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Appleby will take stock with Notable Speech following Ascot disappointment

Appleby will take stock with Notable Speech following Ascot disappointment
Appleby will take stock with Notable Speech following Ascot disappointment

Charlie Appleby was at a loss to explain the disappointing performance of Notable Speech after the 2000 Guineas hero beat just one horse home in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot – but raised the possibility of him being dropped in trip on his next start.

So impressive in winning his first three starts on the all-weather at Kempton, the Dubawi colt proved his top-level capabilities with a brilliant display on his turf debut in last month’s Rowley Mile Classic, beating the subsequent Irish Guineas winner Rosallion, who was again in opposition.

In a deep race that also featured the French Guineas victor Metropolitan, Notable Speech was the 6-4 favourite to confirm his status as number one in the three-year-old miling division – but after seemingly travelling strongly into the straight under William Buick, the response was limited once push came to shove and he eventually passed the post seventh of eight runners as Rosallion stole the show.

“We probably won’t have an explanation at this moment to be honest with you and Will rode his race as he has done many a time, we have always sat off the pace and he’s a horse who has always picked up when asked,” said Appleby.

“Will said when he pulled him out and asked him to pick up, he didn’t, and more importantly he didn’t run through the line, that is probably the biggest thing I’ll take out of it at the moment as well as getting beat.

“All seemed fine afterwards and there were no abnormalities, he just didn’t fire, which is disappointing when you look at the result and how it played out.

“We’ll see if anything comes out in the wash, and the one thing is, we always questioned the mile and whether that would be the end of his gauge. Whether this horse with racing has got quicker and so maybe coming back in trip might be what we need to be looking at.

“It’s exciting and there’s races for him like the Prix Jean Prat and a nice, sharp, turning Breeders’ Cup (Mile). It’s early days and with these unbeaten horses there is always disappointment when they get beaten. But the other side of it is, if you run them enough times, they will eventually get beaten.”

Just a neck behind Rosallion in second place was the Aidan O’Brien-trained Henry Longfellow, who bounced back from finishing only eighth after encountering a troubled passage in the French Guineas.

“We were delighted with him, he ran a great race and we think there is more to come,” said O’Brien.

“He didn’t have much of a race in France, it was a non event, so that is his first real race (of the season) today and he handled the ground. I think we will stay at a mile, looking at him today he could step up a little bit further, but we will see.

“Ryan (Moore) was surprised that the winner came and got him. I would imagine we could meet him again (in the Sussex) probably. We’re treating this as his first run and we learned about him today.”

Metropolitan was third for Mario Baratti, who said: “That’s racing. I find him quite unlucky; he’s a horse who is never travelling very strongly.

“I wouldn’t complain at Alexis (Pouchin); I’m happy with the ride, but he started galloping the last 200 metres when he had the gap. When he saw the horse coming along it was too late, the other two went already. But it was good to see that he is of the level to run with the best.

“I think we will stay at a mile again. With more pace early in the race, you never know, he might have got it. It wasn’t an easy race, but I’m very happy with the horse.”

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