Karl Burke was left wondering what might have been after 14/1 shot Libertarian finished strongly to finish a length-and-a-half second behind Ruler Of The World in the Investec Derby.
William Buick’s mount was switched off as expected at the rear of the field in the early stages of the race but the slow pace meant that the son of New Approach was not seen to best effect until the latter stages of the Classic, by which time he had too much ground to make up.
Burke, who is assistant trainer to his wife Elaine at their Leyburn base, was adamant that their three-year-old would have won with a stronger pace but is looking forward to the future with their stable star.
“The first thing William (Buick) said as he got off was that the pace of the race has done for him,” said Burke.
“They went really slowly for the first part of the race and then they kept quickening it up and slowing it down until the field reached Tattenham Corner.
“We’re delighted with him though and we’ve know we’ve got a proper horse. He’s lived up to all expectations and more. When we got him at the beginning of the year, we thought we had a nice, raw three-year-old who could be a staying type but he keeps on getting better. He’s come on so much in the past three months.
“Fair play to the whole team back home who have got him here in peak form. We’ll have to look at the other big races now. He’s not in the Irish Derby but we could supplement him if we wanted to. The King George is also an option as is the St Leger – it would mean so much to us to win the Yorkshire Classic.”
David Wachman was also beaming after 25/1 shot Galileo Rock finished a short-head behind Libertarian in third but the Irish handler refused to be drawn on where his colt could go next.
“He’s a smart horse and we’re very happy with that,” said Wachman.
“I’d think he’d improve for this run but I don’t know where he’ll end up next. We’ll get home and have a good think about that over the next few days. He’s not really surprised me as we’ve always thought he’s nice. We came here a bit under the radar which we were happy about.
Dawn Approach kept pulling for his head as rider Kevin Manning held him up fifth last in the 12-strong Investec Derby field.
The 5/4 favourite would not settle at all and pulled himself into sixth place, then went second as the runners came over the top of the hill and soon took the lead.
But his advantage did not last long and Manning accepted the situation as Dawn Approach dropped back to finish last.
“He ended up pulling me there and I didn’t have any choice. I am running three deep (wide) and I just cannot get a pull out of him – I am just a passenger.
“I knew it was not possible for a horse to pull the way he did and win.”
“There was no pace and the horse did not settle. There was nothing there when Kevin pulled him out.
“Dawn Approach had been running over a mile where they were jumping out with a strong pace. Kevin just dropped his hands down his withers and let him bowl in those races.
“I doubt you will see Dawn Approach again over a mile and a half. We will take him home and see how he is and train him for a while. Time will help us to decide (what to do).
“There is nothing proved one way or the other. He just did not settle and run his race. This was not a good outcome.”
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