Thumbs Up did all that could be asked of him in landing Sunday's HK$8 million Mercedes-Benz Classic Mile but the race did not shed much light on this year's Derby conundrum. In fact, rather than give vital clues, this year's Classic Mile may have further confused the Derby issue, thanks to the pedestrian pace that made it a dawdle up front and a 500-metre sprint home. On adjusted times, mathematically factoring out the speed of the track on the day, Thumbs Up's winning time of 1:35.65 is 1.2 seconds slower than standard, making it the slowest Classic Mile of the new millennium. However, a slow pace like that does give horses the chance to show how well they can quicken and none did it better than Thumbs Up, who came from last at the 600 metres with a perfectly timed, sizzling sprint through the field. It's hard not to reach the conclusion, however, that credit for the win rested as much with jockey Christophe Soumillon as the horse because without the Belgian genius, the gelding would have been either second or third behind More Bountiful. Watch the replay a few more times and you'll see that Roma Pegasus is the horse that should have been stretching Thumbs Up for Group One honours and maybe even winning outright. Brett Prebble took Roma Pegasus back from a wide barrier and had the gelding settled nicely, two wide, just ahead of Thumbs Up. On the corner, Prebble began angling towards the outside and ultimately ran into a check that cost him at least a length and valuable momentum as the sprint home was already on in earnest. It was pure luck, all bad, that Prebble had already crossed over the path that would then open up, behind Douglas Whyte on Unique Jewellery - a passage that was gratefully snapped up by Soumillon seconds later. Roma Pegasus stretched out very nicely in the final stages to be beaten by one length. One thing's for certain, you won't find Prebble looking for an alternative Derby prospect - he's found the horse capable of giving him a second trophy in the classic, to add to the one he won with Vital King in 2007. Roma Pegasus is prepared by Almond Lee Yee-tat, who cannot claim a Derby in his own right but he can as the former assistant trainer to David Hayes, who landed the 2003 Derby with the high-quality filly Elegant Fashion. Roma Pegasus is a son of the Arc de Triomphe winner Carnegie, in turn a son of the great classic influence Sadler's Wells. He raced in Australia under the name Steel Giant and was on the threshold of being a Group One horse, with excellent efforts in the Randwick Guineas (behind Weekend Hussler) and the Rosehill Guineas (behind Dealer Principal). The four-year-old was secured for owner Steven Lo Kit-sing by Australian bloodstock agent Justin Bahen. The order was to buy Lo a Derby horse and surely the owner could not be more pleased with the way the grand plan is taking shape. Runner-up More Bountiful did what he's been doing all season - running bravely and admirably. The son of Storm Cat stallion Van Nistelrooy had it won everywhere bar the final stride and his sheer tenacity makes you think he simply has to enjoy the longer distances coming up. John Moore looks to be up against it in his Derby goal with Kings Falcon. The British PP has plenty of quality but he doesn't look like a stayer and he certainly doesn't race like one - even in his most recent barrier trial win, he raced keenly and that's not the signature of a proper Derby horse. Fleet Command, prepared by David Ferraris, turned in his best performance since being acquired from Melbourne, where he raced as Viatorian. His speed rating here lines up perfectly with his close-up sixth in the Australian Guineas, behind Light Fantastic, in February last year. Fleet Command went back from a wide barrier and was last, eight lengths off the leader, at the halfway mark. To finish fourth and be one length from the winner was a performance of real merit, though his pedigree (by the miler Secret Savings from a daughter of 1,000m sprinter Snaadee) does not suggest he'll be improving as the distances stretch out.