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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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Wild Appleby celebrations are fact, not Illusion


TAKE A BOW William Buick: with no obvious pace in the 1m2f Group 1 Nassau Stakes, the highlight of last Thursday’s Glorious Goodwood card and the big race of the week for fillies and mares, he took the bull by the horns and went straight to the head of affairs on Wild Illusion. And there they stayed! Almost exactly five years since being appointed to the Godolphin role, it was another ‘big race feather’ in the cap of Charlie Appleby who is enjoying a remarkable 2018, highlighted by the Derby victory of Masar at Epsom.

A homebred 3yo Dubawi filly, Wild Illusion almost completed a memorable Epsom Classic double for the team when finding only Forever Together too strong in the Oaks. Appleby, who tends to wear his heart on his sleeve and was infamously caught on video leaping around Epsom cheering on Masar at Epsom, said: “It’s been a stellar season and I’m very fortunate to be in this position. HH Sheikh Mohammed and the royal family have supported me very well and have been very kind to me. “It’s simply my job to try to put these winners on the board at this level. The only problem is we have put ourselves on a pedestal and now have to maintain it.”

Appleby is without Masar for the rest of the year but should not be short of other ammunition, with Wild Illusion showing she is a hard filly to peg back when allowed to dictate. Buick was never for catching once he began to drive on from a furlong out, holding Urban Fox and Veracious to win by two lengths and a short head on the filly’s return to 10f. “I felt dropping back in trip was going to help and William is great on the front end,” said Appleby. “He’s given her a lovely tactical ride from the front and used her stamina from half a mile out. “Over a mile and a half you could question whether she was outstayed in both the Oaks and Ribblesdale but she has a Group One tag as both a 2yo and 3yo now.

“The job for the rest of the season is to pick the right races, and easier ground will help. She’s in the Yorkshire Oaks and Arc, but we could look at the Opera.” A delighted Buick, winning the race for the third time after Winsili in 2013 and Sultanina the following year, was ecstatic and said: “Basically, I was always happy; Wild Illusion was in a lovely rhythm in front and enjoying herself. “Approaching the 3f pole, I wanted her to come off the bridle just so we could get on with it and win our race there. She was motoring from there and stayed on really well to the line. “She’s raced from the front in the past and we were always very comfortable. Wild Illusion really deserved it. She ran very well in the Oaks before finishing second in the Ribblesdale and Charlie has done a great job with her in keeping her fresh.

“I’ve always felt this filly has been a Group One filly, so it’s great. She has done nothing but improve. When I rode her at home last weekend, she did something pretty special, so we were quite hopeful. “Charlie has done a fantastic job with her; every run Wild Illusion has had, she has come forward which for a 3yo filly is a testament in itself. “She was very good over 1m2f there. We’ll get her home before making any decision. It would be nice for her to have a good autumn campaign. “I think the way we have been riding her in the past has been the correct way, but she has possibly not been running over the right trip. “I also think on pedigree and the way she is, she is only going to keep developing and progressing hopefully. “This has been a defining year for all of us in Godolphin.

We are guided by Sheikh Mohammed who of course sets very high goals and standards, and we try our best to meet them. It is great when you are winning as you know you are doing something right.” Earlier on the card, Appleby and Buick almost initiated a double with their Meydan Classic winner Zaman who also tried to make all in a 1m2f handicap. Headed over 2f out, he kept fighting back, trying to regain the initiative but forced to settle for second when he could not withstand the challenge of Communique. However, Godolphin did breed the winner as Communique represents the always powerful combination of Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed and Mark Johnston.

It was a third career and second consecutive victory, all at 1m2f, for the 3yo son of Casamento who picked up very well when securing racing daylight. Johnston, who completed a double when Accordance won the 7f fillies’ maiden, said: “After he won at Newbury earlier this season we might have thought he’d be moving on to even bigger things, but he had a couple of slightly disappointing runs when things didn’t go his way, and they went very much his way today. “People talk about keeping horses busy, but he hasn’t had a gallop at home since before the season started, so he’s not particularly busy and they all thrive on racing. “He’s rated 97 so the next step is either more valuable handicaps or to go up to Pattern company.”

The roles, just at they had been in the Derby at Epsom, were then reversed on Saturday when Sheikh Hamdan’s Dee Ex Bee, second to Godolphin’s Masar in that the most prestigious of Classics, again found a Godolphin rival too strong, on this occasion Cross Counter who lowered the 1m4f track record in the Group 3 Gordon Stakes. Winner of a handicap at Ascot previously and representing the same Charlie Appleby and William Buick combination as Masar the 3yo gelded son, like Wild Illusion, went straight to the front and stayed there. Buick said: “It was a lovely performance from Cross Counter. Charlie has brought him on lovely and he’s not the finished article yet so there is more to come. “He has opened up a lot of doors with this win.

He is going to stay in training and is only going to keep progressing. I think he is very talented and he put a long distance between himself and his rivals. “We didn’t go flat out but it was an even gallop and it wasn’t a falsely run race by any means. He managed to quicken off the front again, which is always a very good sign. “It was a track record and was a quality performance, beating a very good. stayer in Dee Ex Bee in second and it was great that he could make the step up to this grade.” The same pairings also dominated the penultimate event of Glorious Goodwood, a 7f handicap in which Buick looked poised to strike aboard On The Warpath only to find Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed’s Vale Of Kent too stubborn and he could not get past.

It was a fourth winner of the week for Johnston securing a 12th ‘Glorious Goodwood leading trainer’ accolade with Ryan Moore taking the jockeys equivalent for a fifth time and third consecutively. The big sprint handicap of the week, also on Saturday, the 6f Stewards’ Cup announced the arrival of apprentice Jason Watson on the ‘festival scene’; sporting the silks of Dr Ali Al Ridha, he produced Gifted Master to lead in the very last stride for Hugo Palmer.

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