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Kemari collects in Queen’s Vase

Charlie Appleby’s Kemari belied his inexperience to win the Group Two Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot on just his third career start.

William Buick, striking for the second time at this year’s meeting, always had Kemari close to the pace just behind the leaders before challenging early in the straight and striking for home.

It proved the right move as the Dubawi gelding surged clear and then had enough in hand in the final furlong to comfortably resist the late challenge of Aidan O’Brien-trained favourite Wordsworth.

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The 15-2 winner had a length and a half to spare at the line, as Wordsworth stayed on strongly after being unable to find a change of gear when it mattered most, and Stowell was another length and a quarter back in third.

Kemari, who made his debut when second at Newmarket little more than a month ago before winning a Yarmouth maiden, clearly relished the step up in trip as he provided Godolphin trainer Appleby with his first winner of this race.

Appleby said: “I must give the team at home a lot of credit for this. He’s been a challenging horse at home during the course of the winter. He was gelded and had a hood on his first start, so all credit to them – they’ve done a great job.

“And William, he placed him highly after that win at Yarmouth. I have to say, I sat on the fence and thought he was a horse that was progressing, but whether he’d be progressing quick enough to step up into today’s league – he’s proven me wrong and William right.

“The horse is definitely going the right way.”

Kemari comes back victorious under William Buick
Kemari comes back victorious under William Buick (Steven Paston/PA)

He went on: “He’ll hopefully make up into a Cup horse for next year. The last few years, three-year-olds in the Melbourne Cup have produced the goods, so whether he gets to that level, we’ll see.

“We’ll enjoy today and have the discussions with our principles and managers during the next few weeks and map the autumn out.

“He’s a horse that’s got a profile working in that direction (Melbourne), but whether he goes there, we’ll enjoy today and have the nice discussions over the next few weeks.”

Asked about the possibility of tackling super stayer Stradivarius in next month’s Goodwood Cup with a hefty three-year-old allowance, Appleby replied: “We’ll wait for a couple of days and see how the Gold Cup goes!

“He’s a horse that’s come to hand over the last eight weeks now, so whether that might be a step too soon for him, it’s a nice discussion to have.”

John Gosden was pleased with the effort of Stowell, who is now set to head to Newmarket next month.

He said: “He had to come round the wide route on only his third racecourse outing. It was a pleasing effort and we will take a look at the Bahrain Trophy at the July meeting.”

Amtiyaz delight for Hollie Doyle in Copper Horse

Amtiyaz and Hollie Doyle just held off the late lunge of Jamie Spencer on Dubious Affair to win the Copper Horse Stakes.

Doyle broke her Royal Ascot duck last year on Scarlet Dragon – but that was in front of empty stands so this success will have meant just as much, coming as it did in front of a restricted crowd of 12,000.

What will have added to Doyle’s delight was that this came in the colours of Imad Al Sagar, her boss.

Trained by John and Thady Gosden, Amtiyaz was having just his second start on turf, but having sat second throughout off a slow pace, Doyle was able to kick at the right time and it proved crucial as Dubious Affair was closing with every stride, before eventually going down by a head.

The 33-1 winner was also providing a second success on the day for the Gosdens, who landed the opening Queen Anne with the odds-on Palace Pier.

Doyle said: “It’s amazing. Last year was incredible but to have the crowd, and some of my family today, makes it even more special.

“I always ride for Mr Gosden with confidence and I knew his level of ability. He’d reached a bit of a ceiling on the all-weather, but he found more back on turf.

“Everything went smoothly and he nicked a few lengths by quickening – I knew he’d stay on well.”

Reshoun just held off the late lunge of Ryan Moore and M C Muldoon to give Ian Williams his second victory in three years in the Ascot Stakes.

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Given the race is over two and a half miles it normally falls to a National Hunt trainer, but Williams is one of the most adept dual-purpose handlers in the land and proved it yet again.

Reshoun just hung on for victory
Reshoun just hung on for victory (Steven Paston/PA)

Sent off an unconsidered 66-1 shot in a field of 19, Reshoun only hit the front deep inside the final furlong after Frankie Dettori had made what looked a race-winning move on Golden Rules.

Ryan Moore began to fly from the clouds on Willie Mullins’ M C Muldoon, but the line came just in time for Reshoun and William Buick and they held on by a short head.

Rachael Blackmore finished fifth on Cape Gentleman, on what was her first Royal Ascot ride.

Williams said: “The current form of my horses is good. He ran a big race in the Chester Cup and I said to William the important thing is to get him out today as he’d been slack at the start.

“The boys at home had been working with him and I could not actually believe how sharp he was out of the gate. He was in front early, but then it was a case of if he stayed.

“He got taken off his feet a bit taken in. I actually thought he wasn’t staying, so I turned my attentions to Mancini and next time I looked for him he was plugging away and stayed strongly to the line.

“This horse has done Marwan (Koukash, owner) proud. He’d be wishing it was at Chester. He’s done me proud me, too!

“It’s tough to win any race here and the competitiveness of the whole meeting is only second to Cheltenham.

“He’ll probably going back to Chester. Marwan will be keen for him to go back there.”

