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Master Of The Seas swoops late to beat La Barrosa in G3 Craven Stakes


Master Of The Seas and La Barrosa underlined their Classic credentials as they fought out a tremendous finish to the mile G3 Craven Stakes at Newmarket, UK, on Thursday, 15 April.

Both Charlie Appleby-trained colts had already taken high rank during their juvenile campaigns courtesy of Newmarket Group wins, with Master Of The Seas readily taking the G2 Superlative Stakes and La Barrosa comfortably scoring in the G3 Tattersalls Stakes.

Master Of The Seas was covered up towards the rear on the far rail by William Buick, as La Barrosa also raced down the inside behind the leaders for James Doyle.

After briefly being caught short of room three and a half furlongs out, Master Of The Seas travelled powerfully into the race and was switched out to deliver his challenge approaching the final quarter-mile.

La Barrosa was angled off the rail as well passing the two-furlong pole and quickened strongly between horses to hit the front over a furlong from home.

He stayed on gamely but could not resist the late charge of Master Of The Seas, with the son of Dubawi running on relentlessly to collar his stable-companion inside the final half-furlong for a three-quarter length success. The duo pulled three lengths clear of Mystery Smiles in third.

Charlie Appleby said: “Things didn’t quite go to plan today. We thought La Barrosa might be a bit more to the fore and come off the rail to give everyone a bit of racing room, but he just half missed a beat. James had to sit and suffer a bit on the fence as La Barrosa is a horse who likes to get on with it. I would mark his performance up a bit as he did slightly too much early on but still hit the rising ground and galloped out well.

“It was a bit messy mid-race for Master Of The Seas. William had to find a bit of racing room and had some ground to make up – he said he had to ask the horse going into the dip but Master Of The Seas went through it like it wasn’t there. He hit the line strong and it was a pleasing performance by both horses.

“We will get them home and make sure they come out of this fit and well before deciding about the 2,000 Guineas. One Ruler’s preparation has gone well and he has the CV that justifies being the more fancied of the runners in what he achieved as a two-year-old. Master Of The Seas and La Barrosa have put themselves bang up there today. Whether we run two or three horses in the Guineas will be a discussion to have over the coming week. It’s nice to have the horses to be able to make those decisions.

“I would be surprised if William wanted to come off Master Of The Seas but One Ruler is pleasing us with everything he has done so far and has always been our main Guineas hope. The way Master Of The Seas has done it today, he will take a lot into the Guineas with two runs under his belt already this year. It will be a nice discussion.”

William Buick said: “I thought Master Of The Seas did well and it was a nice experience for him. He settled quite well off a slow pace – it always had the look that it could be a messy race but him and La Barrosa have pulled a long way clear of the third. They are two very nice horses.

“When you are three-back on the rail and going slow, it’s not very often that much will change. I had the option to move out, the gap appeared and he quickened up really well. His forte is his turn of foot, which he showed last year in the National Stakes, and I really liked the way he quickened down the dip. He levelled out after and finished off the race when he hit the rising ground. It’s crucial for a Guineas and he is a quick horse – he ticks a lot of boxes.

“We have always liked him and I think everyone would have gone into the winter viewing him as one of the main hopes for this year. Everything has been managed very well by the team and let’s hope that we are back here in three weeks’ time.”