced double for Frankie Dettori, who also won the toteswinger EBF Maiden Stakes aboard Forjatt. Michael Jarvis' 6-4 favourite defied visible traits of greenness on his debut to chin Gold Pearl by a head.
Dettori said: “I liked the way he got his head down and battled in the final 50 yards.”
Dream Spinner should also return handsome dividends this summer judged by his victory in the totesuper7 Handicap.
Already twice a runner-up this term, John Dunlop's stayer made virtually every yard of the running under Jimmy Fortune to account for Blinka Me by half a length. “He's consistent, loves that ground and is genuine,” revealed Gary Hatfield, travelling head groom to Dunlop. “He will probably go further in time, but at the moment we'll stick to what we know.”
Bahamian Lad will obviously be aimed at a lower level than Dream Spinner, but that should not detract from the merits of his first turf success in division one of the toteplacepot Handicap. Reg Hollinshead's 7-2 co-favourite repelled Gracie's Gift by a length and a half.