Barney Roy stamps class on G2 Al Rashidiya
Making his first start in seven months, the 2017 G1 St James’s Palace Stakes hero raced keenly in fifth for William Buick before settling in fourth leaving the back straight behind Loxley (James Doyle), Mountain Hunter (Pat Cosgrave) and Dream Castle (Christophe Soumillon).
Barney Roy quickened well down the centre of the course in the straight and challenged for the lead a furlong and a half from home. The Charlie Appleby-trained six-year-old soon went clear with the 2019 Al Rashidiya winner Dream Castle and asserted in the final furlong to score by two and a quarter lengths.
Mountain Hunter kept on to take third, a further six and a quarter lengths in arrears, with another three lengths back to Loxley, as the Godolphin runners filled the first four places.
Charlie Appleby said: “Barney Roy was coming into this race fresh as his targets are towards the end of the Carnival. He is a very lightly framed horse and we don’t do much with him at home.
“He was a bit on his toes in the paddock and fresh in the first half of the race, but once he got into it, I was hopeful his class would prevail and that is what we have seen in the end.
“We popped the hood on him in the preliminaries, which I am not sure made a difference as he was still on his toes, but more importantly tonight will have taken the freshness out of him and we can now work back from the Jebel Hatta (Saturday, 7 March).
“It will be interesting to see what William Buick thinks but visually you would be quite happy to step up to 10 furlongs. He is a G1 winner over a mile at Royal Ascot, at one stage holding the track record there, and he was just touched off in an Eclipse. He is a class animal and it is just nice to see him back in winning form this evening.”
William Buick added: “Barney Roy is very energetic, and I don’t think he has ever been any different to be honest. It was not a concern at all really and he relaxed nicely during the race, even though he had not run for a while and was entitled to be a bit fresh.
“That is the sort of performance you want to see from a horse with his form and class. It was probably not the deepest Al Rashidiya, but it was a good performance given the long layoff.
“I angled him out in the straight, just to let him run and use himself. He is a horse with a lot of gears and, hopefully, he will be heading towards World Cup Night.”
Christophe Soumillon said: “Dream Castle ran much better than last time. He jumped out of the gate quite well and I think the cheek-pieces helped him to concentrate better.
“When I came into the straight, I thought he would win easily, but when Barney Roy went, he couldn’t accelerate with him. I think he should improve for his next appearance following his performance today.”