Tag Archive for: One Ruler

John Leeper delights Dunlop in racecourse spin

Ed Dunlop is counting down the days until the Cazoo Derby with John Leeper following a pleasing racecourse gallop at Epsom on Monday.

Bred in the purple as a son of Frankel out of the trainer’s 2010 Oaks heroine Snow Fairy, the three-year-old has earned himself a crack at the premier Classic with spring victories at Newcastle and Newmarket.

With just three career outings under his belt, Dunlop was keen to give his charge a feel for the undulations of Epsom before the big day and was delighted with what he saw.

He said: “We were never going to do too much, whether the ground was nice or not, as he only ran the weekend before last. This was about bringing him to get a bit more experience with Adam (Kirby) on him. The ground was very soft, almost heavy, but he looked to enjoy himself.

“Hopefully everything will be OK and we will be back here on the first Saturday in June. He is an inexperienced horse, but what I was pleased to see today was that he has been very relaxed doing the whole thing.

“He is not a baby, but everything was new to him today. I was thrilled with the way he behaved and he wasn’t keen going down the hill, which was good as they were only going slowly.

“He has got to step up markedly to be competitive in the Derby, which at the moment the Irish look like they have a stranglehold on. We will just keep him fit, healthy and sound leading up to the race and the rest will be up to the Gods.”

Given the exciting colt is named after the Newmarket handler’s late father John Dunlop, there are likely to be plenty of tears in the winner’s enclosure should he strike Derby gold on Saturday week.

“It is probably one of the more interesting stories of the race,” Dunlop added.

“Having a horse named after my father is very exciting, and it creates a little bit of pressure for everyone, but at the moment the horse has no idea there is any pressure on him, so hopefully we can enjoy it.

“Of course it is quite emotional and it would be a great day if he could go on and win the Derby.”

John Leeper will be ridden by Adam Kirby, who also partners Saffron Beach in the Cazoo Oaks.

He said: “I’ve got two very nice horses to ride at Epsom this year, so let’s hope we have a bit of luck on our side.

Adam Kirby on board John Leeper at Epsom
Adam Kirby on board John Leeper at Epsom (Adam Davy/PA)

“It was brilliant when I got the call to ride John Leeper. I didn’t know whether Ed was winding me up as he has got that in him, but luckily he wasn’t! It is a great ride to pick up and thanks to Ed and all the connections.

“Today was the second time that I have sat on him. I was really pleased with him. He settled lovely on the way down. He didn’t get worked up or in a stew. He relaxed beautifully in behind and when I pulled him out in the straight, he gave me a really good feel.”

Another Derby hopeful to enjoy a Monday morning spin over the famous Downs was the Charlie Appleby-trained One Ruler.

The son of Dubawi will be running in his second Classic, having finished a respectable sixth in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket.

One Ruler and jockey James Doyle at Epsom
One Ruler and jockey James Doyle at Epsom (Adam Davy/PA)

Reflecting on his morning workout, Appleby said: “I was very pleased with what I saw there. He is a naturally balanced horse, but he hasn’t encountered anything like that before.

“The whole object of the exercise was to let him have a look at the track, but more importantly he was fresh in the Guineas.

“We already had it in our mindset that we were going to come straight from the Guineas to the Derby. We felt that bringing him here would ensure we wouldn’t be going into the Derby too fresh.

“He is a horse that has form on soft ground, so these conditions weren’t going to worry us. He has moved well on the track and picked up well up the straight there. Visually, I don’t think you could be any happier with what we saw really.”

The Moulton Paddocks maestro admits to having some doubt about whether One Ruler’s stamina will last out over a mile and a half, adding: “If the race was 10 furlongs you would be delighted. It is going to be a big question mark, the mile and a half.”

James Doyle partnered the colt in his gallop and will do so in the Derby, with William Buick siding with his Dante-winning stable companion Hurricane Lane.

“William had the choice of them and we spoke about it,” said Appleby.

“Without putting too much pressure on William, I said it would be helpful from the team’s point of view to make a call as it gives James the chance to ride him here if he is going to be riding him in the Derby.

“William said it is not very often that you get the chance to ride a Dante winner in the Derby, so his mind was firmly set on staying with Hurricane Lane and therefore James is first man to be jumping up on One Ruler.

“I’m delighted with Hurricane Lane. As you saw at York, he is one of those characters that is very laid back. He just goes about his business, but he has come out of the race very well and I’m looking forward to getting him here.”

