11 July 2024

Ancient Wisdom makes all to enhance St Leger prospects

11 July 2024

Ancient Wisdom bounced back from Derby disappointment with a front-running victory in the Bahrain Trophy at Newmarket.

A Group One-winning two-year-old in last season’s Futurity Trophy, Charlie Appleby’s charge finished second in the Dante at York on his reappearance to tee himself up for a tilt at the premier Classic at Epsom last month, but could finish only eighth.

Stepping up in trip but down in grade for this one-mile-five-furlong Group Three, the Dubawi colt was a 6-4 favourite in the hands of William Buick, who sent his mount straight to the lead and committed for home with over two furlongs to run.

Royal Supremacy briefly loomed up looking a major threat under Oisin Murphy, but Ancient Wisdom dug deep against the rail once challenged to see him off by a length and three-quarters.

Space Legend, runner-up to the impressive Calandagan in the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot, this time failed to land a blow, trailing home last of four.

“He was the Group One winner in the race and we were always confident about the ground and the trip,” said Appleby.

“William went out there and gave him a positive ride which was always our gameplan and it is great to get this horse’s head back in front.

“He ran a creditable race in the Dante, but we always felt Dante to Epsom might be just short enough. Since then he has done well and had a nice preparation and we were quietly confident coming into today.”He ran well in the Dante but he wasn’t hardened for the Dante in the respects to fitness, therefore going Dante-Derby was always on the edge. We were a bit unfortunate in the spring and our Derby team was dwindling by the week and he had to take up the baton.

“He’s a straightforward horse and they always just like to go out and gallop. Will has give him a great ride. You see when he switched his leads, he did it so effortlessly and once I saw that, I knew he would let himself down because he was enjoying himself.

“The others had to quicken and then stay, we we’re already in the right gear and they had to try and get us.”

It was always our plan to come here and then head to the Great Voltigeur and then the St Leger, it's a well-trodden route

Paddy Power cut the winner’s odds for the St Leger at Doncaster to 10-1 from 20-1.

Appleby added: “It was always our plan to come here with the ground it was looking to be and then head to the Great Voltigeur and then the St Leger, it’s a well-trodden route.

“He is very much an autumn campaign horse though, so at no point would we jeopardise that on anything quicker than good ground. If it was quick ground at York, I definitely wouldn’t head to the Voltigeur.

“I was impressed and I still think this horse isn’t there yet, he’s coming and he’s not 100 per cent. I was very impressed knowing there is improvement under the bonnet still.

“If Doncaster is as it is normally at that time of year, I would like to think he would have a live chance.”

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