However, there was a real sting in the tail for Buick afterwards, as the stewards deemed he was guilty of using his whip “above the permitted level and down the shoulder in the forehand from approaching the final two furlongs”.

The rider, who is currently tied at the top of the jockeys’ championship with Oisin Murphy, was suspended for 11 days and fined £1,150. His ban is due to start on June 29.

Juan Elcano bounced back to his best
Juan Elcano bounced back to his best (David Davies/PA)

Juan Elcano came with a rousing late run to win for the first time since his debut in the Wolferton Stakes.

Always highly regarded by Kevin Ryan, he finished fifth of 15 in Kameko’s 2000 Guineas but had seemingly failed to progress.

However, racing for the first time since a wind operation the son of Frankel once again showed what he was made of.

Sent off at 14-1, Juan Elcano looked to face a stiff task with two furlongs to run as there was still a wall of horses in front of him.

Tom Marquand had kicked clear by then on Joseph O’Brien’s Patrick Sarsfield and having had the run of the race he looked sure to oblige, only for Juan Elcano to sprout wings once in the clear.

Andrea Atzeni pushed him out with hands and heels to win by half a length, with Solid Stone, the 4-1 joint-favourite along with Patrick Sarsfield, back in third.

Ryan said: “We’ve always held him in the highest regard and he ran in some nice races as a three-year-old.

“This year I thought we had him back, but he disappointed first time out so we decided to tweak his wind – obviously it’s done the trick.

“He quickened up nicely today, he likes a nice pace to run at and got that today.”

Reshoun repels M C Muldoon in Ascot Stakes

Reshoun just held off the late lunge of Ryan Moore and M C Muldoon to give Ian Williams his second victory in three years in the Ascot Stakes.

Given the race is over two and a half miles it normally falls to a National Hunt trainer, but Williams is one of the most adept dual-purpose handlers in the land and proved it yet again.

Sent off an unconsidered 66-1 shot in a field of 19, Reshoun only hit the front deep inside the final furlong after Frankie Dettori had made what looked a race-winning move on Golden Rules.

Ryan Moore began to fly from the clouds on Willie Mullins’ M C Muldoon, but the line came just in time for Reshoun and William Buick and they held on by a short head.

Rachael Blackmore finished fifth on Cape Gentleman, on what was her first Royal Ascot ride.

Williams said: “The current form of my horses is good. He ran a big race in the Chester Cup and I said to William the important thing is to get him out today as he’d been slack at the start.

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“The boys at home had been working with him and I could not actually believe how sharp he was out of the gate. He was in front early, but then it was a case of if he stayed.

“He got taken off his feet a bit taken in. I actually thought he wasn’t staying, so I turned my attentions to Mancini and next time I looked for him he was plugging away and stayed strongly to the line.

“This horse has done Marwan (Koukash, owner) proud. He’d be wishing it was at Chester. He’s done me proud me, too!

“It’s tough to win any race here and the competitiveness of the whole meeting is only second to Cheltenham.

“He’ll probably going back to Chester. Marwan will be keen for him to go back there.”

Juan Elcano came with a rousing late run to win for the first time since his debut in the Wolferton Stakes.

Always highly regarded by Kevin Ryan, he finished fifth of 15 in Kameko’s 2000 Guineas but had seemingly failed to progress.

However, racing for the first time since a wind operation the son of Frankel once again showed what he was made of.

Sent off at 14-1, Juan Elcano looked to face a stiff task with two furlongs to run as there was still a wall of horses in front of him.

Tom Marquand had kicked clear by then on Joseph O’Brien’s Patrick Sarsfield and having had the run of the race he looked sure to oblige, only for Juan Elcano to sprout wings once in the clear.

Andrea Atzeni pushed him out with hands and heels to win by half a length, with Solid Stone, the 4-1 joint-favourite along with Patrick Sarsfield, back in third.

Ryan said: “We’ve always held him in the highest regard and he ran in some nice races as a three-year-old.

“This year I thought we had him back, but he disappointed first time out so we decided to tweak his wind – obviously it’s done the trick.

“He quickened up nicely today, he likes a nice pace to run at and got that today.”

Spanish Mission is too good in Yorkshire Cup

Spanish Mission made his stamina count to take the Group Two honours in the Matchbook Yorkshire Cup at York.

The five-year-old asserted in the closing stages to be a clear-cut winner over Santiago and Sir Ron Priestley, in the hands of William Buick.

Andrew Balding’s globe-trotter was having his third run of the year, after racing in Saudi Arabia and Dubai in the winter.

Buick had the 11-2 shot, winner of last year’s Doncaster Cup, at the back of the five-runner field as Wells Farhh Go made the running from Sir Ron Priestley.

There was little change in the order until in the straight when Wells Farhh Go weakened after being off the track for 587 days.

Sir Ron Priestley hit the front but could not put the race to bed and faded in the final furlong.

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That left Spanish Mission to come home two and a three-quarter lengths clear of Santiago – with Sir Ron Priestley, the 6-5 favourite, only third.

Spanish Mission was cut to 16-1 from 33-1 for the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot with Coral, and 10-1 from 25-1 with Betfair and Paddy Power.

