Charlie Appleby celebrates second 2000 Guineas success with “bull of a horse” Notable Speech as City Of Troy disappoints

Charlie Appleby’s “confidence” behind Notable Speech was rewarded on Saturday afternoon as the unbeaten Dubawi colt decisively won the Qipco 2000 Guineas.

In the build-up to the first Classic of the European Flat season, Aidan O’Brien’s Group 1 winner City Of Troy was all the rage, but the 4/6 favourite could only manage ninth in what was an underwhelming effort.

This surprising event allowed Rosallion, the second-favourite, and Notable Speech to battle out the £500,000 contest, though it was Godolphin’s representative who stamped an early mark on this season’s three-year-old division.

“You can never be too confident in races like these, but the way the horse had been prepared for this race was nice,” trainer Charlie Appleby said. “He’s three from three on the all-weather, and I think we all have to say that what he did on his last start made you walk away and think that there’s a racehorse there, for sure.

“When we brought him here for a gallop, we walked away with a bit of confidence. To be fair to William [Buick, jockey], he thought that if this horse had been a pattern winner as a two-year-old, you would have been over the moon and coming into the Guineas thinking you could take on the world.

“Paul Eddery sat on him the other week, and Paul may be 60 years of age, but he’s sat on enough good horses. He said that he stays a mile and the favourite will have to be good to beat him.

“From that moment, I’ve just been trying to keep a lid on it.”

By super-sire Dubawi out of the Group 3-placed Swift Rose, the Godolphin homebred was Appleby’s second victory in the 2000 Guineas after Coroebus’ success in 2021.

They may have shared the same silks on their way to Newmarket glory, but their respective climb to Classic success had very few similarities.

While Coroebus won the Group 3 Autumn Stakes over the same course and distance as the 2000 Guineas as a two-year-old, Noble Speech only made his debut as a three-year-old in a Class 5 Kempton maiden.

Furthermore, the improving chestnut colt became the first horse ever to win the 2000 Guineas on their maiden outing on the turf, making this year’s renewal a memorable one.

“You don’t often see many Classic winners come off the all-weather,” admitted Appleby. “I recall back to August last year when one of the lads sat on him and said he was a nice horse.

“He just wasn’t ready to pull out and run [as a two-year-old], so thankfully he’s done what he needed to do over the winter.

“I couldn’t have been more impressed with the way he looked in the paddock. I thought he looked like a bull of a horse.

“I’d be surprised if he went beyond [the Guineas trip]. William did say that he was going to ride him off the pace because he didn’t want to get drawn into a stamina-filled end-to-end mile. That would have taken the acceleration off this horse which is his forte.”

When asked if the Group 1 St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot on June 18th would be his next target, Appleby responded: “I would imagine so, but we will let the dust settle and let us all enjoy today.”

As for City Of Troy, trainer Aidan O’Brien and the team at Ballydoyle will be looking for answers as to why their Champion Cartier Two-Year-Old Colt failed to hit the frame.

In the initial aftermath of the 2000 Guineas, O’Brien said: “He got upset in the stalls; Ryan [Moore, jockey] said that was very unusual for him. He was very happy beforehand.

“There’s no doubt that it was too bad to be true. We wouldn’t have been here if we thought he was going to do that.

“We will just have to see why that happened. We’ll get him home and see. That’s the way it is, we’ll try and find out why and try not to let it happen again.”