THE 3YO colts Nations Pride and Noble Truth set themselves up for significantly higher targets over the coming months with comprehensive Listed victories for Charlie Appleby and William Buick at Newmarket on Friday. Nations Pride maintained his progressive profile as he gained a fourth straight win in the Newmarket Stakes over 1m2f.

The Teofilo colt, twice victorious on the allweather last season before capturing the Jumeirah Derby at Meydan in February, raced in a close second of the four runners for much of the contest. Nation’s Pride moved up to challenge Austrian Theory for the lead over 3f out and kicked for home soon after.

He quickened clear entering the final furlong and opened up further daylight in the closing stages, scoring by a full seven lengths over Hoo Ya Mal. Charlie Appleby said: “William was very complimentary after he rode Nations Pride in a piece of work the other day and he felt that the horse had definitely come forward since Dubai.

We feel that stepping up in trip will see further improvement. “Tactically, the plan was to go out there and put it to a couple of the inexperienced horses by getting them racing a long way out. Once William stole a length or two, I was always confident that Nations Pride would pull further away on the rising ground.

“We have more Derby trials coming up at Chester, York, Lingfield and Goodwood and we have a couple of nice horses for those races, so we will see where we are in terms of Derby horses after they have run. “I would be leaning more towards the Group 2 King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot for Nations Pride but we will see how the cards fall over the next ten days.

The Derby is the one race we want to win but Royal Ascot is around the corner afterwards and you have to keep a few fresh legs for it.” Noble Truth bounced back to the level of form that saw him finish second in last year’s Group 1 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere as he spreadeagled his rivals in the 7f Listed King Charles II Stakes.

Returning to turf after failing to act on dirt in the Saudi Derby, the Kingman colt led a group of two who raced up the far rail, with the three other horses electing to race up the centre of the course. Noble Truth had established a decisive advantage entering the final 2f and continued to pour it on in front, hitting the line six lengths clear of Honey Sweet.

Charlie Appleby said: “We felt that Noble Truth had conditions to suit today and it was a great ride by William. Our plan was to come away from the pack as we didn’t want him to over race with horses around him. “My first thought was that he could be a horse for the Group 3 Jersey Stakes but William feels that he has enough natural pace to drop back to 6f, which could bring the Group 1 Commonwealth Cup into consideration. The stiff six at Ascot might just suit him.”