Brave G3 Bahrain Trophy win sends Castle Way down St Leger path
Castle Way announced himself as a leading St Leger contender following a determined victory in the G3 Bahrain Trophy at Newmarket, UK, on Thursday, 13 July, securing Godolphin’s 2,000th Stakes win in the process.
Having his first start since winning the Listed Newmarket Stakes in early May, the Charlie Appleby-trained colt disputed second alongside Tower Of London as Think First set steady early fractions.
Castle Way took up the running with just under three furlongs to race and the half-brother to Palace Pier found more as Saint George and Tower Of London challenged on both sides approaching the final furlong.
The trio battled all the way to the line, with Castle Way rallying gamely under William Buick to hold on by a head over Tower Of London. Saint George finished a neck further back as the front three pulled clear of Klondike in fourth.
Charlie Appleby said: “William [Buick] has always had a lot of confidence in Castle Way. Even when he sat on him as a two-year-old, he said, ‘I love him’. The horse has done little wrong in his career and his only real blip was at Epsom on soft ground.
“We were confident at home that the step up in trip would suit, although it is always a question mark when you are stepping up to a mile and five furlongs from a mile and a quarter.
“The plan was always to ride him positively and I think he stayed well. William said it turned into a sprint and, when he committed, I thought he would have to find again. To be fair to the horse, he dug deep.
“We will probably go down the St Leger route now and look towards the Great Voltigeur Stakes.”
William Buick added: “We went very slow and, even half a mile from home, Neil [Callan on Think First] still had the handbrake on. Castle Way was stepping up from a mile and a quarter, so it probably suited him.
“He is a very relaxed horse and I was able to put him where I wanted. My plan was to make my move and then get the fence, but he just hung off it and that gave the second horse a chance. He kept finding a bit more and I felt I was well on top at the line.
“This horse has gone from strength to strength and has proven now, even though it was not a stamina test at the trip, that he stays relatively well. Hopefully, this has opened a few more doors for him.”