Tag Archive for: Jockey Club Stakes

Living Legend proving aptly named for proud connections

Living Legend inflicted a surprise defeat on Breeders’ Cup hero Yibir in the Betfair Exchange Jockey Club Stakes at Newmarket.

Yibir enjoyed a fantastic campaign in 2021, with success in the Great Voltigeur at York proving a springboard to international honours as he won the Jockey Club Derby at Belmont and the Breeders’ Cup Turf at Del Mar.

Following a narrow reverse in the Dubai Sheema Classic at Meydan, Charlie Appleby’s charge appeared to face a relatively straightforward task on his return to Britain – and was priced up accordingly at 1-4.

But while Yibir travelled powerfully in midfield for much of the way, it was clear racing inside the final two furlongs that he was struggling to bridge the gap and he had to make do with the runner-up spot.

Mark Johnston, who now trains in partnership with son Charlie, had saddled the last two winners of the Group Two contest in Communique and Sir Ron Priestley, and Living Legend was an 11-1 shot to make it a hat-trick on the Rowley Mile.

Fresh from winning the Easter Classic on All-Weather Championships Finals Day at Newcastle a fortnight ago, the six-year-old proved himself just as effective back on turf as he found plenty for Joe Fanning to keep the market leader at bay by a length and three-quarters.

Barbara Richmond, who owns Living Legend with her husband Alick, said: “This horse is just staggeringly good. We were going to put him in the Huxley Stakes next week at Chester, but we had a long conversation between Mark and Charlie and Joe and ourselves and actually it was Alick who said let’s run here.

“We had a big horse to beat here, he’s a very good horse is Yibir, but we have a good horse as well and we’re absolutely over the moon as it’s our first Group win.”

Johnston senior added: “We never run away from one horse. As normal I didn’t give any instructions to the jockey, but Barbara gave him a long talking to! She told him ‘we’re not here for a laugh, we’re here to win’ and she was right. I might take her to every race now!

“Barbara says we’re going to supplement him for the Coronation Cup (at Epsom). She was looking last night at the cost of supplementing him for Epsom and said if he won this that’s what she’d do. So you know, if that’s what she wants that’s what we’ll do.

“We always thought he was a seriously good horse, but he got a very bad injury – I think he had over two seasons off and there looked to be no future for him at all, we couldn’t even give him away as a riding horse.

“I said to Barbara ‘we’re not taking any horse on a no-racing agreement; we’re only taking him on the long odds chance he can come back to the track’.

“So we took him on and turned him out in the field, gave him two years off and then brought him back and he won at Pontefract and so we said to Barbara ‘do you want him back?’. And the rest is history.”

Globetrotting Yibir poised for starring role at Newmarket

Yibir heads a select field of six for the Betfair Exchange Jockey Club Stakes at Newmarket on Friday as Charlie Appleby looks to continue his fine start to the season.

The son of Dubawi was on the scoresheet four times in 2021 and capped a fine three-year-old season when landing the Breeders’ Cup Turf at Del Mar.

He was beaten a neck in his first outing of 2022 in the Dubai Sheema Classic, but the Moulton Paddocks trainer is hoping for a big performance in his first run back on home soil, with further globetrotting missions on the agenda for later in the season.

“Yibir was last seen in the Sheema Classic. He was the winner of the Breeders’ Cup Turf and he is going to head towards the Jockey Club Stakes and hopefully that will springboard him on to a trip to America for the Man O’ War Stakes,” Appleby said.

Charlie and Mark Johnston saddle their Easter Classic winner, the hat-trick seeking Living Legend, in opposition as the yard look for their third-straight success in the Group Two contest, while the Middleham-based pairing are also responsible for the training of West End Charmer, who will be the mount of Ryan Moore.

Appleby will be hoping to get Guineas weekend off to a fine start when his first runner of the day Nations Pride attempts to make it four wins on the bounce in the Best Odds On The Betfair Exchange Newmarket Stakes.

He is another he has high hopes for, reporting on the Godolphin website: “He is now stepping up into Listed company, but he has travelled back from Dubai in the last three weeks and he looks well. Hopefully he will put up a good run there.”

Four go to post in the Listed contest and the most interesting runner of the quartet could well be Roger Varian’s Subastar, who struck at the first time of asking in a Newmarket maiden last September.

Cambridgeshire Meeting – Day One – Newmarket Racecourse
Subastar, winning here on debut in the hands of Andrea Atzeni, runs in the Best Odds On The Betfair Exchange Newmarket Stakes on Friday (Tim Goode/PA)

The form of that race has been franked at all angles since and the Carlburg Stables handler is hopeful he has a smart operator on his hands.

“We like him a lot he’s a lovely horse, but he’s only ever run once, so we’ll have to see how he fares Friday before making too many bold plans. We hope he’s a horse who can progress to something exciting and we’re looking forward to getting him started on Friday,” said Varian.

“It’s usually a good maiden at Newmarket at that time of year and he’s a colt we’ve always liked and he’s trained nicely over the last few weeks.”

The field is completed by Hoo Ya Mal, who was last seen finishing third to Native Trail in the Craven and now stretches out to 10 furlongs, and Austrian Theory, who filled the same position behind the Varian-trained Eydon in the Feilden Stakes.

The other Listed event on the card is the King Charles II Stakes over seven furlongs where Godolphin are again well represented with their Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere runner-up Noble Truth, but Marcus Tregoning is optimistic Ribhi could be the one to take top spot on the podium.

The Dark Angel colt was third on his reappearance in the Free Handicap, but Tregoning states the three-year-old could have taken a step forward from that course-and-distance outing.

“He’s come out of the Free Handicap very well and I think it’s an open-looking race and he’ll go there with a great chance. He’s in good shape and looks a picture,” said the trainer

“In the Free Handicap he ran OK and he perhaps has to step up to win this, but there is a good chance he will have improved enough.”