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Creative Force powers to Champions Sprint success

Creative Force completed his progression from handicaps to the top level by taking the Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes at Ascot in the hands of William Buick.

Rated just 89 in April, the Charlie Appleby-trained colt has gone up 25lb in the ratings and picked good prizes such as the Group Three Jersey Strakes at the Royal meeting.

The Dubawi gelding had run with credit in both the July Cup and Haydock Sprint Cup without making the frame, but that experience in Group Ones was a positive – as was the stiff six furlongs on soft ground.

Last year’s winner Glen Shiel made the running and proved a tough nut to crack, but Creative Force (11-2) was up to the task.

Hitting the front in the final furlong, the Godolphin runner kept up the gallop to hold off Glen Shiel (22-1) by a length and give Buick his 151st winner of the season, two behind reigning champion Oisin Murphy with just four races left on the final day of the title race.

Minzaal (16-1) was a length back in third with Art Power (3-1 favourite) a head away in fourth.

Appleby, remarkably saddling his first Champions Day runner, said: “After Haydock, it was always the plan to come here. The two positives were the ground being what it is and secondly him sharpening up.

“After winning the Jersey here at the Royal meeting, we ran him in the July Cup and then backed him up at Goodwood. James (Doyle) said he over-raced at Goodwood and felt like a sprinter in a seven-furlong race.

“I thought we were going to run a big race at Haydock, but the ground was too fast for him.

“In these big sprints they’ve got to be able to travel and this horse travels for fun. William rode him with bags of confidence and having won over seven here, we knew he was going to hit the line hard.

“It’s a great team result. It’s been a great season and for this little horse to win a Group One is brilliant.

“He’s a typical Dubawi who should get better with age and I feel the sprinting division is quite open.

“With Starman retired, there’s a hole there to be filled and I feel this horse is potentially young enough to do that – we’ve been looking for a new star sprinter since Blue Point was retired, so hopefully this horse can be a fun horse for the next year or two.”

William Buick kept his title hopes alive with Creative Force
William Buick kept his title hopes alive with Creative Force (PA)

It was ultimately not to be for Buick in his absorbing tussle with Murphy, but he said of his winner: “He really did deserve it. Obviously he won the Jersey here and he goes through that ground, which is a big help.

“The race worked out perfectly today – we had a nice draw and I liked the look of it. It worked out how I wanted it to and he was in good form going into it.

“He certainly deserved it, but we thought it was a good chance for him to show his best today.

“There were a lot of runners, they all turned up but he travelled into it very smoothly and it was a case of just waiting with him a little bit.

“He stumbled out of the stalls and the ground was very fast at Haydock, but if you stumble out of the stalls in a six-furlong Group One then it’s game over but he did get himself back into it and he ran well, considering.”

Glen Shiel ran with huge credit, and his trainer Archie Watson said: “I’m delighted. He does come alive here. That’s his second Group One second here this year.

“The blinkers worked first time, they really lit him up. He jumped and travelled very well. Hollie (Doyle) was delighted with him. He quickened away and just found one very good horse of Charlie’s to beat him.

“He’s just a dream for the owners to have and a dream for us to have.”

Buick expects big Haydock run from Creative Force

As money continues to come for Starman in the Betfair Sprint Cup, William Buick has high hopes he can challenge the favourite in the Haydock showpiece aboard Creative Force.

The Godolphin-owned gelding met with defeat for the first time this season when two lengths behind Starman in fifth, as Ed Walker’s stable star came out on top in the Darley July Cup.

Creative Force subsequently missed out by a neck in the Lennox Stakes at Goodwood, while Starman was a close third in the Prix Maurice de Gheest over six and a half furlongs – which seemed to stretch him at Deauville.

Buick said of the Charlie Appleby-trained Creative Force: “We are on course for the Sprint Cup at the weekend, and he has done nothing wrong all season. I’m very much looking forward to riding him again on Saturday.

“Starman is a good horse, and we are having to take him on again, but hopefully we can close the gap a little bit with him this time round.

