Deauville at Newmarket Image reproduced with the kind permission of Newmarket Racecourse

Deauville landed the Belmont Derby
Image reproduced with the kind permission of Newmarket Racecourse

Connections of Deauville felt the return to a mile and a quarter was the key factor behind his victory in the Belmont Derby in America on Saturday.

The Aidan O’Brien-trained colt impressively claimed a first top-level success with a neck verdict over Highland Sky in the hands of Jamie Spencer.

Runner-up in the Dante at York in May, Deauville was last seen finishing down the field in the Derby at Epsom.

O’Brien’s assistant TJ Comerford said: “A mile and a quarter is probably his ideal trip. He’s top-class over a mile and a quarter.

“I saddled two good horses (stablemate Long Island Sound finished sixth), but the trip just worked out a little better for the winner.

“He finished stronger, had a good set-up and was left with plenty of run.

“The best horse won and he gave a great effort.”

Spencer added: “I spoke to Aidan earlier and he was adamant that if I got a good break, to be positive and lead if there wasn’t a leader.

“When you set them alight, sometimes they don’t switch off again.

“But he switched off great once he turned into the back stretch.

“He was full of energy and had plenty left in reserve for the stretch. He’s a hard-trained horse who was ready for the day.”