Destination delivers

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There was a hint of winter on a fine autumn day at Town Moor yesterday as Dubai Destination carved out a position at the head of the 2,000 Guineas betting which he will surely defend until Christmas and beyond. Only the finest juveniles can travel and quicken as he did in the Champagne Stakes, and the memory of his eased-down defeat of Rock Of Gibraltar will persist when the evenings have drawn in and the hurdlers and chasers are at their work.

Frankie Dettori rode an immensely confident race on Dubai Destination, dropping in behind from his number one draw, and still four lengths off the pace as Rock Of Gibraltar, the hot favourite, struck for home two furlongs out. A shake of the reins was all Dettori needed to run him down, however, and he cruised into the lead without ever reaching for his whip. His mount was getting 4lb from Rock Of Gibraltar, but even at levels he would have won with plenty to spare.

"I had four lengths to make up and he did it in about a furlong and then he was going away," Dettori said. "It was a great performance. The horse keeps on improving and a mile will be no problem. He's not Fantastic Light yet but he's going the right way."

Ladbrokes were sufficiently impressed by the performance to promote Dubai Destination to clear 6-1 favourite for next year's 2,000 Guineas, ahead of Johannesburg, a stablemate of Rock Of Gibraltar at Aidan O'Brien's yard, on 7-1. The Tote go a point shorter about Dubai Destination, at 5-1 from 20-1, but bracket him with Johannesburg, shifted out from 3-1. Hunt around, and you will find at least 20-1 about anything else, including Rock Of Gibraltar.

David Loder, Dubai Destination's trainer, is stranded in America, and plans for his colt, who raced in Sheikh Mohammed's colours yesterday but will presumably join Godolphin, will not be decided until he returns. The Dewhurst Stakes is the obvious target, though, and success in that would secure Dubai Destination's status as the winter Guineas favourite.

"I don't know whether he'll run again this season," Rick Bowman, Loder's assistant, said, "but he'll be very good next year. We've one or two nice ones still to run and the pecking order keeps changing, but this horse has always been right up there."

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