Yibir delivers Voltigeur victory for Appleby and Doyle

Yibir bounced back from a disappointing run at Goodwood to land the Sky Bet Great Voltigeur Stakes at York.

The Dubawi gelding was the second string for Godolphin and trainer Charlie Appleby behind Kemari after finishing unplaced in the Gordon Stakes, but came out on top with an emphatic display in this Group Two over a mile and a half.

The Mediterranean, one of three runners for trainer Aidan O’Brien, set the pace and did not give up the lead without a fight but he finally had to give way to Yibir.

The 6-1 shot, who had won the Bahrain Trophy at Newmarket’s July meeting, was produced by James Doyle to hit the front in the final furlong and pull away to score by a length and a quarter. The Mediterranean held on for second by half a length from Youth Spirit, who just held Sir Lucan for third spot.

The Mediterranean was cut to 10-1 from 33-1 for the Cazoo St Leger with Betfair. Yibir is not qualified to run at Doncaster as he is a gelding.

Appleby said: “Everyone is asking me if it was a surprise, but the rule of thumb is I try not to run them if I don’t think they’re going to run well. It doesn’t always work out, mind you!

“He’s been such a great work horse and has danced every dance.

“We put him in those (Derby) trials for a reason in the spring – we really fancied him as being a proper mile-and-a-half horse.

“We’ve had our quirks with him – he’s been gelded and we’ve had the hood on and the hood off.

“We were delighted with him on his first start after the gelding operation in the Bahrain Trophy, but he still tended to have a little wander, and then at Goodwood he just latched on and ran his race the wrong way round.

“The plan today was to put the hood on and I told James to bury him, so he can learn to do things the right way round going forward.

“He’s got a lot of potential and it’s just about trying to get him on his right day.

“His constitution is a credit to himself as he’s had plenty of racing and doesn’t miss out in the mornings.”

Yibir is now set to head to America
Yibir is now set to head to America (Nigel French/PA)

On future plans, the trainer added: “It was always the plan after this to hopefully go to America with him for the Jockey Club Stakes at Belmont – a three-year-old race over a mile and a half.

“He’s a gelding now, so he’ll up for a bit of travelling and we’ll have a bit of fun with him.”

The Moulton Paddocks handler also provided an update on plans for his Derby and King George hero Adayar and his Irish Derby-winning stablemate Hurricane Lane.

Hurricane Lane is set to be Appleby's runner in the St Leger
Hurricane Lane is set to be Appleby’s runner in the St Leger (Lorraine O’Sullivan/PA)

He said: “Thankfully we seem to have the strength in depth with the three-year-olds and we’re coming into the autumn now with Adayar and Hurricane Lane.

“They’re both in great order and have had a nice little break since their last starts.

“We’ll head to the Prix Niel with Adayar and the plan is to go straight to the St Leger with Hurricane Lane.”

Andrew Balding is planning to head to Doncaster with Youth Spirit.

He said: “I’m thrilled with that, he seems to stay very well. He’s got the Leger entry and that is probably where we’ll head with him.”

Yibir steps up in style for Trophy gains

Yibir added his name to Charlie Appleby’s team of smart three-year-olds when winning the Bahrain Trophy at Newmarket.

Appleby won the Cazoo Derby at Epsom with Adayar and the Irish Derby at the Curragh with Hurricane Lane, and at the start of this season Yibir was probably held in just as high regard as those two.

He ended last year by winning the prestigious Haynes, Hanson & Clark conditions race at Newbury and held Classic aspirations himself.

Immediately behind Adayar when third at Sandown and second to Lone Eagle at Goodwood, this Group Three assignment was a first for the son of Dubawi since being gelded and also a first try at a mile and five furlongs.

Gear Up tried to make all, but he soon looked a sitting duck and with over a furlong to run James Doyle hit the front on the 6-4 favourite who comfortably saw off the previously unbeaten Mandoob by two and a half lengths.