The winning trainer’s wife Anna Lisa Balding said: “We’re absolutely delighted – it’s wonderful for the owners and Andy who looks after him.

“They couldn’t go to Saudi, so it’s great they’re here today.”

She confirmed too that a move back up in trip from this mile and three-quarters will be Spanish Mission’s next assignment, at Royal Ascot.

“Ascot’s obviously the plan, the Gold Cup,” she said.

“William was very impressed with him – what a lovely horse to have on the yard.

“He’s in great form (after his winter travels). He loves it, he loves to get some air miles I’d say!

“Dubai just didn’t work – it was the second time he’d run a bad race in Dubai.

“He’s got some pace too, hasn’t he? We’re just so pleased.”

Trainer Mark Johnston was out of luck with his two Yorkshire Cup runners
Trainer Mark Johnston was out of luck with his two Yorkshire Cup runners (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Trainer Mark Johnston said of Sir Ron Priestley: “He went to the front like he was cantering and had them all at it – and for whatever reason didn’t get home.

“We know he’s won over a mile and six (furlongs) before, so we know he stays – he stayed the trip as a three-year-old, never mind now.

“Why he should fail to get home today, I don’t know. There doesn’t appear to be anything wrong with him, but we’ll see.

“(Stablemate) Nayef Road (finished last of five) was also a bit out of character. For all it was maybe a bit sharp for him, it was still out of character to be under pressure so quickly.

“Maybe they’ve gone an awful lot faster than we all thought. It will be interesting to see how the time comes out.”

Dante success puts Hurricane Lane in Derby mix

Hurricane Lane burst into the picture for the Cazoo Derby when knuckling down gamely to win the Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Dante Stakes at York.

Ridden by William Buick and trained by Charlie Appleby, the son of Frankel took control well inside the furlong to claim the Group Two honours.

It was a welcome boost for Godolphin and Appleby after several previous runners in the recognised Classic trials fell short of expectations.

Hurricane Lane (5-1) had to work hard to extend his 100 per cent record on his third career start.

High Definition was sent off the 13-8 favourite to strike for Aidan O’Brien. But it was the stable’s second string Roman Empire, ridden by Hollie Doyle, who looked like springing a surprise after opening up a long lead into the straight.

However, Roman Empire came back to the field, and the finish was fought out by Hurricane Lane and Megallan, trained by John and Thady Gosden.

Hurricane Lane ground out success by three-quarters of a length. High Definition was a further length and a quarter away in third, with Roman Empire fourth.

A son of Frankel, Hurricane Lane was cut to 6-1 from 12-1 for the Derby with Betfair and Paddy Power.

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In the past 10 days Appleby had seen three of his potential Derby candidates beaten, with Wirko and Yibir fluffing their lines in the Chester Vase and Dee Stakes respectively and Adayar having to make do with the runner-up spot in the Lingfield Derby Trial.

The Moulton Paddocks handler was delighted to see Hurricane Lane step forward as a legitimate contender for the premier Classic.

Appleby said: “We were pleased with Adayar, who was probably beaten by a sharper horse at Lingfield, and then we had the boys at Chester.

“When you went through the bare form of the horses ahead of the trials, we felt this horse had the best form of the four of them.

“He obviously beat Maximal at Newbury and Maximal went and ran well at Chester (second in the Dee Stakes), so we were confident that Hurricane Lane was the right one to go to the Dante.

“He’s got a great temperament for a big horse and is a good mover. It was lovely ground and he’s jumped and travelled well and stayed well, so he ticks a lot of the boxes (for the Derby).

“I was a bit worried Hollie’s horse had got away from them, but once I saw he was stopping, I was confident our horse would keep galloping and that’s what he’s done.

“He’s proven he’s got stamina in abundance and the step up in trip at Epsom should suit him. I’ve been on the phone to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed and he was pleased, so as long as the horse comes out of it fit and well, that (Epsom) is the obvious place to go.”

The trainer confirmed Hurricane Lane is likely to be joined at Epsom by stablemate One Ruler following his sixth-placed finish in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket.

He added: “He’ll go straight for the Derby. He’s come out of the Guineas well and we toyed with whether to run him in the Dante, but it has always been Hurricane Lane’s plan, so we felt we’d go straight to Epsom with him.”

Buick said: “We all know the Dante is always a good trial and this year’s looked to have plenty of quality in it.

“I think what this horse has in his locker is that he will improve for a mile and a half, he will stay. Everything he does, he does it right, he went through the gears nicely and when he got company he battled back – he did that at Newbury, too.

Charlie Appleby has a major Derby contender in Hurricane Lane
Charlie Appleby has a major Derby contender in Hurricane Lane (Simon Cooper/PA)

“He’s gone from strength to strength, he’s improved with every run and has taken every run well, he’s got a real good mind. I can’t see much more you could ask of him.

“Obviously he’ll have to step up again, we all know that, but at least he’s got the experience now and he’ll get a mile and a half.

“It was a solid-run trial, a true-run race, unlike some of the trials it was an end-to-end gallop.

“He travels well and is well balanced, obviously he hasn’t been to Epsom but I’m not too worried about Epsom.”