“It has not really surprised us what he has done this season, because he ran in the Coventry Stakes as a two-year-old. He has always been held in high regard, but he is just a lovely horse to be around.”

Appleby duo dominate Lennox line-up at Goodwood

Charlie Appleby appears to have a stranglehold on the Unibet Lennox Stakes at Goodwood, with both Space Blues and Creative Force lining up for the Godolphin trainer.

Appleby has enjoyed a dream season, with Adayar and Hurricane Lane dominating the three-year-old middle distance races, but Space Blues and Creative Force will not be hanging about over seven furlongs on Tuesday.

Space Blues won the race 12 months ago, while three-year-old Creative Force had his winning streak brought to an end in the July Cup but lost little in defeat when just two lengths behind Starman.

“He’s a past winner of the Lennox and is part of the furniture at Moulton Paddocks,” Appleby said of Space Blues, who disappointed when last seen in the Al Quoz Sprint.

“He hasn’t been seen since running down the field at Meydan. I think now we can quite safely say Meydan is not his track – especially over the six there.

“But we’ve seen in the past what a seven-furlong specialist he is, including at Goodwood.

“He looks fantastic – and of all our runners at Goodwood, he’d be the one I’d be looking forward to. He might not be a Blue Point, but he’s very solid.”

Creative Force was a Royal Ascot winner in the Jersey Stakes
Creative Force was a Royal Ascot winner in the Jersey Stakes (Steven Paston/PA)

Of Creative Force, the Newmarket trainer told www.godolphin.com: “We are looking forward to stepping (him) back up to seven furlongs – it’s a sharp seven at Goodwood, which will suit him.

“The ground was a bit quick for him at Newmarket last time, but should be more to his liking here. He is a very solid horse, who is getting a three-year-old allowance, and he goes there in great shape.”

Safe Voyage finished fourth in the race 12 months ago for John Quinn, and put two disappointing early-season runs behind him when winning at Chester last time.

Quinn said: “We were very pleased with him at Chester, and he’s come out of the race well.

“He likes Goodwood – he ran well in this race last year. It’s a spicy race, as you’d expect, but we’re hopeful of a big run.

“The rain has come, and cut in the ground is spot on for him.”

As for his two poor runs, Quinn added: “He had a hard time in America at the Breeders’ Cup – it just didn’t work out. The ground was like concrete, and it maybe took him longer to get over it than I first thought.

“In the Lockinge it didn’t work – we got involved in a frenetic early pace, and then he actually ran better than his finishing position at Haydock without quite running up to his best.

“From Haydock we were very happy going into Chester, and it was nice to see him bounce back there.”

Andrew Balding runs Happy Power.

The Kingsclere trainer said: “Happy Power will love the ground. He was a bit disappointing last time, so he’s on a retrieval mission, but he’s a course-and-distance winner and takes his racing well.”

Last year’s third Escobar is also among the eight contenders remaining, after six non-runners were announced because of overnight storms which turned the ground heavy – almost halving the initially-declared field.

Creative Force continues on upward curve at Newbury

Creative Force looks a sprinter on the up after blitzing his rivals in the BetVictor Carnarvon Stakes at Newbury.

Charlie Appleby’s three-year-old, who is gelded so will be unable to run in the Commonwealth Cup, came from last to first under James Doyle to beat Spycatcher by a comfortable three lengths.

Sent off a 9-4 chance, he has now won four of his five races, with his sole defeat in the Coventry Stakes last year.

“He’s a progressive little horse,” said Appleby from Newmarket.

“The way he’s hitting the line over six the option could be there to step up to seven furlongs and he could be a Jersey horse, but I haven’t had chance to speak to James yet.

“Unfortunately he doesn’t qualify for the Commonwealth, but the Jersey could be a possibility. If not we’ll step him up to Group company over six. He settles, so he gives himself a chance.

“He’s a fun little horse to have around at the moment. Who knows, if he hadn’t been gelded he might not be doing what he’s doing now. He’s there to be a racehorse and that’s what he’s doing now.

“When these sprinters get on a roll you don’t know when they’ll plateau out. Thankfully he’s on an upward curve.”

