William Buick enjoys dream ride on Hurricane Lane in Cazoo St Leger to offer Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe options
William Buick’s celebration after Hurricane Lane stormed to victory in the Cazoo St Leger spoke volumes about the win’s magnitude.
As he was led back to the now famous Doncaster winners’ enclosure, Buick raised his arms to clap the victorious horse.
And, as cheers cascaded down the packed stands, Buick applauded the crowds for their part of a celebratory occasion in the very best traditions of the world’s oldest Classic.
Staged behind closed doors last year due to the Covid pandemic, Hurricane Lane’s comfortable win over Epsom Derby second Mojo Star sets up a probable tilt at next month’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at ParisLongchamp.
There he will face stablemate Adayar, the Derby winner, whose claims have been strengthened after Aidan O’Brien’s superstar filly Snowfall suffered an unexpected reverse at the French track yesterday.
A third Leger for Buick after previous wins on Arctic Cosmos and then Masked Marvel a decade ago, this was, by far, the classiest of his triumphs in Doncaster’s showpiece race.
He kept things simple on the Dante and Irish Derby hero, as Mojo Star set a stern pace under a young Rossa Ryan, before surging clear in the home straight for Sheikh Mohammed’s Godolphin operation.
From then, there was only winner and Buick had time to enjoy the occasion as Hurricane Lane, the heavily-backed odds-on favourite, strode out to win by just under three lengths from the gallant Mojo Star and The Mediterranean.
It explains why he so embraced the post-race celebrations – this was a great showcase for Doncaster – and paid tribute to his father-in-law Roderick Duncan, the longstanding clerk of the course on Town moor, who will retire in the coming months.
And he then paid this tribute to Hurricane Lane, who derives his name from a tropical cyclone that swept through Hawaii back in 2018.
Buick said: “He’s a jockey’s dream, he’s a lovely horse to ride – you can put him anywhere in the race and he relaxes which is obviously vital in a race over this distance.
“What’s impressed me in his last two or three runs is that he quickens towards the end, he really did put the race to bed then. He’s a fantastic horse and I’m sure there’s more room for improvement.
“We had a lot of confidence in him. He was giving all the right signs coming into the race. It’s fantastic (to win the race). These horses, they need to be cherished while they’re around.”
The rider could now face a tough choice if both Hurricane Lane and Derby hero Adayar both line up in next month’s Arc.
Buick said: “Obviously one has just crossed the line so I won’t be rushing into a decision and we’ll have to see how he comes back first. This lad has only lost one race in his life and Adayar has won the Derby and King George.”
Appleby was delighted to win a first Leger. He said: “It was a fantastic performance. It’s great to win any Classic but to win the final Classic, it’s historic, so it’s extra special.
“William said it was a dream race. He had the perfect pitch and all the room he needed and the great thing about this horse is he quickens. He’s got a gear change. You couldn’t have been more comfortable watching it all the way round.”
Appleby is unsure on his Arc plans at present, but a trip to France is certainly not off the table.
He added: “The Arc is on everybody’s mind. I think it is something we will keep an eye on, but let the dust settle. I see no reason why we wouldn’t potentially turn up.
“As for next year with him and (Derby winner) Adayar, that is for everyone to talk about towards the end of the season after the Arc.”
Richard Hannon has his sights set on a staying campaign next year for Mojo Star.
He said: “He’s such a lovely horse and to finish second again is the worst feeling. He’ll only get better as he goes further and he stays in training next year.
“Once we get past the original disappointment of finishing second, we’ll take it all in. He’ll get two and a half miles next season no problem, so Ascot (Gold Cup) will be the plan.”
A strong card saw Hurricane Ivor take the Portland Handicap, a competitive sprint, for William Haggas and Tom Marquand while the Group Two Champion Stakes for two-year-old juveniles saw David Egan’s mount Bayside Boy deny Frankie Dettori aboard the Queen’s Reach For The Moon in a thriller. It was the perfect warm-up for the St Leger.