New London was promoted into St Leger favouritism following a resounding success in the John Pearce Racing Gordon Stakes at Goodwood.
Seen as Godolphin’s premier Derby horse before disappointing at Chester, his career is now well and truly back on track.
Successful in handicap company at Newmarket last time out, the Dubawi colt was back up in grade for this Group Two – which was run at a strong gallop thanks to the exploits of West Wind Blows and Al Qareem.
Briefly, William Buick was a bit tapped for toe as the speed increased three furlongs out, but as the front runners started to tread water New London and Derby runner-up Hoo Ya Mal were left in front.
Ryan Moore dropped his whip on Hoo Ya Mal, but it made little difference as the 6/4 favourite pulled clear. Deauville Legend, winner of the Bahrain Trophy, pipped Ho Ya Mal for second.
The winner is now around 3/1 for the final Classic of the season, which his trainer Charlie Appleby won last year with Hurricane Lane.
“He went from winning a novice at Newmarket to being Derby favourite which takes a bit of doing, but at Chester it just didn’t happen,” said Buick. “Yes, the ground was bad and that was a factor, but Charlie has done a great job in bringing him back.
“New London has achieved more than Secret State (Wednesday’s winner who is also in the St Leger). That was a deep Gordon field with the Derby second. He has passed the test and Secret State is up and coming – let’s see if he can do it.”
Alex Merriam, Appleby’s assistant, said: “He’s done nothing but improve. It wasn’t the greatest run in the trial, after which Charlie felt he should miss the Derby.
“He’s not in the Voltigeur, so we will let the dust settle and see how he is next week before making a plan.
“Of our Leger horses, he’s the only one that’s won a Group race while the others have won handicaps. He’s also a Dubawi, and they tend to improve.”
George Boughey, trainer of Hoo Ya Mal, who has the ultimate aim of the Melbourne Cup, said: “It was good. Hoo Ya Mal was a work in progress. He has to try to run two miles in the Melbourne Cup and that is his aim at the end of the year. Ryan Moore was happy, Gai Waterhouse (next trainer) was happy and he is still learning.
“He was raw going into the Derby and he still raw now. I think New London was highly thought of in the spring and Deauville Legend is a good horse – that is a high level of form.
“Ryan did touch on losing his whip. He is a horse who needs encouragement, he has run a gallant race, especially without any help probably in that sort of level. Ryan was happy and he has lots of maturing still to do.
“He’s in the English and Irish Legers. We’ll see how he is tomorrow and Gai is in charge. The main thing is he has been bought to go to Australia and we’re lucky to have a horse in his yard, but he is not my horse, he is Gai’s and that’s the fundamental part of it.”
Warren Point adds yet more depth to Appleby’s hand
Appleby once again dominated the opening race at Goodwood, with Warren Point just getting up to deny stablemate Blue Trail in the Coral Kincsem Handicap.
Appleby, who took Wednesday’s opener with Secret State, fielded three in the near-10 furlong contest with Buick on Warren Point (9/2), James Doyle on the top-weight Natural World and Frankie Dettori partnering Blue Trail.
Yet it was Dettori on the seemingly third-string Blue Trail (18/1) who went clear with a furlong to run, looking like he had stolen it.
Buick burst out of the pack to chase him down, though, and the Great Voltigeur entry prevailed by a neck with the pair three and a quarter lengths clear of the beaten 3/1 favourite Migdam.
Assistant trainer Alex Merriam said: “It was nice that they both ran pleasing races. Warren Point has only had three races and was a bit keen last time. He was really impressive, and William gave him a lovely ride.
“I spoke to Charlie and he mentioned stepping him up to a mile and a half. He’s in the Great Voltigeur, which is a possibility.
“Blue Trail also ran well. It looks like the gelding operation has benefitted him.”
Buick added of the winner: “For his pedigree, he shows a lot of pace which is a good sign and he will stay a mile and a half in time. He is one to look forward to.”