The Foxes took out a messy Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Dante Stakes at York leaving the Betfred Derby market in something of a flux.
The Andrew Balding-trained, King Power-owned Churchill colt was polished by Oisin Murphy, who was delighted to sit a well-contested pace early from his good draw in stall two.
Liberty Lane, Killybegs Warrior and Dancing Magic helped set a decent clip, with Craven Stakes runner-up The Foxes (6/1) cruising sweetly in mid-division.
Murphy decided to move left with a furlong to run and he quickened his neck well from White Birch, who was last to first under Shane Foley.
Aidan O’Brien’s Continuous was made with a good pace but seemed unable to get home enough and was dead in the heat in third to Sir Michael Stoute’s previously raced Passenger, who seemed unlucky for jockey Richard Kingscote not to find a gap. if it is important. He ran well when he found the sunlight.
The Foxes are cut a total of 8/1 for Epsom glory. Balding said: “He’s got a bit of a turn across the track. He’s a very good horse, it’s a deep Dante now.
“He’s very professional, he’s had the most beautiful year and he’s been a star to train so far.
“You have to think Epsom is the next step as long as you consider the usual cavers, it’s almost enough for the example, but if he comes out well I think we have to give it a try.
“The way he hit the line there, he gave himself every chance to get the trip, it seemed like he didn’t stop at the end there to me. I think the main thing is that he gave himself every chance stayed because of his behavior.”
Balding will not win the main Classic out of turn if The Foxes prevail, after recent losses to Khalifa Sat and Hoo Ya Mal.
He added: “We’ve come close to the Derby a few times, but I think he’s the best chance we’ll get there as Hoo Ya Mal (runner-up last year) and Khalifa Sat (second in 2020) are big price.
“His maternal brother Bangkok went there after winning it well, but he didn’t run well. We always thought he would stay, but he’s a real 10-furlong horse.
“I think he will stay as his dam has a mile and a half well.”
Murphy said: “It was amazing. I rode for a big stable and this guy was so ready at home. He was easy to ride, he relaxed and then he was able to show that turn of foot. He had all the qualities of a top.-quality horse.
“We didn’t go crazy, but kept going – I hope it’s a good test for the big races to come. I won it five years ago on the Roaring Lion, and on the Telecaster, and I hope it’s a good pointer to Derby.
“I wish him a good ride in the Derby, he’s relaxed, he’s a lovely mover and I hope he stays.