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Article 20th April 2023 Newmarket

By Graham Clark

Charlie Appleby believes the superior experience of Silver Knott gives him an ‘edge’ in the QIPCO 2000 Guineas over unbeaten stablemate Noble Style, who he admits to taking a ‘leap of faith’ with trip-wise in the opening Classic of the season at Newmarket.   

The Godolphin handler stepped up the preparations of both colts ahead of the prestigious Group One prize on Saturday 6th May when putting the pair through their paces in a racecourse gallop on the Rowley Mile this morning. 

First out on the track was Noble Style, last sighted signing of his juvenile campaign winning the Group Two Gimcrack Stakes at York, who worked over seven furlongs under champion jockey William Buick alongside Listed winning stablemate Highland Avenue.

After watching Noble Style finish his gallop the attention was swiftly turned to last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf runner-up Silver Knott, who exercised over the same trip under James Doyle together with fellow three year old colt Victory Dance.

Following the workout, the Newmarket handler hinted that the experience of Silver Knott having both raced over a mile, and at the top level, could hold sway over Noble Style, who is yet to race beyond six furlongs when the two lock horns next month.

Appleby said: “I don’t want to sound like I’m going to get a splinter sitting here but you really don’t know if Noble Style will see out the mile until you test him at that level.

“We will be going into it with that mindset to be brutally honest hoping that we will see the Guineas trip out. He won’t be going the Derby trip or beyond a mile that’s for sure.

“Our decision will be are we going to be a miler or are we going to be dropping him back.

“On the evidence what I’ve seen there we will still be going into the Guineas with that question on the back of our minds.

“It is all very well what we have done here this morning but it will be a different ball game when those gates open in the Guineas going a fair rattle on quick ground.
“Stepping up to six up to a mile is a big leap of faith really but as I’ve said it is a Guineas and he deserves to be in the race being a Gimcrack winner.

“Like a boxer you learn from defeat. When they get to those big events it is great that they have had that whack on the chin.

“Noble Style has not been in that sort of battle and that’s where Silver Knott has an edge on him but that is not taking anything away from Noble Style.”

Although Noble Style was required to pull out all the stops to emerge in front of Highland Avenue in his piece of work Appleby insisted he was more than satisfied with how the exercise went which he expects to bring about considerable improvement.

He added: “I purposely asked William to give Noble Style a good gallop this morning as there are things we are trying to work out about him. In his work at home he has always had that peacock head carriage.

“I said to William we have worked all winter to try and get him to drop that. Being in front he drops it but being in behind he has that peacock head carriage.

“You saw in the Gimcrack he looks like he is going to hold a little bit then when William gives him the office, he has gone and gone through the line.

“That is why I asked William to just grab hold of him as it is the first time he has been grabbed hold of all winter. We have spent a lot of time trying to get him to drop that head it was now time to go and ask about his business.

“He has had a good blow this morning and I’m pleased. I think we will see a big improvement from here onwards.

‘I’m happy with where we are in the respects that is the first time he has been given the signal to do anything.

“Most other Guineas horses will have gone through that procedure already. I’m expecting to see a nice progression from here.”

As for dual Group Three winner Silver Knott, who Appleby described as the ‘ultimate professional’, he feels that it was after his trip to America that the son of Lope De Vega underlined his true potential and thrust him into being a genuine Classic contender.

He added: “The one thing with Silver Knott is that he is professional. For me, he has got a great profile coming into a Guineas in what he has achieved so far to date.

“James said he is not electric and doesn’t really quicken but he just keeps lengthening, that is the sort of horse he is. He sees the mile out strong. He is a horse that will come forward a good bit for this morning.

“He is a horse that I questioned how he would take America but the one thing was he grew up so much in that week out there. He was a horse that surprised me how he took it as he wasn’t originally on the America list.

“Mysterious Knight was going to go there, but he didn’t go there and Silver Knott took his slot. The interesting thing was how much he grew up in his time there and he has shown that all winter subsequently since.

“He has been an ultimate professional that goes out and just does his work. He is not flash but does everything that is asked of him.”

While Appleby is looking forward to taking the wraps off both Noble Style and Silver Knott in the 2000 Guineas he believes the dynamic is different to the one of 12 months ago when he saddled Coroebus and Native Trail – who finished first and second respectively - in the race.

He said: “Auguste Rodin has got the profile everyone is talking about. He has done it on the track and is a Group One winner. He is a horse that deserves to be favourite.

“Chaldean is another, who we will get to see on Saturday. That is the difference in profiles as they are two horses that have done it on the big stage and you can’t get away from that at the end of the day.

“I’m not going to be bold enough to say like I was with Coroebus or Native Trail that they have got me to beat. Where we are sat now, we’ve got them to beat - that is the way it is.

“We are talking here today about horses that deserve to be in the race. They won’t be out of place though and they will be running big races.”

The QIPCO 2000 Guineas is the opening contest in the 2023 QIPCO British Champions Series.


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