THE beauty of horse racing was encapsulated perfectly on Saturday.
The classy Sceau Royal whizzed around Wincanton to score yet another incredible success and Knicks Go made all the running to annihilate his opposition in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
Two races on opposite sides of the pond, but both representing what is fantastic about the Sport of Kings. Almost two different sports. But both fabulous.
Forgive me for reflecting a little bit on the Breeders’ Cup, but hey I was there and it was fun!
Let’s start with Charlie Appleby. Now you may or may not think that a trainer cares if he is the number one on planet Earth or not, and that it’s just about the $ or £ signs at the end of the campaign.
But trust me, Appleby does care and Chad Brown does as well. I talked to both of them about it. They care because, while these guys may not be athletes, forgive me Charlie, they are sports people, and sports people like to win.
That’s why Appleby likes to be considered number one in the world. And hell Charlie I’m pretty sure you’re number in the one in the world right now.
Appleby has been awesome all year from start to finish. From Dubai to the Guineas meeting at Newmarket to winning the Derby with Adayar to landing the Irish Derby with Hurricane Lane and to now winning three Breeders’ Cup races.
Modern Games looked a massive talent in the Juvenile Turf, Space Blues did loads better in the Mile than I thought he would on ground I thought might be too quick.
But Appleby never wavered from his belief the surface was no issue and he was right. Not for the first time this season. As for Yibir in the Breeders’ Cup Turf, well he just did what connections always knew.
At the start of the campaign, if you had asked Appleby what was his best staying three-year-old was he would have said Yibir. That soon looked crazy when he was beaten behind Alenquer and Adayar in the Sandown Classic Trial.
But while Adayar and Hurricane Lane did well in the middle of the summer, towards the end of the campaign Yibir showed us exactly what he is made of.
Indeed it showed us too what Appleby had always seen. If Yibir stays in training next season, he will surely take high rank in the middle distance major events like the King George at Ascot and the Arc at Longchamp.
Well done to William Buick as well. His riding at Breeders’ Cup was world class. World class I tell you.
And then what can you say about Oisin Murphy? It’s been a tough season for Murphy, but at the end of it he is the champion jockey for a third time, and he makes his history by landing a Breeders’ Cup Distaff.
Now Europeans just don’t land that race – it’s hallowed ground for the Americans. And there is Murphy winning for Japan! And what a ride as well, with him kicking off the bend and then showing strength in the finish without losing the plot in the closing stages.
When I say that you might think well hold on he is the champion why would he lose the plot. Well top jockeys do lose the plot at the Breeders’ Cup in close finishes. Remember Swain?!
We saw one or two results which showed horses that were on a different level to those around the globe. Knicks Go, Life Is Good and Echo Zulu were magnificent. They give us with much to look forward to in the future.
And of course the future is what this game provides us on a daily basis. It’s why a lot of us love horse racing. There is always something to look forward to.
For me the Flat season is over now. But the jumps is in full swing and it’s all systems go to the King George at Christmas. Worthy of a Yeeehaaa!
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