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Article 4th May 2024 Newmarket

By Ben Cox

Jockey William Buick landed his first ever QIPCO 2000 Guineas, then hailed winner Notable Speech as “the fastest miler I’ve ever ridden”.    

The 35-year-old had finished second in the first Classic of the season twice, once in 2021 on Master Of The Seas and again in 2022 on Native Trail.          

Godolphin’s homebred son of Dubawi becomes the first ever Classic winner ever to have only previously run on an all-weather surface, winning a trio of races over a mile on the Polytrack at Kempton Park in January, February and April of this year.        

Notable Speech, a 16-1 chance, came with a strong run to take the lead entering the final furlong, overhauling Rosallion (15-2) by a length and a half with another length and three quarters back to Haatem (16-1) in third.    

The 4-6 Favourite City Of Troy, raced prominently early before fading to finish ninth of the 11 runners.    

Notable Speech was the fifth QIPCO 2000 Guineas winner to carry the blue silks of Godolphin following Coroebus (2022), Dawn Approach (2013), Island Sands (1999) and Mark Of Esteem (1996). It was a second win in the contest for trainer Charlie Appleby following Coroebus.

William Buick said: “It was a tough race but I’m glad we came here. It’s amazing. I’ve finished second twice so I know how it feels to go back in having not won it - I’ve never had a ride like him ever before. I’m over the moon.

“It’s a huge team effort for this horse to come here today. I’m delighted for myself but I’m also delighted for everyone who’s involved with the horse.

“Notable Speech is a great horse. He’s a proper miler and he’s certainly the fastest miler I’ve ever ridden - I think he can do things other horses can’t with his turn of foot.

“We’ll see where he goes next. All the top mile races will be on his agenda I would assume.”

Referring to the fact Notable Speech had never even raced on turf before today, he went on: “He took a different route into the Guineas but Charlie, the team and myself had a lot of belief in him and he’s just a great horse. He did everything right today. Not just for myself but for everyone, he looked impressive. 

“It was a great performance from the horse. He’s a real jockey’s dream and I’m absolutely delighted.”

Asked if he is a late bloomer, Buick went on: “I would say so. I rode him in February on a cold winter’s night at Kempton. I thought then he was pretty good and he’s done nothing but improve since.

“It just shows you that if a horse has the engine and the will then they can do it and that’s exactly what he has. It’s a great training performance by everybody and he’s a homebred for His Highness Sheikh Mohammed as well, so it’s special.”

Asked where racing fans might see him next, he added: “I haven’t really spoken to Charlie (Appleby, trainer) or anybody about that yet so we’ll just soak it up now I guess. But I would say his route would be fairly well mapped out.

“I’m not sure if he’d be going to the Irish Guineas but I’m sure they’ll be thinking about the St James’s Palace and those kinds of races. He’s a proper miler.”

Referring to the decision not to run him on turf previously, he added: “Charlie had one eye on the Greenham for him but he was worried about the potentially heavy ground at Newbury, hence he ran at Kempton. So, I thought let’s try and find out something and we found out he has an explosive turn of foot but since then he’s become more of a rounded horse.

“He’s improving all the time. He’s straight into a Guineas off the all-weather – that takes a bit of doing and he was comfortable throughout the race.”

Asked about comparisons between Frankel and City Of Troy before the race and whether unbeaten Notable Speech could be just as good, Buick continued: “I’m not going to stand here and even mention him in the same breath. He’s got a long way to go until he gets to those heights because we’ve only ever seen one of those.”

Buick was also asked if he was aware that City Of Troy was beaten early, and replied: “He was in trouble a long way out and I was conscious of not getting there too early with my horse but I couldn’t help it.

“He just dragged me into the race in the hottest part of the race, which is what he did at Kempton in his previous runs. And then he’s pricking his ears at the line – every time you ride him you always feel like there’s more in the tank.”

The successful trainer Charlie Appleby said: “You can never be too confident in races like these as we know, but the way the horse prepared for the race – he was three from three on the all-weather.

“I think we all had to say that what he did on his last start, we walked away thinking there’s a racehorse there for sure. But I have to say that from that point, when we galloped here that morning we walked away with a bit of confidence.

“To be fair to William, he said that had this horse been a Pattern winner as a two-year-old you’d have been over the moon and coming here thinking you were going to take on the world.

“He worked again the following week and full credit to Aidan McCarthy who’s looked after him all winter riding him, and the team up at the old yard, Charlotte and all that gang there, they’ve done a great job.

“Paul Eddery sat on him the other day. He’s 60 years of age but he’s sat on enough good horses. He’s only ridden him the last week because Aidan’s in America and he got off him and said he stays a mile and the favourite will have to be good to beat him. From that moment on, I’ve just been trying to keep a lid on it.

“I love the way he paraded both in the prelims and in the paddock – he was very relaxed.”

Asked about the step up from his previous races to winning the 2000 Guineas, he went on: “I’ve said to a few people you don’t very often see Classic winners come off the all-weather.

“But I recall back in August last year one of the lads sat on him and said this is a nice horse and then he went weak and just wasn’t ready to pull out and run but thankfully he went on to do what he was supposed to do through the course of the winter and we brought him out in the new year and he hasn’t looked back since.

“Thankfully he’s never had a setback. He’s just a shallow horse and we gave him time to fill out. You couldn’t have been more impressed with the way the horse looked in the paddock.”

Asked if he was feeling any pressure coming into this season after a challenging 2023 by his own standards, Appleby concluded: “I’m very lucky to be in the position I am. I have no pressure. We’re all just asked to do the best we can and at the end of the day you can’t turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse but with what we’ve got a better chance of being at the top table.”

Richard Hannon, trainer of the second Rosallion and third Haatem said: “I am delighted. They are two extremely good horses who have made me proud, everyone in the yard proud and their owners proud. That is what we are here to do.

“They have come up against a very good horse and we will take him on again – there are many good days to be had with these two horses through the year and I am looking forward to it.

“I am disappointed not to win but that’s life. I’ll look back in half an hour and think it’s been a good day but it does hurt right now. As a trainer you have to do disappointment for a living.

“Rosallion travelled so well and he got to the front and looked like he was going to win. I don’t think he needed it – he hasn’t blown up as he has done loads of work. He’s still an extremely good horse and I’d love to take the winner on again around a bend at Royal Ascot in the St James’s Palace Stakes and we’ll also look at going to Ireland.

“I think this is probably the best Guineas we have seen in 10 years.”

Asked if City Of Troy’s performance was “almost too bad to be true”, Aidan O’Brien said: “There’s no doubt about that. He wasn’t overblown so we’ll have to take him home and see.”

When asked if he was shocked by the run, his trainer added: “Of course. Obviously we wouldn’t have brought him here if we thought he was going to do that. It’s not his run but we’ll see what happened and why that happened.

“He got upset in the stalls which Ryan said was very unusual for him. He’s usually very calm but there you go.

“He was in last but he wasn’t in last by design, so it wasn’t that he was in there too long. Obviously that’s just the way the stalls fell.”

O’Brien was also asked about his decision to have City Of Troy in the parade ring early and he laughed: “Maybe I shouldn’t have! He won’t be the next day!

“Everything was always straightforward with him. All we can do is try and find out what happened and not let it happen again. Isn’t that reality? Sorry about that everyone.” 

The QIPCO 2000 Guineas is the first race in the QIPCO British Champions Series.


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