Buick and Appleby combined for Derby glory in 2018 with Masar, and the rider added: “Masar was a top juvenile, won the Craven and was placed in the Guineas, we knew he’d get 10 furlongs – we weren’t sure about 12, but he got it very well.

“You never know about that race until the day.”

Of Megallan, Gosden senior said: “He came here on trial for the Prix du Jockey Club and if he’s in good order that’s where he’ll go as that is his trip. Megallan has a better turn of foot on quicker ground, so we’ll have to see what it’s like.

“I’ve always liked the winner, William was telling us on a flight back from Chester he thought he’d run well.

“I think the two best trials are the Derrinstown and the Dante, I think the winners are the two smart ones and Aidan also has two smart fillies.

“Uncle Bryn needs to grow up a bit, like all of us.”

Doyle was having her first ride for Ballydoyle and said: “He was doing everything so easy and they left me to it. I thought I’d ask him a question half a mile out and he responded.

“At the furlong pole I was thinking ‘where is everyone’. He’s run a huge race.”

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).

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“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.”

Wirko books Derby ticket with late Epsom burst

Charlie Appleby was delighted to see Wirko earn himself a place in the Cazoo Derby with a last-gasp victory in the Blue Riband Trial at Epsom.

An intriguing field of eight runners went to post for the Listed contest, with Richard Fahey’s Pythagoras leading the octet for much of the 10-furlong journey.

John and Thady Gosden’s Uncle Bryn, a son of Derby hero Sea The Stars, was the 11-10 favourite following successive wide-margin wins on the all-weather – and briefly hit the front passing the two-furlong marker under Frankie Dettori.

However, he was mastered late on by Martyn Meade-trained filly Technique, before 11-2 chance Wirko – making his turf debut in the hands of William Buick – picked them both up to claim top honours by a head.

Kingman colt Wirko, who had previously finished second at Wolverhampton before going one better at Kempton in early November, was not entered for the Derby – but is now guaranteed a starting place after landing this ‘win and you’re in’ contest.

Appleby said: “I felt that every horse in the field today had similar credentials and as it’s turned out, the first three home were the least experienced in the field.

“Our horse had wintered well and we felt 10 furlongs was going to suit him.

Charlie Appleby was delighted with Wirko
Charlie Appleby was delighted with Wirko (Simon Cooper/PA)
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“He has a great staying pedigree on the dam’s side, so he ticks a few nice boxes (for the Derby).

“He was one of the horses we hadn’t entered for the Derby, so we thought that he could go and earn his stripes into the race today.”

The Moulton Paddocks handler plans to give Wirko – who was introduced at 16-1 for the premier Classic by Betfair – one more run before returning to Epsom on the first Saturday in June.

He added: “He’s in the Derby now and we’ll try to get one more run into him to give him some more experience.

“Whether he goes to Chester or Lingfield, we’ll see just have to see – we’ll see how the horse comes out of the race and take it from there.

“As you know, experience is invaluable going to Epsom, especially in the Derby”

Wirko’s victory continues a fantastic start to the season for Appleby, particularly with his Classic contingent.

Just last week he saddled the first two home in the Craven Stakes in Master Of The Seas and La Barrosa, while One Ruler heads ante-post lists for the 2000 Guineas.

Master Of The Seas (right) winning the Craven Stakes
Master Of The Seas (right) winning the Craven Stakes (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

“I was hopeful that we had a nice bunch of three-year-olds,” said Appleby.

“We might not have had a Group One-winning two-year-old last season, but I just felt with the type of horse we had, we had a lot of strength in depth in the three-year-old department this year.

“They’ve all wintered well and had the pedigrees to do well from two to three – and be three-year-olds, more importantly.

“So far it’s gone well and long may it continue – it’s a long season ahead of us!”

Like Wirko, Technique is set to be back at Epsom next month, for the Oaks.

Technique (pink colours) is set for the Oaks
Technique (pink colours) is set for the Oaks (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Meade said: “It looked as though she handled the track and we always thought she would. She is good at home and does everything you want. I just loved the way she just cruised around the side there and coped with the bends. The whole idea was to try her on this track.

“I think we will come back here. I don’t think we will go anywhere in between as we can do it all at home. Why risk her doing anything else?”

Third-home Uncle Bryn will improve for the experience, according to Gosden, who said: “He was coltish in proceedings and looking at everything. He will come on mentally for the run.”

‘Class act’ Master Of The Seas sets sail in Craven

Master Of The Seas got the better of stablemate La Barrosa as Godolphin dominated the finish to the bet365 Craven Stakes at Newmarket.

Master Of The Seas had looked every inch a top-class colt in the making when winning the Superlative Stakes on the July Course last summer, and while he could only finish fourth stepped up to Group One level for the National Stakes in Ireland he again showed his ability there.

Although beaten at odds-on by fellow Charlie Appleby-trained colt Naval Crown at Meydan in February, the son of Dubawi was the 11-4 favourite to recoup those losses on the Rowley Mile and ultimately got the job done in pleasing fashion.

Sporting a hood for the first time, Master Of The Seas was keen during the early stages before settling into a rhythm.

