Nations Pride further strengthened Charlie Appleby’s formidable three-year-old squad with a dominant display in the Best Odds On The Betfair Exchange Newmarket Stakes.
As well as saddling the first two in the betting for Saturday’s Qipco 2000 Guineas in Native Trail and Coroebus, Appleby has unearthed a clutch of potentially high-class middle-distance colts this spring, with New London, Walk Of Stars and Nahanni among those to throw their hat into the ring for the Derby.
Nations Pride is not entered for the premier Classic as things stand, but certainly looks in that bracket judged on his runaway success on the Rowley Mile.
A dual winner on the all-weather at the backend of his juvenile campaign, the Teofilo colt made a smart return in the Jumeirah Derby at Meydan in February to earn himself a shot at this Listed prize.
After taking a lead from the front-running Austrian Theory for a long way, the 7-4 chance rocketed clear racing out of the top and passed the post with seven lengths in hand under William Buick.
Hoo Ya Mal stayed on to fill the runner-up spot, with 13-8 favourite Subastar only third.
“I’m pleased with that, he’s progressed with every run,” Appleby said of the winner.
“He came out to Dubai and we pinpointed one race out there, the Jumeirah Derby.
“The one thing me and William decided was to use his experience from a little way out today, but I’m not saying that’s what has won the race because I think he’s a nice horse and going up in trip further will only suit him.
“We’ll see what Will has to say, but I see no reason why he won’t get a mile and a half.”
While Appleby is not ruling out the possibility of supplementing Nations Pride for the Derby, it appears more likely he will sidestep Epsom in favour of an appearance at Royal Ascot.
“He’s in the King Edward VII Stakes, but we’ll see how the Derby picture unfolds,” the trainer added.
“We’ll find out more over the next two weeks or so how that picture is going to look. I’d be (leaning) more towards Ascot, but we’ll see how the cards fall into place.
“He’s a nice horse and the Derby is a race we all want to win, but two weeks later Ascot is around the corner and you have to keep a few fresh legs for it.”
Appleby and Buick completed a quickfire Listed double in the following Betfair King Charles II Stakes, with Noble Truth also blitzing his rivals in superb style.
A Listed winner at two and only narrowly denied by Ralph Beckett’s Angel Bleu in the Group One Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere at ParisLongchamp, the son of Kingman was tailed off in the Saudi Derby in February.
But switching back from dirt to turf, the 7-4 favourite proved a completely different proposition as he went straight to the lead readily pulled six lengths clear Honey Sweet.
Appleby added: “I have to give a lot of credit to Nathan who rides him at home as he pulls like an express train. He was happy to have a day off from riding him today to give his arms a rest!
“The plan was to just jump out and get away from everyone else and see if we could relax and get into a bit of a rhythm.
“He’s a good horse with some rock-solid juvenile form and we can disregard his run in Saudi as he’s just one of those horses that doesn’t turn up on dirt.
“Crossing the line there the first thought that went through my mind was that he could be a Jersey horse as he might be a bit vulnerable over a mile, but in fairness he wasn’t stopping.
“William actually got off and said he thinks he has enough natural pace to come back to six furlongs, so whether that puts him into a Commonwealth Cup type of horse, we’ll see.
“I would have to supplement him for the Commonwealth, so we’ll go back and have a good chat about it all. If we feel that he’s a live contender, he might be able to make his money back trying to win it.”