Wuheida takes Group One glory for Charlie at the fourth attempt
After three near misses in 2017, Wuheida tasted Group 1 glory in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf at Del Mar on Saturday.
The highly-regarded filly had been Moulton Paddocks trainer Charlie Appleby’s main Classic hope at the start of the year, but a hoof injury halted her progress.
She performed well in the Tattersalls Falmouth Stakes, the Coolmore Fastnet Rock Matron Stakes and the Prix De L’Opera Longines — never finishing outside of the top four — but a victory eluded the daughter of Dubawi.
However, that changed in California at the weekend as jockey William Buick executed a faultless ride on last year’s Prix Marcel Boussac winner, keeping close to the pace early on before moving into an unassailable lead after the turn.
Appleby, who was returning to the Breeders’ Cup for the first time since Outstrip’s win in the Juvenile Turf four years ago, told the Godolphin website: “William has given Wuheida a peach of a ride. His only instructions were to let Wuheida spin around.
“When they went into the first turn, I knew they were in the right position.
“The fractions were all going right for us as well and Wuheida is a strong finisher.
“William angled her out in the straight and got first run on everything. I am delighted for Godolphin.”
For Buick, the victory allowed him to tick a box on his CV that had been missing up until that point.
The Newmarket-based jockey had gone close on numerous occasions to getting off the mark in the Breeders’ Cup, most notably with The Fugue in 2013 when he was denied on the line by the Ryan Moore-ridden Magician in the Breeders’ Cup Turf.
Buick was visibly emotional after that particular disappointment, but he was equally delighted to have broken his duck with Wuheida.
“This victory means everything to me — it is very special,” he said.
“Wuheida is a fantastic horse to ride. The ground has gone against her a lot this year.
“It is a game of ups and downs — if you have got more ups than downs then it is good.
“I have had plenty of goes at the Breeders’ Cup and it wasn’t successful, so to ride my first Breeders’ Cup winner means everything.
“It is a big team effort. I am delighted for everybody in the team.”