Few in the weighing room are riding better than former champion Ryan Moore this season – and he again showed how difficult he is to beat in a finish when Dukebox (8-1) prevailed in a photo to the BetVictor Conditions Stakes.

Richard Hannon used the same race as a stepping stone to Royal Ascot in 2016 for Mehmas, who went on to be second on the Coventry before winning the July Stakes and the Richmond at Goodwood.

Dukebox had won on debut at Kempton, but the market favoured stablemate Al Shibli, who went off the 7-4 favourite.

Oisin Murphy appeared to have done everything right on Dairerin, who hit the front deep inside the final furlong, but Moore would not be denied and got the verdict by a nose.

“This lad is out of Broadway Duchess who we also trained, I own a quarter along with Christopher Powell who unfortunately lost his wife (Jenny) six months ago and this is when you find out horses give you something money can’t buy,” said Hannon.

“He’ll go to the Coventry and I’ve put him in the Railway Stakes as well. He won today like he won his first race, he never looked like he’d win either.

“They went pretty quick, Ryan said it felt like the Abbaye. It’s always the sign of a good horse when they only just do enough.

“The other horse is nice and when he gets some fast ground he’ll win.”

Bay Bridge pulled nicely clear under Ryan Moore
Bay Bridge pulled nicely clear under Ryan Moore (John Walton/PA)

The BetVictor London Gold Cup Handicap is usually one of the hottest handicaps of the season, with the winner known to go on to Group-race glory.

While this year’s renewal looked to lack the strength in depth of previous runnings, the winner looks well up to scratch.

Well-backed, Sir Michael Stoute’s Bay Bridge went off the 11-4 favourite and Moore always looked to have matters under control, coming four lengths clear.

The Haras de Bouquetot Fillies’ Trial Stakes saw one or two lofty reputations dented – but at the same an equally promising winner, as Eshaada (18-1) stayed unbeaten for Roger Varian in the hands of Jim Crowley.

Her trainer will look towards the Ribblesdale Stakes at the Royal fixture next.

Mohaafeth roars into Derby reckoning at Newmarket

Mohaafeth was slashed in price for the Cazoo Derby after barely coming out of second gear in winning the Betfair Newmarket Stakes.

An impressive winner in handicap company at the Craven meeting, William Haggas had suggested he may stay in that grade with the London Gold Cup at Newbury mooted.

However, he found himself upped to Listed class against three smart rivals back on the Rowley Mile – and was simply in a different class.

Jim Crowley moved his mount into a challenging position going into the dip and he simply breezed clear to win unextended by five lengths.

Coral cut the Frankel colt to 7-1 from 33s for the Epsom Classic.

Haggas said of the 2-1 favourite: “Maybe the second horse (Secret Protector) didn’t run his race, but it’s very exciting and nice to see him win like that.

“He’s improving, that’s the most important thing. He’s bred to be good and is looking better each time he runs.

“We don’t know whether he’ll stay, but the Derby is a very tempting proposition. He’s won a trial, and we won another trial at Sandown with another horse (Alenquer).

“This horse is quicker – the other one is a grinder. He (Alenquer) will go for the Dante and we’ll see where he is, because he’s not in the Derby and it’s a big supplementary. He’ll go to York and if he shapes up well he’ll go (for the Derby).

“This horse is getting his confidence. Jim said he thought when he pulled him out he went too early, but that’s because the horse took him there.

“A mile and a quarter is definitely fine. We’ve never been sure if he’ll stay a mile and a half, but there is only one (Derby) and why not have a go – what else is there? Jim said ‘have we time to run in the Dante’, but we haven’t.

“I think quick ground is quite important to him.”

Creative Force (left) continued his progression
Creative Force (left) continued his progression (John Walton/PA)

Creative Force will have his sights raised after claiming a third victory from four career starts at Headquarters.

Impressive on his racecourse debut on the Rowley Mile last season, the Dubawi colt disappointed on his only subsequent juvenile appearance in the the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot.

However, having been gelded during the off-season, Charlie Appleby’s charge made a winning reappearance at the Craven meeting last month and was the 4-5 favourite to follow up in the Read Ryan Moore On Betting Betfair Handicap.