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His supporters will have been sweating at the halfway stage, with the market leader seemingly stuck behind a wall of horses – but once switched wide for racing room, William Buick’s mount quickly found top gear to run down La Barrosa and score by three-quarters of a length.

Coral cut Master Of The Seas to 12-1 from 16-1 for next month’s Qipco 2000 Guineas.

Appleby said: “I’ll be honest, it wasn’t quite how we planned it as the plan was for La Barrosa to pop out and set a nice gallop and maybe come up the middle to give everyone racing room, but it didn’t materialise.

“He ended up just over-racing, but he was a bit fresh as well. I was pleased with how he ran.

“Master Of The Seas was the class act in the race, I was never disappointed with him in Meydan as our eyes were on a European campaign.

Master Of The Seas impressed in the Craven
Master Of The Seas impressed in the Craven (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

“William had to ask him a few questions there, he had to go through the gears going into the dip which is hard for horses, but he’s very well balanced. He picked up well and went through the line strong.

“It was very pleasing by the pair of them. The hood helped Master Of The Seas settle and we’ll probably keep it on for the Guineas.

“I’ve been very pleased with One Ruler’s prep as well so it’s a nice position to be in to have two or three nice chances for the Guineas.”

He added: “We’ll see how this horse comes out of this race before William decides who to ride, but it might be hard to get off a Craven winner, he’s probably achieved more and has match fitness on his side. The Craven is a fantastic trial. We’ll chunter away and try to come up with the right horses.

“France for La Barrosa might come into it, we’ll just have to see. That was quick ground today, but they didn’t mind it.

“As that was La Barrosa’s first run of the season he’s entitled to come forward. Whether they’ll get closer, I don’t mind as long as one is in front.

“Master Of The Seas is speedier than One Ruler, he’s a bigger, scopier type. I think 10 furlongs will be his trip in time. I have been delighted with One Ruler’s prep though, and didn’t feel the need to run him in a trial.”

Zakouski stars in Meydan treble for Appleby and Buick

Charlie Appleby and William Buick took the honours with a treble at Meydan on Thursday, highlighted by Zakouski’s success in the Al Rashidiya.

The five-year-old had been beaten by Lord Glitters over the course and distance three weeks ago, but turned the tables in comprehensive fashion.

Buick had Zakouski well-positioned just off the pace set by Court House, before moving the Shamardal gelding off the rail early in the straight to make his move.

Quickening into the lead, Zakouski (10-11 favourite) went on to win by three-quarters of a length from Court House, who just held Lord Glitters for the second spot.

Appleby said: “I’m delighted. He’s definitely stepped forward for his first run. I felt that race became a bit disjointed.

“Coming into this evening we felt there would be more of a sensible pace and William got a lovely ride out there.

“We’ve stepped him up in trip there so we will probably look at the Jebel Hatta on Super Saturday as a semi-final for World Cup night.”

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Zakouski was cut to 7-1 from 10-1 for the Dubai Turf on World Cup night with Paddy Power.

The red-hot combination got the meeting off to the best possible start when Star Safari (5-2 joint-favourite) took the Emirates Sky Cargo Handicap.

Star Safari was produced late to score by three-quarters of a length after two of Appleby’s other runners in the mile-and-a-half contest, Saqqara King and Al Dabaran, had made the running.

Secret Protector looked a bright prospect when landing the odds in cosy fashion to give the pair a quick double in the Meydan Trophy.

The 4-11 favourite led a furlong and a half from home and bounded clear to win by five and a half lengths from Areen.

The War Front colt had looked very promising in both his starts at Kempton and could be set for a good campaign on turf in the UK.

“I think he’s going to be one of the horses that is going to be towards the forefront of our three-year-old squad,” said Appleby.

“He’d have gained a lot of confidence this evening and physically he’s improving week on week. We’ll go back and look at the options. We’ve got something like the Feilden over nine furlongs at Newmarket.

“William said he could come back in trip. Personally I think he could be a nice 10-furlong horse for 2021.

“We’ve had a good night and we’ve had a few get beat as well. It shows how strong the competition is at the Carnival.”

Secret Protector was given a quote of 50-1 for the 2000 Guineas with Paddy Power.

Salute The Soldier (11-2) put himself into contention for the Dubai World Cup with victory in round two of the Al Maktoum Challenge.

Third in round one three weeks earlier, the Fawzi Nass-trained six-year-old was always in a good position behind the pace-setting Capezzano.

Adrie De Vries kicked on a furlong and a half out, but the strong gallop started to tell and he was all out to hold Thegreatcollection by a length.

De Vries said: “He hit the front soon enough. He always just does enough. He was getting very tired towards the end, but he was entitled to. We went fast and the ground is riding a bit deep.

“Hopefully we can now go for the big one (Dubai World Cup) with this horse. He has to step up again, but I think he will learn from today.

“He’s a late maturer and there is still room for improvement.”

The John Gosden-trained Dubai Warrior was awash with sweat before the race and was never at the races. Pushed along from the start, he was eased down by Frankie Dettori when well-beaten some way from home.

Buick and Foley join stellar Riyadh cast list

William Buick and Shane Foley have joined the list of world-renowned riders poised for action in the STC International Jockeys’ Challenge, which takes place in Riyadh on February 19, the eve of the $20million Saudi Cup.

