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Alenquer proves best at Lingfield for Winter Derby glory

Class came to the fore in the Betway Winter Derby as Alenquer beat Lord North at Lingfield.

Runner-up in the Juddmonte International in the summer, William Haggas’ charge was last seen running in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

In any normal year he would have been a red-hot favourite for the Group Three feature, but up against him was John and Thady Gosden’s Lord North, a previous winner of the Prince of Wales’s Stakes but having his first outing since winning the Dubai Duty Free almost a year ago.

Hollie Doyle tied to make all on Al Zaraqaan but Cieren Fallon was in the box seat throughout, right on the leader’s hind quarters aboard Alenquer (11-4).

As Fancy Man’s run petered out, Lord North (6-5 favourite) began to stay on takingly – but Alenquer, who has the Sheema Classic in Dubai on his radar, had plenty left after shooting clear to win by two and a half lengths.

Fallon told Sky Sports Racing: “It was pretty straightforward, he jumped well, I got a nice enough position and Hollie was setting a nice pace which I was able to just sit off.

“I wanted to get him comfortable which is important on this track with the undulations, and then when Hollie started to get a bit of a breather in I wanted to keep the pressure on as he stays a mile and a half so I didn’t want to get done for pace.

“Towards the end he picked up well. He was still a bit unorganised and tried to run around a bit, but he found his feet in the home straight and he won like a good horse.

“It shows what a good horse he is to win on this type of track, he’s obviously the best horse in the race and isn’t having much of a blow. He didn’t really handle the track and his natural ability pulled him through.

“He had a racecourse gallop two weeks ago at Southwell and we knew this run would bring him forward so we didn’t think he’d put up a performance like that.

“I think the plan is the Sheema Classic and this should have been the perfect prep.”

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