Godolphin add Breeders’ Cup double with Space Blues and Yibir

Trainer Appleby and jockey Buick enjoy memorable meeting at Del Mar

Jockey William Buick celebrates after riding Space Blues to win the Breeders' Cup Mile at Del Mar on November 6, 2021. Getty
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Godolphin won a Grade 1 double on Saturday and claimed three prizes in total at the highest level in the two-day Breeders’ Cup meeting at Del Mar in California.

Space Blues clinched his third Group/Grade 1 victory when taking the Breeders’ Cup Mile, while Yibir completed the double for the royal blues in the Breeders’ Cup Turf.

On Friday, Modern Games bagged the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, and all three winners are trained by Charlie Appleby and ridden by William Buick.

Buick pressed the button on Space Blues with just under half a furlong to go and secured a half-length triumph.

“I am absolutely delighted with Space Blues,” Appleby told godolphin.com. “He has been a fantastic horse and will now be retired to stud.

“Space Blues has been a great servant and it’s another well-deserved win. I’m thrilled for team Godolphin both here and back home at Moulton Paddocks in Newmarket and obviously His Highness Sheikh Mohammed (bin Rashid – Vice President and Ruler of Dubai).”

Yibir continued his sensational second half of 2021 when flashing home to get up in the final strides of the Breeders’ Cup Turf.

The Godolphin runner quickened strongly after being switched wide by Buick and passed the majority of the field in the home stretch, collaring Broome near the line.

“Yibir broke from the gates in the Jockey Club Derby and looked like he was actually going to pull himself up at one stage, but we saw that turn of foot there and we saw it again today,” Appleby said.

“William gave him a great ride. It was hard for him as I could see Yibir was really taking him on.

“As William quite rightly said, to still have that finish in him, it just shows what sort of an engine he has got.

“We felt this horse had a lot of talent, he was galloping really well with all our three-year-old middle-distance horses and he has gone and finished it off today.

“He is a horse that I had on my radar to take to Dubai and obviously look at the Dubai Sheema Classic with him. Coming back for a Breeders' Cup next year will definitely be high on his agenda.”

Buick added: “There was a lot of pace in the race but I didn't know how Yibir would react.

“To be honest with you, I thought he was doing too much. But, once we turned into the back, he dropped and he was in a good mile-and-a-half rhythm.

“I was just hoping that he stayed there because he's got an amazingly strong finish. Halfway around the home turn I could see Broome had gone, but I was always confident of picking him up.”

Updated: November 07, 2021, 6:11 AM