Buick, who took part in the original turf trials at King Abdulaziz Racetrack in January last year, has a number of big rides on Saudi Cup day itself and is looking forward to the challenge against the world’s best 24 hours earlier.

He said: “My first time riding in Saudi was around 12 years ago, I’ve been in and out since then. Last year I came over for the turf trials, which went very well indeed.

William Buick took part in trials of the turf course in Saudi Arabia last year
William Buick took part in trials of the turf course in Saudi Arabia last year (Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia/Martin Dokoupil)

“The Saudi Cup raceday itself was a massive success. There were winners from all over the world, and the races were really competitive. For the organisers of a big meeting, that’s your dream – competitive racing and a level playing field.

“I’m really looking forward to the international jockeys’ challenge. I love these competitions. I think I’ve won the Mauritius one once – I’ve taken part in Hong Kong a few times, and there was also one the JRA used to do on Japan Cup weekend.

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“This will be my first time riding in the Saudi challenge, and I really like the look of the format – four races, everyone riding in each race and the points system. It’s simple but it works.”

Space Blues is set to be a key mount for Buick on the $30.5million Saudi Cup card, where he is pencilled in for the Turf Sprint.

The Charlie Appleby-trained five-year-old enjoyed a tremendous time of things last year, culminating with his first Group One victory in the Prix Maurice de Gheest.

Buick said: “I should have a couple of nice rides at the meeting. Space Blues will be heading out there for the Turf Sprint, all being well. He’s on the right track at the moment and is a Group One winner, so we’re excited about him.

“Secret Advisor is entered in the Long Distance Turf Handicap and he had some nice form in Dubai last winter. He backed that up with a solid campaign in Europe. The track, trip and ground should be perfect for him – so we’re looking forward to it.”

Foley finished runner-up to Colin Keane in the Irish jockeys’ championship last year – and like Buick, he is relishing the Saudi challenge.

He said: “I really enjoy riding abroad and think it’s massively important. The racing in Saudi Arabia is a big and growing operation as far as owners are concerned, and all it takes is to kick on with one there and you could bring an owner back to Ireland for your stable.

Shane Foley with the Group One-winning Lucky Vega
Shane Foley with the Group One-winning Lucky Vega (PA)

“I rode in the Japanese jockeys’ challenge in 2018 – which was a good experience – and I’ve ridden against some of these jockeys, like Pierre-Charles Boudot and Jessica Marcialis in the Arc and Breeders’ Cup weekends. It’s nice to be associated with these high-quality names and events, and I’m really looking forward to it.”

Also like Buick, Foley will be in action the day after the challenge.

He added: “We have Barbados going for owner Mr Zhang in the Long Distance Turf Handicap on Saturday, and if he can reproduce his (Irish) St Leger run then he will be bang there. I’m just hoping the ground is not really firm. He’ll handle nice quick ground – if it gets too firm that will be the only negative, but I’ve heard the ground last year was beautiful.

“It would be massive, and for the owner as well. He’s a big supporter of mine, and I’ve been retained by him for the last couple of years. He’s always stood by me and he has invested quite heavily in the game.

“Last year he had his first Group One winner with Lucky Vega, and it would be great to have a winner out on Saudi Cup day for him because he’s a proud and competitive man.”

Oisin Murphy confirmed as champion jockey once more

Oisin Murphy will officially be crowned Britain’s champion Flat jockey for a second time at Doncaster on Saturday after William Buick’s faint hopes of lifting the crown ended at Newcastle on Friday evening.

Reigning champion Murphy signed off for the season with a double at Southwell on Tuesday to take his tally for the campaign to 142, after which he headed for Kentucky to ride The Lir Jet and Kameko at the Breeders’ Cup.

Buick closed the gap to nine with a winner at Kempton on Wednesday and a double at the same venue on Thursday – but his championship ambitions were dealt a major blow after Thursday’s card was abandoned after three races due to fog, meaning Buick missed four rides.

With seven booked rides on the final afternoon at Doncaster on Saturday, Buick needed to steer home at least two winners from four mounts at Newcastle to keep the title race alive.

After finishing fourth aboard Mustarrid in the first race and second on Frow in division one of the seven-furlong handicap, Buick was relying on Strong Steps to win division two to make a title win mathematically possible.

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However, the Jim Goldie-trained eight-year-old could manage only sixth place, forcing Buick to admit defeat in his gallant pursuit of a first jockeys’ championship.

Murphy told Great British Racing: “I’m incredibly proud to have won a second champion jockey title and I’m extremely thankful for the team around me that have enabled me to do so – my agent, manager, driver, form-man, and family.

“It’s huge to win two jockeys’ championships in two years and beyond my wildest dreams. I tried my absolute best to do so and thank you to everyone who has helped along the way.

“I’m particularly proud of my strike rate for Andrew Balding. Sheikh Fahad allowed me to go wherever I wanted to and for that I must thank him and all the team at Qatar Racing too.”

Amongst his 142 wins, Murphy claimed his maiden Classic success when securing the 2000 Guineas aboard the Balding-trained Kameko.

