Derby-winning rider William Buick was full of praise for Nahanni who continued Godolphin’s flying start to the season when gaining an entry for the Cazoo Derby (Saturday 4th June) courtesy of a battling victory in the Cazoo Blue Riband Trial, the highlight of the Spring Meeting at Epsom Downs today.
Arriving on the back of victories over a mile and a half at Kempton Park and at last time out at Leicester, the Charlie Appleby-trained son of Frankel comfortably handled a drop back in trip to bring up a hat-trick of wins for the season in the 10-furlong Listed prize.
Taking matters up early doors, the 9-4 Favourite showed a commendable attitude under Buick to see off a host of challengers and secure an entry for the Cazoo Derby (the winner of the Cazoo Blue Riband Trial gains an entry for the Cazoo Derby, providing not already entered or a gelding. Connections must pay at the subsequent scratchings and confirmation stages to run in the premier Classic).
Faced with a host of challengers inside the final furlong, Nahanni demonstrated that stamina is his forte when holding off fellow hat-trick seeker Grand Alliance by half a length with Zain Sarinda a further neck away in third.
Following the race, which followed up Buick and Appleby’s five winners together at last week’s bet365 Craven Meeting at Newmarket, Nahanni was introduced at 25-1 for the Cazoo Derby by Paddy Power.
Buick, who teamed up to land the Derby with Appleby in 2018 with Masar, said: “It was a nice performance and he has come on again. He was back down in trip from Leicester but he handled the track well. The drop back wasn’t a concern.
“He got on the front and he was very comfortable up there. I liked his performance as he saw them all off and handled the track which is key. He is a horse that stays very well.
“Every time something came to him he went again. At the top of the straight, I thought it was going to Frankie (that I had to beat) but he had to fight all the others off after that and he did.
“I thought he handled it well and there are no complaints there. It was the most competitive race he has ever encountered and he had to fight for it, so he has learnt plenty.”
Having sent last year’s winner of the race Wirko to the Group Three Chester Vase Stakes, triumphant trainer Appleby confirmed that all roads will now lead back to Epsom Downs on Saturday 4th June for Nahanni.
Appleby, speaking away from the track, said: “I’m pleased with that effort today. We were very much having a feel of where we were with this horse.
“We know he gets the trip as he has won his last two starts over a mile and a half prior to today and he has ticked those boxes.
“He has now ticked the box of handling the track so the likelihood is we will now probably head straight to the Derby with him.”