Breeders’ Cup: Yibir and Space Blues win for Charlie Appleby and William Buick

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Yibir, ridden by William Buick
Yibir led home four UK and Irish-trained horses

Yibir capped an incredible Breeders’ Cup for Charlie Appleby and William Buick with a win in the Turf for their third victory of the weekend.

Space Blues took the Mile earlier on Saturday after Modern Games won Friday’s Juvenile Turf at Del Mar.

Another Appleby runner, Master Of The Seas, was scratched from the Mile after hitting his head in the stalls.

Modern Games had been withdrawn in similar circumstances on Friday before being declared fit to race.

There was no such reprieve in California for Master Of The Seas, who was runner-up in the 2000 Guineas, leaving the Newmarket handler with one runner in Space Blues, the Prix de la Foret winner, who was stepping up in trip for the first time since 2019.

Once Buick was able to break well and sit in third through the first half of the race, everything else went to plan as Space Blues again displayed a potent turn of foot to end a prolific career in style.

Later in the Turf, Yibir and Buick made their move in the final two furlongs to win by half a length from Broome, trained by Aidan O’Brien and ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr.

The winner, who had claimed the Great Voltigeur at York’s Ebor meeting in August, was settled at the rear early on but once they entered the home straight, Buick’s mount showed his speed.

“Once I turned halfway down the back straight, I was in a better position,” he said. “I followed Tarnawa but she was never going as well as I thought she would.

“It was the one race I didn’t know how to assess. Yibir is a complex character, as you saw last time he ran over here, I was just hoping he saved a bit for the finish.

“Halfway round the turn I could see Broome had gone, but my horse picked up in a way you rarely see. It was a great performance from a young, up and coming horse.”

Appleby said: “As you’ve seen, he’s run some quite indifferent races this season, like at Goodwood, but then he ran well at York.

“The key was getting him to settle. It was a hard ride for William, he was taking him on but it all worked out.

“To have three winners on the world stage is just fantastic. What a weekend.”

In the feature race, the Breeders’ Cup Classic, Knicks Go made all of the running to win for trainer Brad Cox and jockey Joel Rosario.

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