Balding, who trained 45 of Murphy’s winners overall, said: “Oisin has been an integral part of Kingsclere’s success since he joined us as an apprentice, and this year has been no different.

“We have enjoyed 45 wins together this season, but the obvious one that stands out is of course Kameko’s win in the 2000 Guineas, that was such a special day for everyone involved. To also win another Group One in the Cheveley Park Stakes with Alcohol Free was a brilliant moment for the yard.

“Oisin set out to win the champion jockey title again this year and his hard work and dedication is exactly why he has achieved that goal. He is a great person to have around the yard and we are delighted for him.”

Like Murphy, Cieren Fallon is also a successful defending champion – becoming the first jockey to retain the apprentice title in 32 years.

Fallon, 21, who finished the campaign on 43 wins, including a first Group One triumph, aboard Oxted in the July Cup, repeats the achievement of Gary Bardwell who won consecutive apprentice titles in 1987 and 1988.

It is a double for Qatar, too, as Fallon was recently second jockey to Murphy.

Fallon said: “It’s an amazing achievement for me, it is something I set out to do after the success of last year. I’ve been very lucky to have the people I have around me to help me achieve these goals – my jockey coach, nutritionist, a great boss in Sheikh Fahad, William and Maureen Haggas, my mum and dad.

“They are all the best at what they do, so I’m very lucky to be in the position.”

He added: “Winning the July Cup with Oxted is obviously the greatest highlight of my year and a memorable day.”

Buick vows to continue title chase after Lingfield double

William Buick kept up his bid for a first Flat Jockeys’ title with a double at Lingfield on Thursday, only for reigning champion Oisin Murphy to hit back with a four-timer at Chelmsford’s evening meeting.

Buick, completed his brace aboard the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Sorrel, who backed up recent wins at Leicester and Doncaster in the Ladbrokes EBF River Eden Fillies’ Stakes.

Picking up smartly once sent on by Buick down the home straight, the Dansili filly had more than enough in hand to hold off the staying-on Elizabethofaragon by a length and three-quarters.

Buick said of the 3-1 winner: “She has got her valuable black type and she stays very well. She is very straightforward, she is progressive and that was lovely. She definitely felt like she stepped forward from Doncaster.

“It went beautifully to plan today. The pace was pretty good. I could have done with a couple of them leading me a bit further, but she is filly that I know stays going in front.

“I don’t know what her future plans are, but she has won a Listed race now, so those staying Group races would have to be on her radar.”

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Murphy’s Chelmsford wins give him a double-figure lead over Buick, but he has vowed to continue fighting all the way until the conclusion of the season at Doncaster on Saturday week.

Buick, who also struck on Fame N Fortune (5-4) in the Betway Handicap, added: “Obviously we have just over a week left, but I’m enjoying it still. We’ve chased it for a fair while now. We are where we are, but we will give it our absolute best shot until the end.”

The George Baker-trained Fame N Fortune (5-4) got the ball rolling for Buick when following up his recent course-and-distance success by a length and a quarter in the Betway Handicap.

Frankie Dettori steered Indie Angel to the most significant success of her career in the Ladbrokes EBF Fleur De Lys Fillies’ Stakes.

Having his first ride since finishing down the field on Alternative Fact in the Balmoral Handicap on British Champions Day at Ascot earlier in the month, Dettori was anchored close to the rear of the field for much of the race, before sweeping around the outside entering the final furlong and quickening clear to score by a length and a quarter.

Dettori said of John Gosden’s 12-1 winner, who he was riding for the first time: “I was listening to Rab (Havlin) and John and they told me to sit back and go around the outside of the field as she doesn’t like to go through horses and it worked a treat.

“She liked to have some clear air on the outside and she has won well. I started making my move just after the three as we were rolling downhill and we had some momentum.

“The most important thing was to get black type and get in the first three. Winning is a bonus, but she has done it well.”

Connections of Documenting are dreaming of a second appearance on All-Weather Championships Finals Day after the Kevin Frost-trained seven-year-old got up on the line to land the Bombardier British-Hopped Amber Beer Handicap by a neck.

Mick Brunt, member of joint-owners Kevin Frost Racing Club, said: “On Finals Day the year before last, unfortunately there wasn’t a seven-furlong race and he had to run over a mile. He ran well and came sixth, but this is his distance.

“It (Finals Day) was the plan before it was called off (in April). The decision was do we go for the six or the eight and I suppose that decision is there in the background.”

Tom Marquand got in on the double act, which was initiated by the Sylvester Kirk-trained newcomer Invite, who ran out a two-and-a-quarter-length winner of division two of the Play Ladbrokes 5-A-Side On Football/EBF Fillies’ Novice Median Auction Stakes.

Marquand said of the 18-1 winner: “She was nice and relaxed and pretty professional and she finished the job off with some effect.

“She could definitely go a mile on a track like this, but she showed a good bit of toe there.”

Jacinth (4-5) went one better than on her previous start at Chelmsford to form the second leg of Marquand’s haul with a decisive five-length victory in the Ladbrokes Watch Racing Online For Free/EBF Novice Stakes.

