By Duane Fonseca
Charlie Appleby finished Group level action during Arc weekend the way he started it - with victory.
And while Manobo won him and Godolphin the Group 2 Prix Chaudenay, the first of the Group level races Saturday, his star sprinter Space Blues rounded off the scoring when spectacularly dominating the field to win the Group 1 Prix de la Foret.
The 5yo full son of Dubawi turned up with one of his best career performances to see out the 1400m contest in style and with an impressive two length success to show.
Space Blues was unable to take his chance in Europe’s only Group One contest over seven furlongs for the last two years, but he more than made up when he finally made the field. Having won two of his previous four starts this year in a valuable sprint contest at Riyadh and then the Group 2 City of York Stakes in August, Space Blues took his spot in the gates. He was held up in the early stages and was third last turning for home in the field of 15, but jockey William Buick appeared to have the confidence and moved his partner to the outside from where he swept to the lead in the final furlong and won with two to spare from Paddy Twomey’s William Lee driven Pearls Galore, who was headed 100m out. A further three fourths back in third was Yoshito Yahagi’s Japanese raider Entscheiden with Ryusei Sakai up.
Victory gave Appleby the confidence needed looking to next month’s Breeders’ Cup Mile.
The Newmarket based handler said: “I was delighted the way he’d worked in the last week, after I bubble-wrapped him after the York race.
“His final gallop was the best I've ever seen him work, and I thought he was a worthy favourite. The team did a great job with him. I knew on Wednesday he was in the form of his life.
“William was able to get his lungs filled up and you could see how well they were travelling. Although the ground will be totally different (quicker) at Del Mar, I might suggest we take him there. He's a class horse and showed us that the way he quickened up today.”
Buick added: “He's a machine. He's one of my favourite horses. He's generous, easy to ride and has a lot of class.
“With him, you just have to sit back and wait for him to deliver his finishing kick. The Breeders’ Cup Mile is a two-turn race and he’s adaptable enough to do well there.”