Appleby said: “On the dam’s side of his pedigree, stepping him up in trip was always going to help him, but we tried it with Wild Illusion (sister) and she didn’t actually get the mile and a half.

Yibir leads them home at Newmarket
Yibir leads them home at Newmarket (Tim Goode/PA)

“We’ve always felt this horse was a bit awkward in the last furlong or so of his races and he’s been gelded since his last start – we felt we weren’t getting the full potential out of him.

“I wouldn’t say it’s changed his home work as he’s always been a good work horse, but we thought coming into today, if we could just ride him cold, I felt he’d have the class to take himself there comfortably enough.

“Bar the last Classic of the year, he’s opened himself up for plenty of options. But we’re very fortunate at the moment that the three-year-old middle-distance camp is very strong.

“We’ll put him back in the pack and see who is going where and doing what over the next few weeks. There’s no immediate plans.”

Ontario latest Dee day contender for O’Brien

Ontario bids to continue Aidan O’Brien’s recent domination of the tote+ Biggest Dividends At Dee Stakes at Chester on Thursday.

The Ballydoyle handler has saddled six of the last eight winners of the recognised Derby trial, with multiple Group One winner Circus Maximus landing the most recent renewal in 2019.

Although this year’s candidate has managed only one victory from eight previous starts, he has run some fine races in defeat, perhaps most notably finishing a close-up third behind Derby prospect and subsequent Group One scorer Mac Swiney in the Futurity Stakes.

Ontario made a promising start to the new campaign when third behind the Queen’s Tactical in the Free Handicap at Newmarket three weeks ago, and steps up to an extended mile and a quarter for the first time on the Roodee.

Ontario will be ridden by Ryan Moore, who told Betfair: “He looks to hold pretty strong claims.

“He finished a good third in what appears a decent Free Handicap on his return, and his pedigree would give you every encouragement that the step up from seven to 10 furlongs or so here will suit this Galileo colt a lot better.

“He finished second in a Royal Lodge at two, while he also finished third to Mac Swiney in soft ground in the Futurity at the Curragh, so you’d have to be pretty hopeful, though his draw (stall seven) could have been better, obviously.”

The likely favourite for the Listed contest is the Charlie Appleby-trained Yibir, who was narrowly beaten in the Sandown Classic Trial on his reappearance.

Yibir is a high-class prospect for Charlie Appleby
Yibir is a high-class prospect for Charlie Appleby (Tim Goode/PA)

A full-brother to top-class racemare Wild Illusion, the son of Dubawi is fitted with cheekpieces for the first time.

“He’s sharpened up for that run at Sandown quite noticeably at home,” said Appleby.

“We’re putting the cheekpieces on him, just because he’s got similar characteristics to his sister – it’s not that he’s ungenuine, it’s just to keep him focussed.

“We didn’t want to put the cheekpieces on and step him up to a mile and a half at the same time, so we opted to keep him to 10 furlongs.”

Sir Michael Stoute trained the last horse to complete the Dee Stakes-Derby double in 2003 victor Kris Kin.

This year the master of Freemason Lodge is represented by Maximal, who filled the runner-up spot behind Appleby’s Hurricane Lane in a competitive conditions race at Newbury last month.

Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager for owner-breeders Juddmonte, said: “He ran a good race at Newbury and has come out of it well – he’s been straightforward since.

“It’s a good spot for him. He’s a neat horse and I think he will handle the track.

“He will need to have come on as this looks a pretty competitive race all round, I would say.

“The going is a little bit of an unknown, but he is by Galileo, so hopefully he’ll cope with it.”

The most inexperienced horse in the field with just two runs under his belt is Andrew Balding’s Foxes Tales.

Second on his racecourse debut at Kempton in December, the Zoffany colt went one better on his three-year-old debut at Newbury.

The trainer’s wife, Anna Lisa Balding, said: “He’s a really nice horse, Foxes Tales – he’s so good looking. He’s done nothing wrong so far and has physically gone the right way.

