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27 Sep 2018
Issue Number: Issue 648
Seemar can only hope for another upward performance from North America
Dubai playing a key role in British racing, says Jockey Club boss
Busybody Tadhg looks to scale mountains after climbing Hills
Nass’ trial and error style seems to be working wonders for him
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Hawk more than fits the Bill


UNRULY in the stalls and forced to pass a veterinary inspection before finally taking his chance, Hawkbill then made virtually every post a winning one under William Buick in the 2410m Group 1 Sheema Classic, completing a top flight turf treble on the card for Godolphin and a double for Charlie Appleby. Previously without a winner on the World Cup card, Appleby had earlier saddled Jungle Cat to land the Al Quoz Sprint under James Doyle having seen his supposed main hope, Blue Point and Buick, withdrawn at the start and must have been concerned when Hawkbill, who has a tendency to sweat up, appeared to get caught up in the stalls.

Buick dismounted and the horse was reversed out of the stalls, reunited with his jockey and trotted, to the satisfaction of the vet, before being allowed to line up with the other nine runners. That was perhaps the last moment of any real concern for Appleby with Buick, wearing the white ‘second’ cap, able to get to the front and settle Hawkbill in front of Mickael Barzalona, in the all blue of Godolphin, on Cloth Of Stars and trained in France by Andre Fabre, who refused to settle before plugging on gamely in the straight. In fact, the first three pretty much occupied those positions the whole way round with Poet’s Word, ridden by Frankie Dettori for Sir Michael Stoute, stalking the two Godolphin runners and staying on dourly to deny Cloth Of Stars second close home.

However, it was a fairly comfortable victory in the end for Hawkbill with Buick’s mount, allowed to set a slow early gallop before quickening impressively early in the straight, crossing the line three lengths clear. Buick explained: “He was playing around in the gates, basically, because he just wanted to get on with the race and managed to get his leg hooked up in the partition. “Luckily he did not harm himself or Satono Crown in the stall adjacent and he trotted up sound in front of the vet. “He was soon in a lovely rhythm and I was always happy; at halfway I knew I had plenty of horse left and it was just a case of whether something would emerge from the pack.

“He has then really quickened at the top of the straight and that was a very good performance, certainly his best.” A ringing endorsement indeed for a horse who won the Group 1 Coral Eclipse at Sandown in 2016 and whose most recent victory had been on Super Saturday in the course and distance prep, the Group 2 Dubai City of Gold. A delighted Appleby added: “When he started playing up in the stalls, after Blue Point earlier, I thought ‘oh no, here we go again’ but, luckily he was fine. “I have to say, William has given him a superb ride; he set a modest tempo, gave him a breather, before increasing the pressure leaving the turn. “That is my final runner of 2018 at Meydan and to have a World Cup night double is the perfect way to end what has been a marvellous carnival.

“We have a great team at home and the hard work has paid off so I am delighted for them, the jockeys and, of course, Sheikh Mohammed to whom I am eternally grateful for this amazing opportunity. “Going into it we were hopeful he’d run well and we’ll look at a race in Hong Kong at the end of May. We’ll let the horse decide.”

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