26 April 2024

Arabian Crown comes through Classic Trial with flying colours

26 April 2024

Arabian Crown justified odds-on favouritism and booked his ticket for the Derby when making all the running in the bet365 Classic Trial at Sandown.

A smart two-year-old, he was last seen winning the Zetland Stakes by over five lengths and appeared to hold strong credentials given how much Dubawi’s progeny tend to improve at three.

William Buick sent him into an early advantage and it was one he was not to relinquish, as the 5-6 market leader made the last 100 yards his most impressive.

With two furlongs to run, there were several who must have still fancied their chances, with Remaadd, Macduff and Under The Sun all in there pitching.

But Buick knew exactly what he had under the bonnet and having just wound up the pace, he really put the pedal to the metal, stretching three and a quarter lengths clear of Macduff and Remaadd, who ran exactly to the pound from their Haydock running last year.

Appleby ran Adayar in this race, who was beaten by Alenquer in 2021 before winning at Epsom, while Westover prevailed two years ago and went on to win the Irish Derby.

Coral and Betfair both cut the winner to 6-1 from 12s for the Epsom Classic.

Appleby’s assistant Alex Merriam said: “Will gave him a nice ride on the front end and I thought he did it quite impressively in the end, he’s galloped all the way through the line.

“His racecourse gallop helped him and Charlie has been really pleased with him the last two weeks, he’s really started to come to himself and it (the gallop) didn’t do him any harm anyway.

“He has got to be in the Derby mix now and obviously there are a few other irons in the fire, but I suppose he has to be the main one at the minute.

“I was just talking to Will and it’s going to be tight to get another run into him, he’s had a hard-enough race there on soft enough ground.

“We’ll see how he comes out of the race and if he goes anywhere, it will probably be Chester – the Dante is a bit close to Epsom. I think experience-wise, as you can see there, he’s quite professional already.

“We’ve not had a Dubawi win the Derby yet, but fingers crossed we will get there eventually.”

Buick said: “He is very straightforward and he showed that last year. He just kept on improving last year, so let’s hope he can keep doing the same.

I would be as confident as you can be with a three-year-old at this time of year that he would stay a mile and a half

“Certainly, as a trial goes, I was very happy with that and there is plenty of improvement left in him I felt, and it is quite testing out there. It’s early on in the season and naturally he is going to progress.

“Charlie was very keen to go forward today but we were also very happy to sit off the pace if there was a strong pace. As it turns out, he has a big stride and he likes to use it and he changed gear two and a half out and attacked the hill, so it was a very nice performance.

“I would be as confident as you can be with a three-year-old at this time of year that he would stay a mile and a half. Charlie and the team will decide if he needs more experience, but he’s a very straightforward horse and he does not lack for experience.

“Yes, he does like to use his stride, but he also has a nice cruising speed and he travels well, which is exactly what you need in a Derby, if he gets that far.”

Ralph Beckett said of Macduff in second: “It was a great effort, I was really pleased with the effort.

“He’s a very straightforward horse and Rossa (Ryan, jockey) felt he had enough in the tank to tackle the winner, but the ground just counted against him. He does have a sort of fast-ground pedigree, so that ties in.

“We’ll see how he trains in the next few weeks and Barry (Mahon, of owners Juddmonte) is not keen to rule out Epsom and neither am I. We’ll see how he trains in the coming weeks and how the trials go and then see how we feel about it (the Derby).”

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