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‘I’ve never seen a horse like that’: City of Troy goes deep for Dewhurst win

The Rowley Mile was decked out in Godolphin blue for the closing afternoon of Future Champions Weekend here on Saturday, but on the track, it was the Dubai-based operation’s fierce rivals from the Coolmore Stud syndicate who claimed the major spoils for the second day running, as City Of Troy stormed home by three-and-a-half lengths in the Group One Dewhurst Stakes.

It was a deeply impressive performance by City Of Troy, a son of the 2018 US Triple Crown winner, Justify, who will now head into the winter as the unbeaten even-money favourite for the 2,000 Guineas next May. Ryan Moore was in front from the first stride, not least because his mount broke from the stalls so well, and despite racing on sticky, rain-softened ground that did not suit his long-striding action, City Of Troy powered away from his field in the final quarter-mile and was still going further clear at the line.

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Even Aidan O’Brien, who was completing a Group One double at the meeting after Ylang Ylang’s Fillies’ Mile success on Friday, seemed a little taken aback by the ease of his colt’s victory, a record-equalling eighth in the race for his Ballydoyle stable.

“There was nearly an inch of rain last night and Ryan came in after the first and said it was deep, tacky ground, so it was completely what he wouldn’t want,” O’Brien said. “Thank God we ran him. I’ve never seen a horse like that, it’s obviously part of his make-up somewhere.

“You need tractor tyres on that ground, and he doesn’t have tractor tyres, he has grand prix tyres. But what he does have is a jet engine, so the engine was going to push the rest through, that’s what we were hoping.”

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Quick Guide

Greg Wood’s tips for Monday

Show

Yarmouth 

1.55 Gracious Leader
2.25 Mukaafah
2.55 Stintino Sunset
3.25 Total Lockdown
4.00 Serendipitous Lady
4.35 Okeanos
5.05 Dream Pirate

Musselburgh 

2.05 Luna Magic
2.35 Edge Of Darkness
3.05 Sixcor
3.35 Without Delay
4.10 Shades Of Summer
4.40 Cantalupo Bella
5.10 He’s An Angel 

Windsor 

2.15 Hackman
2.45 Pianoforte
3.15 Doha
3.45 Amazonian Dream
4.15 Khinjani
4.50 Exquisitely
5.20 Asense 

Kempton Park 

4.26 Palazzo Persico
5.00 Kings Valley
5.30 Extra Beat
6.00 Ivory Madonna
6.30 Enchanted Life
7.00 Hieronymus (nap)
7.30 Buccabay (nb)
8.00 Rose Light
8.30 First Company 

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In addition to short-priced quotes for the 2,000 Guineas, City Of Troy was also cut to around 9-4 for next summer’s Derby, and he is only 10-1 with Paddy Power to become the first winner of Britain’s Triple Crown since Nijinsky, who was trained at Ballydoyle by Vincent O’Brien, the current licence-holder’s predecessor, in 1970.

Doncaster in September 2024, of course, is still 11 months away, but City Of Troy’s sire had the versatility to win at 10, nine and then 12 furlongs in the US equivalent and his trainer has yet to see any limit to his capabilities.

“We’ve never had anything like him,” O’Brien said. “I’ve never had a horse that never gets tired. I’ve never had a horse where we don’t know where the limit is. We usually push them to the limit, but we can never find his limit.

“He has done it the hard way [in front] as well, but he would be delighted to get a lead. He goes along with his ears pricked, just lobbing along.

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Quick Guide

Greg Wood’s Sunday tips

Show

Ffos Las: 1.35 Reine Fee, 2.10 Support Act, 2.45 Beau Balko, 3.20 Nemean Lion (nap), 3.55 Coal Fire, 4.30 Lusitanien, 5.05 Call To Duty.

Goodwood: 1.50 Cherry Cola, 2.25 Al Shabab Storm, 3.00 Hierarchy (nb), 3.35 Amancio, 4.10 Black Run, 4.45 Kathab, 5.20 Dream Of Mischief.

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“There is no doubt he is the best two-year-old I’ve trained. It is a Justify trait that they just keep going.”

It has been a tricky campaign so far for the Godolphin operation, with Charlie Appleby, the champion trainer for the last two seasons, struggling to compete at the very highest level despite a typically strong strike-rate in lesser events.

There was a clear hint of better times ahead for his stable, however, as Ancient Wisdom and Arabian Crown completed a Group Three double in the Autumn Stakes and Zetland Stakes respectively. Both colts are priced up at around 20-1 for next year’s Derby.

“It’s all to do with the two-year-olds this year,” Appleby said, “and this was a big weekend for us. The three horses we were confident about were the filly yesterday [Dance Sequence] and the two colts today, and they’ve all gone and won their races. We’ve got some nice horses going into the winter.”