“Andrew has been quite patient with him and the jockeys who ride him at home really like him.”

Earlswood (Johnny Murtagh), El Drama (Roger Varian) and outsider Luther Cee (Henry Spiller) are the other hopefuls.

Yibir makes all for conditions glory at Newbury

Yibir added his name to an illustrious roll of honour as he continued his progression with a tenacious front-running victory in the 40 Year Anniversary Haynes, Hanson & Clark Conditions Stakes at Newbury.

The Dubawi colt backed up his recent maiden success at Sandown to give trainer Charlie Appleby his second win in the mile prize, which has previously been claimed by the likes of 1981 Derby winner Shergar, Rainbow Quest, King’s Theatre and Nayef.

Racing together with Baradar, the 5-2 shot, who is a full-brother to multiple Group One winner Wild Illusion, found plenty for pressure to hold favourite Megallan at bay by a length.

Winning rider William Buick said: “He is a big horse, but he has done nothing wrong and is learning on the job. Today he has come forward again.

“It was nice ground here today and stepping up to a mile has suited him. He is the type of horse, looking at him, that whatever he does this year, he will do better next year.

“It was a small field and there was no real plan to make the running. I just went with how the horse felt and he was comfortable doing what he was doing.

“The early fractions were slow so he was always going to finish his race well, but I like the way he responded.”

Yibir was introduced at 50-1 for next year’s 2000 Guineas and Derby by Paddy Power, and Buick expects further improvement in 2021.

He added: “It is early days so it is hard to say how far he will go, but he is bred to be very good and he has done nothing wrong so far in his life.

“A mile is perfect for him at the moment, but he will get further next year.”

Roger Teal looks to have unearthed another potential gem in Whenthedealinsdone (4-1), who held Twilight Calls by a head in the British Stallion Studs EBF Maiden Stakes.

The Lambourn handler said: “We are very excited by him. We will keep our feet on the floor, but I think we’ve found another one. He was first off the bridle but when Jason (Watson) asked him, he responded gamely.

“I’ll have a look at the programme book now. If the ground stays nice, I would like to have go at something better this season.”

Last year’s Derby seventh Humanitarian made a triumphant return from a 455-day absence when getting up close home to defeat Dubai Future by a neck in the Dubai Duty Free Handicap.

Winning rider James Doyle said of the John Gosden-trained 7-2 shot: “He put in some nice performances before things didn’t pan out for him behind Japan at Ascot on his last start in the King Edward VII Stakes, but before that he had run a nice race in the Derby.

“He did well there, lumping that weight round. He stuck at it well having taken a good grip all the way round and that will have helped taken the freshness out of him.”

Doyle had earlier notched up the first leg of a hat-trick aboard Mirage Mac (5-1), who is likely to have her sights raised significantly following her short-head verdict in the Racing TV Novice Median Auction Stakes.

George Boughey, winning trainer, said: “She has done well beating the colts. She is a lovely filly and is versatile ground wise.

“There is a Listed race over a mile (Montrose Stakes) at the back end of the year we could look at, but we are in no rush with her.”

Doyle completed his hat-trick aboard the Appleby-trained Glorious Journey in the Dubai Duty Free Cup Stakes.

Lucid Dreamer (10-11) maintained her unbeaten record to give trainer Roger Charlton a third successive victory in the Dubai Duty Free Full Of Surprises British EBF Fillies’ Conditions Stakes.

After sending out subsequent Fillies’ Mile winner Quadrilateral to glory 12 months ago, the Beckhampton handler repeated the trick with the Dansili filly, who ran out a two-and-three-quarter-length winner of the seven-furlong affair.

Charlton said: “We’ve been lucky with this race. She jumped a little bit to the right and we were then a little bit keen and green, but she went down to the 10-furlong to pull up, so I guess she has done well really.

“She has travelled well, picked up well and I don’t think a mile will be a problem. I guess something like the Oh Sharp Stakes could be for her as there are not many mile races about.”