Old Persian outclasses rivals to win Grade 1 Northern Dancer Turf at Woodbine
By Duane Fonseca
Godolphin’s Old Persian turned in a classy performance under James Doyle to win the Grade 1 Northern Dancer Turf at Woodbine for trainer Charlie Appleby on Saturday.
Slow out of from the inside stall, the 4yo Dubawi colt and Doyle were forced to pick up speed early on and settled in at third as Cooler Mike raced to the front to set up a nearly 14 length lead early on from Tiz A Slam, who was second a further five lengths ahead. The pressure was on Cooler Mike and going at that the pace he went sooner or later it seemed fair to think he would cool down and run out of steam.
And that’s exactly what happened as Tiz A Slam took the running off him only to cede the initiative to Doyle and Old Persian without a fight. At the wire, Old Persian was two and a half lengths clear of Nessy, with Focus Group a nose behind in third as Tiz A Slam faded to fourth.
Winner of the Group 2 Dubai City of Gold, the Super Saturday course and distance prep for the Group 1 Dubai Sheema Classic on Dubai World Cup night, Old Persian was seventh in the Group 1 Coronation Cup at Epsom in May and then placed third in the 129th Longines Grosser Preis von Berlin at Hoppegarten in August.
Alex Merriam, assistant to trainer Appleby, said: “He didn’t run great in the Coronation back at Epsom after a good run in Dubai.
“We were pleased enough with his run in Germany and I think the ground was a bit on the soft side for him there. James gave him a nice ride today and it worked out well.”
Asked if connections would consider waiting for next month’s Grade 1 Pattison Canadian International, having won its course and distance prep in the form of the Northern Dancer Turf, Merriam added: “Not quite sure at the moment.
“I spoke to Charlie and he said we’ll go back to Europe and see how he is, see how he comes out of the race and make a plan from there. No immediate plans at the minute.”