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Article 18th April 2023 Newmarket

By Graham Clark

Ottoman Fleet enhanced his impressive course record at Newmarket’s Rowley Mile on Tuesday after scooping the biggest success of his career when coming from last to first to land the bet365 Earl Of Sefton Stakes. 

Arriving with two Listed victories at the track to his name the Sea The Stars gelding made it three wins from five starts at the course when making his race fitness count from three starts in Dubai this year to land the first Group Three victory of his career.    

Anchored at the rear of the field for much of the nine furlong contest the 6-4 favourite steadily worked his way into contention under William Buick before being delivered with his challenge inside the final quarter of a mile.

Once hitting the front just outside the final furlong pole the well supported market leader quickly put the race to bed to defeat the previously unbeaten Poker Face by two lengths and complete 6.5-1 doubles for both Appleby and Buick.

Appleby, who teamed up with Buick to land last year’s renewal with Master Of The Seas said: “Chatting with William there the race was set up for him. He is seems to bring his A game here to be honest. He has been kept busy during the winter and he ran three solid races (in Dubai) but he just kept bumping into one.

“We came here confident that he was fit and well and conditions were there to suit. William did say that conditions out there did suit him.

“With a bit of ease in the ground he is a lot more confident on it. He just likes a target and William gave him a confident ride

“I think from half way I was pretty confident. I know Poker Face is a nice horse and he travelled into the race well and I’m sure with experience he will progress nicely but once they met that rising ground it was going to be hard to pass him.

“For whatever reason he enjoys it here. Whether it is the lack of travelling or if it is the undulations out there that help him along I don’t know but he is pretty solid here.

“He came in when they had that warm week here. The key thing is the first 48 hours to five days and if it is cold then it is a bit of shock like it would be to us all but if you got that time to acclimatise a little bit that helps.”

As for future plans Appleby suggested that Ottoman Fleet could now be in line for a short break ahead of return to the track later in the season.

He added: “I’d not really thought beyond this as this was our target. To be fair to the horse the ground will be going the opposite way in the foreseeable future so it would do no harm to give him a bit of break which he has well deserved.”

While runner-up Poker Face had his colours lowered for the first time joint-trainer Simon Crisford was pleased with what he saw from the Fastnet Rock gelding on his first outing at Pattern race level.

He added: “He has stepped up on what he did last year. It was his first start at this level and the winner has already run three times this year in Meydan.

“It was only the fourth run of his career and I’m hoping he will be a lot of fun for his owner this year.”


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