Forest Of Dean came from last to first under South African jockey Collen Storey to win the Huge Daily Boosts Only At BetUK Conditions Stakes at Newcastle this afternoon.
The 10-furlong feature was a Fast-Track Qualifier, with Forest Of Dean now guaranteed a start in the £200,000 Easter Classic over the same course and distance on Good Friday.
Forest Of Dean was a leading middle-distance performer during the 2020/21 All-Weather Championships for the Gosden stable, highlighted by his victory in the G3 Winter Derby, but has been lightly raced since.
The seven-year-old had form to turn around with Harrovian from the Listed BetUK Churchill Stakes in November and it was his stable-mate who dictated steady fractions for the first half of the race.
Harrovian had Ziggy for company as he set sail for home approaching the final three furlongs, while Storey brought Forest Of Dean towards the stands’ side to begin his challenge.
With all three runners in contention entering the final furlong, it was Forest Of Dean who found the most for pressure, storming along the rail to score by a length and a quarter. Ziggy stayed on well to take second, edging out Harrovian in a photo finish.
Storey, who rode 222 winners in South Africa before moving to Newmarket in October 2021, said: “In the first part of the race, I was three-deep, so I took a pull and tucked Forest Of Dean in behind. There was only three lengths from first to last, which I knew I would be able to make up.
“I saw his last run when William [Buick] rode him and he made up a lot of ground from where he was. I was quite confident because the gallop he had put up at home beforehand was quite nice.
“This is my first time at Newcastle and it is lovely to come up here for a quality ride like this. Thank you to Mr Gosden and the team, as well as Godolphin – it means a lot to wear these colours.
“I try to ride out at John and Thady’s as much as I can. I do go to other yards as well, depending on where the support comes from. It has been good for me so far and I’ll keep working hard.”