Charlie Appleby and William Buick completed a double on the second day of the Breeders’ Cup at Del Mar and took their total for the two-day meeting to three victories as Yibir and Space Blues took the Turf and Mile respectively on Saturday.

Yibir took a strong hold in the early stages but still arrived with an irresistible run under a perfectly timed ride by Buick, collaring Aidan O’Brien’s outsider Broome, ridden by Frankie Dettori, a few strides from the post.

“I’m delighted for the team,” Appleby, who is all but certain to be Britain’s champion trainer for the first time this year, said afterwards. “They’ve done a fantastic job shipping these horses. This horse is not the easiest, but to have three winners on this stage is fantastic.”

Earlier on the card and for the second day running at this year’s Breeders’ Cup, Charlie Appleby saw one of his runners withdrawn a moment before the start at Del Mar on Saturday, and again for the second day running, he then watched his other entry in the race record an easy success. The difference on Saturday was that the backers of Space Blues in the Breeders’ Cup Mile got paid.

“It’s deja vu all over again,” Jimmy Bell, the racing manager for Godolphin in the US, said afterwards, having seen Master Of The Seas taken out of the Mile after getting upset in the stalls, just as Albahr had been in the Juvenile Turf on Friday.

Albahr’s stable companion, Modern Games, was mistakenly scratched for betting purposes on Friday and then raced, and won, for the prize money alone. Space Blues, however, went back into his stall and then delivered at 2-1 for his backers, easing past Smooth Like Strait just after the home turn to record a comfortable win.

“I’m absolutely delighted,” Appleby said. “He’s been a fantastic horse and will now be retired to stud. William gave him a great ride and he was in the perfect position throughout. It was an interesting race beforehand with Master Of The Seas being scratched but we’re getting used to that now. Rules are rules and we have to abide by them.”

Buick was delighted that Space Blues had ended his career with a win on one of the sport’s biggest stages. “I knew he had a turn of foot and he really is one of my favourites,” Buick said.

“I wanted him to go out with a win and I probably felt a bit more pressure than I usually would. He’s been a great horse for us and now he’ll go to stud and hopefully become a great stallion.”

In the final race, Knicks Go, who was stepping up to a mile and a quarter for the first time in his career, made all the running under Joel Rosario to give Brad Cox his first success in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Medina Spirit, the controversial winner of the Kentucky Derby, was second, with Essential Quality, the favourite, back in third.

Japan had sent 16 runners to Breeders’ Cup races before Saturday’s card without success but that drought ended in spectacular fashion as Loves Only You and Marche Lorraine came home in front in the Filly & Mare Turf and Distaff respectively.

Loves Only You was one of the favourites for her race and came with a strong run through a narrow gap to record a first winner for Japan at the meeting, but Marche Lorraine was a 45-1 outsider for the Distaff under Oisin Murphy, who got her home by a nose.

“The race seemed like a very competitive race,” Yoshito Yahagi, who trained both horses, said after Loves Only You’s success with Yuga Kawada. “It was a very tough race. But before the race, we thought our horse is number one. We believed it.

“He rode perfect and we won. First time she went to overseas, actually she wasn’t that good to travelling, but every time we go travelling she’s getting better and better and she gets stronger mentally.”

 

courtesy of www.theguardian.com/sport