Charlie Appleby (left) with his Derby hero Masar
Charlie Appleby (left) with his Derby hero Masar (Simon Cooper/PA)

Appleby will be bidding for a second Derby victory following the success of Masar in 2018.

He added: “The day of Masar was one we will never forget from myself, my family and the team’s point of view.

“He was the first horse to win in the Godolphin blue and for His Highness (Sheikh Mohammed) and the Royal family to be here, it was a very special occasion.

“We all know winning the Derby is something everyone would love to have on their CV.”

Master Of The Seas aiming for potential Guineas rematch in St James’s Palace

The St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot remains the likely next objective for Master Of The Seas following his narrow defeat in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket.

The Craven Stakes winner came within a short head of providing trainer Charlie Appleby with his first victory in the Rowley Mile Classic – losing out to Jim Bolger’s Poetic Flare in a thrilling finish on Saturday.

Appleby, who saddled two winners and five seconds across the two-day Guineas Festival, reports his horses to have recovered well from their weekend exertions.

He said: “They’ve all come out of their races well. The whole team look good – they all had an easy canter this (Tuesday) morning, and everybody is very happy with them.

“It was a great weekend for racing, and we were delighted with the way all ours ran. We had a touch of seconditis – but as I always say to the team, I’d rather finish second than second-last.

“We know the horses are in the right races and they’re in good condition – and if we keep knocking on the door those doors will open.”

Master Of The Seas fared best of three runners in the Qipco-sponsored Guineas for Appleby, with Naval Crown finishing fourth and One Ruler sixth.

Naval Crown appears set to join Master Of The Seas at the Royal meeting, with the seven-furlong Jersey Stakes viewed as a suitable target, while a tilt at the Derby will be considered for One Ruler.

“Master Of The Seas has had three runs this years now, so he deserves to have a little break,” Appleby added.

“Hopefully we’ll turn up at Ascot with some fresh legs. We’ll look forward to potentially having a rematch with the winner in the St James’s Palace.

“Naval Crown has got a couple of options, and I would say most likely we will look towards the Jersey with him. He’s got plenty of boot, but to be fair, two of his best runs have been over the mile – beating Master Of The Seas at Meydan, and in the Guineas.

“He’s got two solid mile performances behind him now, but it does look the most logical option for him to head to the Jersey.”

One Ruler could be Derby-bound
One Ruler could be Derby-bound (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

The make-up of the trainer’s Derby squad is likely to be much clearer in the coming days, with Wirko and Yibir heading to Chester, Adayar bound for the Lingfield Derby Trial and Hurricane Lane possibly lining up for the Dante at York.

Appleby said: “Everyone is testing their (Derby) credentials over the next week, with the races at Chester followed by Lingfield at the weekend and then on to York next week.

“One Ruler is in the mix, for sure. The way he’s bounced out of the Guineas, I’m very pleased with him.

“It’s always hard to say where your horse is going to go immediately after the race, until you start to see how they’ve come out of it.

“The signs with all of them have been very good, so conversations will be had during the course of the week, firming up some plans for these horses.”

Appleby happy with strong hand in Guineas

Charlie Appleby is finding it tough to split Master Of The Seas and One Ruler in their respective bids for Qipco 2000 Guineas glory.

The Newmarket handler would love to win the Rowley Mile Classic for the first time on Saturday – and feels his two leading contenders give him a strong chance of doing so.

William Buick has sided with Master Of The Seas following his course-and-distance triumph in the Craven Stakes little over a fortnight ago, leaving James Doyle to pick up the ride on One Ruler on his seasonal reappearance.

“I’m delighted with the way Master Of The Seas has come out of the Craven. He’s shown us his wellness during the week – William sat on him on Wednesday and was pleased with him,” said Appleby.

“He ticks a lot of the boxes going into the weekend. I couldn’t be any happier with him and I’m looking forward to seeing him run.

“We’re taking on the same conditions as in the Craven in terms of it’s going to be quick ground again. We know he handles that and handles the track, and he saw the trip out well, so I always felt it was going to be hard for William to get off him.”

One Ruler has not been seen in competitive action since filling the runner-up spot in the Vertem Futurity Trophy at Doncaster in October, but is reported to be in rude health by his trainer.

Appleby added: “I’m pleased with One Ruler’s preparation. He looks great and he’s ready.

