Modern Games grabs G1 glory in Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf
Modern Games unleashed a storming run for a decisive victory in a dramatic renewal of the G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Del Mar, USA, on Friday, 5 November.
There was controversy before the start of the mile championship as Albahr, trained like Modern Games by Charlie Appleby, was withdrawn after getting upset in the stalls.
Modern Games, drawn next to his stablemate in stall one, was also initially scratched before being allowed to take his chance after passing a veterinary examination.
In the race itself, Modern Games was pushed along leaving the stalls to dispute fifth on the inside rail, five lengths behind the pace-setting Portfolio Company.
Grafton Street relegated Modern Games to a clear sixth after the first three furlongs, with the Godolphin homebred switched wide by William Buick turning in to deliver his challenge.
The Dubawi colt accelerated powerfully down the centre of the course in the straight, taking up the running from Grafton Street half a furlong out before being kept up to his work to beat Tiz The Bomb by a length and a half.
Godolphin USA President Jimmy Bell said: “Congratulations to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed. This is another testament to his international breeding programme. Charlie is fairly adept at bringing the right horses over here and we have a big team to share this with.
“We have all been around racing so long. You think that you have seen everything and then you show up here and see something like this happen. It’s testament to everybody that we got William back on board and here we are celebrating.”
Charlie Appleby said: “It’s a testament to Modern Games and William. On a big stage like that, with quite a dramatic incident happening there in the gate. But for the horse to compose himself and get himself back in there, back in the mindset. For William too, taking on board you're not sure whether you are or aren’t in the race.
“Modern Games came into the race with a lovely profile. He was a progressive two-year-old and has really pleased us since he's been here. So we were confident that we were going to be a big player anyway.
“Going into this race, we felt potentially that Modern Games could be possibly joining the 2,000 Guineas team for next year. On the back of what he's achieved today, he has every right to be in that picture. So he will be shipped back to the UK, we will winter away and work back from the Guineas.”
William Buick added: “It’s very unusual circumstances and a lot for any horse to take on board, let alone a two-year-old that has travelled all the way over here and has had to take a lot on board this last week.
“Modern Games does everything in his stride and I wasn’t worried at any stage that he was not focused. He remained calm, focused and didn't change complexion at all. That makes it much easier.
“In the race, we jumped a tad slow from the gate, but having the one hole means you can get a bit more space on the inside and a bit more time. So we managed to get into a nice position.
“The pace was even and, to be honest, the race was very straightforward. This place, the turf track at Del Mar, a lot of luck is involved in the way the race unfolds, but with a horse like him, you're able to put the luck in your own hands a little bit.”