Marquand said of the William Haggas-trained winner: “She was impressive to be fair and I think the track suited her. She kicked off the bend pretty smartly. I probably rode her wrong last time, but hopefully we have made up for it today.”

Wonderful result for David Menuisier

Wonderful Tonight backed up her first Group One success of just two weeks earlier with a determined performance to win the Qipco British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes at Ascot.

David Menuisier’s decision to run record producer Christopher Wright’s three-year-old so soon after the Prix de Royallieu at ParisLongchamp was fully vindicated.

A brave move by William Buick to set sail for home over three furlongs out on the 4-1 favourite paid off, after Manuela De Vega had ensured a good end-to-end gallop.

Hollie Doyle – bidding for a sensational hat-trick after wining the first two races on Trueshan and Glen Shiel – gave chase on Dame Malliot, but had to settle for second place, two and a half lengths behind the winner.

Passion was a length back in third, with Mehdaayih two lengths away in fourth place.

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Menuisier said: “We know she is very good, the only question mark was whether she had recuperated from Arc weekend or not. I hadn’t, but I’m glad she did. She is top class all round. She is easy train, to be fair, and is tough as anything. She is getting better and better.

“There is still some improvement to come. She is a tad keen early on. Once she really knows how to settle I think she can go up a notch again. You never know with fillies if they will train on or not, but we wanted to keep her as a four-year-old to target the Arc next year.

“We nearly ran in the Arc this year and I think she would have run a stormer. She wasn’t a Group One winner, but now she is the sky is the limit.”

He went on: “We knew she was up to that level and we knew she could do it, but when you bring her back after two weeks you never know what you are going to find under pressure. She did give us the right signals, she was jumping around and squealing all week. It is incredible how hard she is. She keeps finding all the time. She doesn’t know what defeat is.

https://twitter.com/Ascot/status/1317463122119196672

“I feel so lucky. We got her for 40,000 euros as a yearling and now she has won her second Group One inside two weeks. It is the stuff dreams are made of. When she ran on Arc weekend I couldn’t go as I was planning to go to Tattersalls (sales) the following week.

“I was actually a nervous wreck. I think I must have cried for half an hour non stop once she passed the line. Here, being on site, you feel a bit more in control. She makes me proud. Any horse at any level that tries their hardest you have to take your hat off.

“Managing to win a Group One on Arc weekend and here for a small stable is just fantastic. She is the legacy of seeds Thundering Blue planted two or three years ago. There is a bit of him in her being so tough. It was his trait to be very tough and he didn’t know what defeat was either.”

Buick said: “This filly, she’s rock solid. David was very confident beforehand, she’s just very straightforward. She’s proven on the ground and she stays well, so she ticks a lot of boxes and to be honest with you I’ve been looking forward to riding this filly all week.

Wonderful Tonight (left) is now a dual Group One winner
Wonderful Tonight (left) is now a dual Group One winner (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

“She was out on her own all the way up the straight, it’s a long, daunting straight no matter what you’re riding (but she was fantastic).”

Doyle said of Dame Malliot: “She has run really well. She was a bit keen early on, as expected. She has done nothing wrong in defeat.

“To be honest I followed the winner the whole way round. I thought ‘perfect, pitch here’, but Will pushed the button and he took a few lengths out of me, whereas she just stayed on the one pace.”

Aidan O’Brien runners in Fillies’ Mile mix-up

Confusion reigned at Newmarket on Friday after Aidan O’Brien’s Snowfall was named as the third-placed finisher in the bet365 Fillies’ Mile, when it was in fact her stable companion Mother Earth.

A field of 10 runners went to post for the Group One feature on the Rowley Mile, with victory going to 5-2 favourite Pretty Gorgeous, trained by Aidan’s son, Joseph O’Brien, by half a length from the John Gosden-trained Indigo Girl.

It was thought 50-1 shot Snowfall had finished a further half-length away in third in the hands of James Doyle, with Mother Earth eighth of the 10 runners under William Buick.

However, it subsequently became evident the horse that had passed the post in third was in fact 18-1 chance Mother Earth, the darker of the two fillies, with the lighter Snowfall back in the field.

While Doyle was correctly sporting the pink cap and the number nine saddle cloth assigned to Snowfall, he was in fact riding Mother Earth.

O’Brien admitted his on-course staff had mixed up the two fillies.

He told the PA news agency from his Ballydoyle base: “I didn’t see the race, I just listened to it. Someone brought it to my attention then afterwards – that someone had tweeted that they were the wrong fillies.

“I went straight away to look at the race and the minute I saw them coming out of the stalls I knew that they were the wrong fillies.

“Obviously I rang the BHA (British Horseracing Authority) straight away and said it to them.

“What happened was that our lads put the wrong saddles on the wrong fillies.”

The BHA will hold an enquiry before racing at Newmarket on Saturday.

A BHA spokesperson said: “The stewards have been made aware of a potential issue regarding the Group One Fillies’ Mile at Newmarket today which have resulted in the incorrect rider and number cloths being carried by the two horses trained by Aidan O’Brien.

“A stewards enquiry will be held on the racecourse tomorrow to consider all of the relevant evidence and determine the course of events and what action needs to be taken.”