One Ruler winning the Autumn Stakes at Newmarket
One Ruler winning the Autumn Stakes at Newmarket (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

“James is excited to be riding him. He was in a good position, waiting on William’s decision, and he was always going to be happy to jump on either horse.

“They’re two different types of horses. Master Of The Seas is a very honest traveller on the bridle, whereas One Ruler is a horse who warms into his race.

“I’m excited to see One Ruler have his first start as a three-year-old. The two horses have got different run styles, but in respect of the calibre of each horse, I think they’re hard to split.”

Appleby has a third string to his bow in outsider Naval Crown.

The son of Dubawi inflicted a shock defeat on Master Of The Seas in Dubai earlier in the year, before being beaten a neck by the Queen’s Tactical on his return to Newmarket in the Free Handicap.

Appleby feels Naval Crown could outrun his odds, saying: “We left him in the Guineas for a reason. Master Of The Seas was entitled to come forward from the run at Meydan and did come forward, but Naval Crown beat him fair and square.

“He’s been a rock solid little performer who brings an abundance of experience to the table, and I think the step back up to a mile is going to suit him.”

The Charlie Hills-trained Mutasaabeq was mightily impressive when winning a conditions race at the Craven meeting, which ultimately led to connections supplementing for the Guineas earlier this week.

“He seems to have come out of his Newmarket race really well. Jim (Crowley) came and sat on him on Wednesday and said he felt very relaxed and in good shape,” said Hills.

“We were trying to nurse him through his career, but his ability has got him where he is now. He’s only had two runs, but they’ve both been at Newmarket – so he’s got more experience than most on a course like that.

“It’s always encouraging to see horses win the way he did, but he’d done nothing wrong at all in his homework. He was working with the very nice horses at home and worked well with them. Winning by six lengths is nice to see – but did it surprise me? Possibly not.

“It goes without saying he becomes a very valuable proposition should he win a Guineas, being out of a Guineas winner.”

Richard Hannon is keen on the chances of Chindit, whose only defeat in five starts came when disappointing in the Dewhurst over seven furlongs here in October.

Chindit (left) was a narrow winner of the Greenham Stakes at Newbury
Chindit (left) was a narrow winner of the Greenham Stakes at Newbury (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

The Wootton Bassett colt got back on the winning trail on his return in the Greenham Stakes at Newbury a fortnight ago.

“I think he’s a Group One horse now – if he wins the Guineas or not – and they are hard to find,” said Hannon.

“I feel he’s quite intelligent, he knows when he’s done enough. What pleased me in the Greenham was it looked like he was only getting going when he crossed the line. He looks like he wants a mile, which is great.

“He’s done all his winning on flat tracks like Ascot, Newbury and Doncaster – and this is vastly different. I don’t know if he enjoyed the Dewhurst, but I’m fairly sure that was down to the ground.

“The race will have turned him on, I think, just got him going. He travels a lot easier now at home.”

One Ruler out to fill Appleby’s superstar vacancy

Charlie Appleby’s two best horses have both retired to stud this month – but he may be about to unearth a new stable star if One Ruler can continue his rise in the Vertem Futurity Trophy at Doncaster.

After waving goodbye to multiple Group One winners Pinatubo and Ghaiyyath in recent weeks, Appleby has a vacancy for a new flag-bearer.

So far One Ruler looks like he may fit the bill, based on his smooth victory in the Autumn Stakes last time out – which came with cut in the ground at Newmarket.

“He has handled the juice well at Newmarket,” said Appleby.

“He is out of a French family, and generally they run on the slower side of good, so the ground wouldn’t worry me.

“Getting the trip last time and seeing that improvement was key for me. He will be going there as a serious player.

“I think 10 (furlongs) will be his maximum (next year). On the mare’s side (Fintry) she was a miler, and he shows a lot of natural pace, but he saw that mile out well.

“I don’t see him at the moment being a mile-and-a-half horse, at this stage, but we will let him winter away first.

“He did what he did at Newmarket and he did get beat on the flat track at Doncaster, but I think that was a bit of inexperience – and tactically we rode a different race to what we had done on his previous starts.”

Aidan O’Brien will have to wait until next year to draw equal with the late Sir Henry Cecil on 10 victories, after withdrawing Wembley at the 11th hour on account of the ground on Town Moor.

