Military Order shot to the top of the Betfred Derby market as he went one better than his brother Adayar to claim the Fitzdares Lingfield Derby Trial Stakes.
Adayar finished second in this in 2021 before going on to triumph at Epsom and his high-class sibling took his record to three wins from four starts in the manner of a high-class operator himself.
With waterlogging to Lingfield’s turf track meaning this was run on the all-weather for the first time since Main Sequence’s victory in 2012, William Buick had Military Order travelling nicely behind the pace set by James Tate’s Regal Empire.
The pack began to bunch as the eight-strong field approached the home bend and when Regal Empire angled out spinning the turn, Buick seized the opportunity to nimbly slip up the inner and set sail for home with Ed Walker’s Waipiro the only one to match strides with the athletic son of Frankel.
The duo went toe-to-toe up the home straight, but it was the even-money favourite who came out on top by a length and a quarter at the winning post, with a further four and a quarter lengths back to the King’s Circle Of Fire in third.
Although the race has provided Charlie Appleby with a Derby winner in the past, it is the first time he has won the Listed event and Military Order now heads to Epsom as Betfair’s 4-1 joint-favourite alongside Auguste Rodin, while Coral make the colt their outright 7-2 market leader.
“He did everything I asked him. He’s come through that really well and will have learned plenty, not that he needed to be shown,” said Buick.
“Today was a different test to Newbury, but when I asked him to quicken into a gap running downhill he didn’t hesitate. He was totally relaxed and beautifully balanced.”
Alex Merriam, Appleby’s assistant, said: “It was pretty straightforward. It took him a while to get rolling, but he saw it out strongly.
“All systems are go for Epsom, he’s had a run on grass and now a run down a bit of a hill.
“Last year we were blessed with some good milers but this year we have some nice mile-and-a-quarter and mile-and-a-half types.
“Military Order is a similar size to Adayar, but a sharper model.”
He added: “Castle Way is a good prospect, but I think he will go to Ascot (King Edward VII Stakes).
“Flying Honours is going to York and it will be interesting to see how he gets on in the Dante if we get some decent ground there.”