Old Rowley Cup victory for First Nation
13 October, 2017
First Nation gained a major heritage handicap success with an impressive display in the 12-furlong Old Rowley Cup on day one of the Dubai Future Champions Festival at Newmarket, UK, on Friday, October 13.
The Charlie Appleby-trained three-year-old, who chased home another Godolphin runner Atty Persse in the King George V Handicap at Royal Ascot in June, was held up at the rear of the 16 runners by William Buick.
First Nation started to make good headway with three furlongs to race and was switched towards the stands’ side.
The Dubawi colt ran on well to hit the front entering the final furlong, getting the measure of Eynhallow by three quarters of a length in 2m 29.13s on good ground.
Charlie Appleby said: “I am delighted with First Nation, who deserved to win a big race like this.
“He has been ultra-consistent since Royal Ascot, but has unfortunately been going up the weights as a result.
“William Buick gave First Nation a great ride - we wanted to give the horse something to aim at and they went a good strong gallop, which played into our hands.”
William Buick added: “First Nation deserved his win today as he has been running well all year and bumped into a well-handicapped horse last time out.
“The race suited him today as they went quick and came back to us. Charlie said to ride him cold and not to get involved early, and it brought out a bit of improvement in First Nation.
“There is no reason why he shouldn’t improve next year. He is not the biggest, so you would hope that he will furnish and do well over the winter.”