William Buick’s mount travelled strongly for much of the six-furlong contest and picked up well once meeting the rising ground to keep Perotto at bay by a length.

Appleby said: “He’s progressive and we’ll try to step up into a bit of black type now.

“Unfortunately the Commonwealth Cup (at Royal Ascot) isn’t an option because he’s got no undercarriage!

“He’s very professional and travels well and he’s honest.

“I haven’t got any immediate plans, but as William says, he deserves a crack at a Group race now.”

Bell Rock (left) on his way to victory at Newmarket
Bell Rock (left) on his way to victory at Newmarket (John Walton/PA)

The Andrew Balding-trained Bell Rock (13-2) notched a third course win in the ‘My Oddsboost’ On Betfair Suffolk Stakes.

The keen-going Maydanny ensured the nine-furlong event was a sound test, with Bell Rock picking him off late to prevail by two and a half lengths under 5lb claimer William Carver.

Balding said: “He likes it here, but I don’t think there are too many races for him.

“He’ll be in the Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot, but we’ll keep options open.

“At some stage we’ll have another go at a mile and a quarter, possibly in the Wolferton.”

Chil Chil streaks clear under Silvestre de Sousa
Chil Chil streaks clear under Silvestre de Sousa (John Walton/PA)

Chil Chil (11-4 joint-favourite) provided Balding with a double when bolting up by three and a half lengths in the Betfair Exchange Handicap.

Having finished a neck behind Count Otto at the Craven meeting, she turned that form round in no uncertain terms under Silvestre de Sousa.

Balding said: “She’s a class mare. She just needs to relax and fast ground – she’s got a lot of style.

“The Wokingham was always the aim and I think that’s where we’ll go.

“I’d hope she can pick up some black type at some stage this year.”

Creative Force too strong at Newmarket

Creative Force will have his sights raised after claiming a third victory from four career starts at Newmarket.

Impressive on his racecourse debut on the Rowley Mile last season, the Dubawi colt disappointed on his only subsequent juvenile appearance in the the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot.

However, having been gelded during the off-season, Charlie Appleby’s charge made a winning reappearance at the Craven meeting last month and was the 4-5 favourite to follow up in the Read Ryan Moore On Betting Betfair Handicap.

William Buick’s mount travelled strongly for much of the six-furlong contest and picked up well once meeting the rising ground to keep Perotto at bay by a length.

Appleby said: “He’s progressive and we’ll try to step up into a bit of black type now.

“Unfortunately the Commonwealth Cup (at Royal Ascot) isn’t an option because he’s got no undercarriage!

“He’s very professional and travels well and he’s honest.

“I haven’t got any immediate plans, but as William says, he deserves a crack at a Group race now.”

Bell Rock (left) on his way to victory at Newmarket
Bell Rock (left) on his way to victory at Newmarket (John Walton/PA)

The Andrew Balding-trained Bell Rock (13-2) notched a third course win in the ‘My Oddsboost’ On Betfair Suffolk Stakes.

The keen-going Maydanny ensured the nine-furlong event was a sound test, with Bell Rock picking him off late to prevail by two and a half lengths under 5lb claimer William Carver.

Balding said: “He likes it here, but I don’t think there are too many races for him.

“He’ll be in the Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot, but we’ll keep options open.

“At some stage we’ll have another go at a mile and a quarter, possibly in the Wolferton.”

Chil Chil streaks clear under Silvestre de Sousa
Chil Chil streaks clear under Silvestre de Sousa (John Walton/PA)

Chil Chil (11-4 joint-favourite) provided Balding with a double when bolting up by three and a half lengths in the Betfair Exchange Handicap.

Having finished a neck behind Count Otto at the Craven meeting, she turned that form round in no uncertain terms under Silvestre de Sousa.

Balding said: “She’s a class mare. She just needs to relax and fast ground – she’s got a lot of style.

“The Wokingham was always the aim and I think that’s where we’ll go.

“I’d hope she can pick up some black type at some stage this year.”