O’Brien’s two most recent winners, Saxon Warrior and Magna Grecia, both went on to land the 2000 Guineas – and from a large entry at the five-day stage, this year he had been due to rely solely on the Dewhurst runner-up.

Andrew Balding is another trainer with a good record in the race, having struck with Elm Park and then subsequent Guineas hero Kameko 12 months ago, when the race had to be run at Newcastle because of waterlogging at Doncaster.

This year Balding saddles King Vega, a maiden after two starts but who showed a good level of ability when second in the Solario Stakes last time out.

“I’m really pleased with the horse, and we’re all looking forward to it,” the Kingsclere trainer told Sky Sports Racing.

“I think he’s probably the highest-rated maiden in the country, but I’m sure there are plenty of unraced horses that are pretty decent waiting to come out.

“He’s a horse we’ve always rated very highly. He ran a very decent race in the Solario, and the extra furlong will certainly be to his advantage.

“It’s going to be slow ground. Lope De Vegas tend to go well with dig in the ground.

“He was worked on the grass here in the last three weeks. He seems to enjoy a bit of ease, and I don’t think the ground conditions will be too much of a concern for him.”

Assessing the quality of the opposition, Balding added: “The Dewhurst was a true Group One test, as it should be. Wembley just missed out and he’s a horse that has improved with racing. Aidan’s got a fantastic record in the race. He’s very much the one to beat.”

John Gosden will be looking to Megallan to bring him a change of fortune, after several stable stars disappointed on Champions Day.

The Kingman colt, out of a half-sister to Golden Horn, was fourth behind One Ruler last time out.

“He got in trouble at Newmarket the other day,” said Gosden.

“He got forced back and had to come back round them, but he ran a very good race. It will be interesting to see how soft it does get up there. However, he is in good form going into it.”

Appleby firms up Group One weekend plans for smart juveniles

Charlie Appleby will split his two smart juveniles up this weekend, with La Barrosa set to run in the Criterium International in France while One Ruler stays closer to home for the Vertem Futurity Trophy at Doncaster.

La Barrosa has won both his races to date, on debut at Ascot and then as an odds-on favourite in the Group Three Tattersalls Stakes at Newmarket.

Both of those were over seven furlongs and he will step up to a mile at Saint-Cloud.

The Doncaster race is also over a mile, with One Ruler is among the ante-post favourites.

A close third to New Mandate, who has subsequently franked the form in Group Two company, on his penultimate outing, the son of Dubawi was last seen winning the Autumn Stakes in good style.

Appleby said of One Ruler: “As we saw, stepping up to the mile for the first saw further improvement.

“He has come out of the race well. We had it in the back of our minds to look at the Vertem Futurity Trophy with him and he has done very well the last 10 days. We are pleased to let him take part on Saturday.”

La Barrosa (all blue) stayed on well to remain unbeaten at Newmarket
La Barrosa (all blue) stayed on well to remain unbeaten at Newmarket (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

He went on: “La Barrosa won the Tattersalls Stakes, which turned into a little tactical affair but he got the job done. He has come out of it well.

“We know that as he is by Lope De Vega he will like the soft ground. He is likely to head to France at this stage for the Criterium International, which looks a small field but a competitive field.”

One Ruler supreme for Appleby and Buick in Autumn Stakes

One Ruler resumed his progression with a decisive success in the Emirates Autumn Stakes at Newmarket.

After finishing third behind subsequent Royal Lodge scorer New Mandate in a Listed contest at Doncaster last time out, the Charlie Appleby-trained Frankel colt bounced back to winning ways in the Group Three prize.

Racing over a mile for the time, the 5-1 winner showed a smart turn of foot in testing conditions to cross the line a length and three-quarters clear of Van Gogh.

Following the race One Ruler was introduced at 25-1 for next year’s 2000 Guineas by William Hill and 20-1 for the Derby with Betfair and Paddy Power.

Winning rider William Buick said: “Charlie was always adamant he would want the mile, but at the end of the day he has got a turn of foot. The combination of stepping up to a mile and running in this ground for the first time was always a bit of a worry, but he saw it out very well.

“I think it was a real good performance as he was last off the bridle and showed a real turn of foot in that ground as well. We know he is better on better ground so it is a lovely performance.

“It was the right race for the horse so you are hoping it goes well, but a lot of the horses have never been on that ground before.

“I think he will get further, but for the moment he is a miler. I think he will get a mile and a quarter.”