William Buick opted to ride Nations Pride in Saturday's Cazoo Derby from three Charlie Appleby runners at Epsom; James Doyle to ride Walk Of Stars, with last year's winning jockey on Nahanni; Buick won 2018 Derby on Masar
Thursday 2 June 2022 14:31, UK
William Buick will bid to continue his fantastic start to the season by securing his second Cazoo Derby success aboard Nations Pride at Epsom on Saturday.
Charlie Appleby's number one rider has already bagged two Classics this season, winning the Irish 2,000 Guineas aboard Native Trail and the French equivalent on Modern Games.
He does not always get it right, however, as he sided with Native Trail over James Doyle-ridden winner Coroebus in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket, and chose wrong in last year's Derby.
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Buick sided with Dante Stakes winner Hurricane Lane at Epsom 12 months ago, but he had to make do with third place as stablemate as Adayar stole the show in the hands of Adam Kirby.
"Missing out on Adayar last year was just one of those things," said Buick.
"The thing about the Derby is that it comes so early in a horse's career, and these horses are changing week to week. Hurricane Lane had won the Dante, and Adayar had been beaten in two trials, but Adayar was a fantastic winner of the Derby and look what Hurricane Lane has gone on to do since."
While coming up short 12 months ago, Buick does already have one Derby success on his CV, having steered the Appleby-trained Masar to success in 2018 - a day he recalls fondly.
He added: "Winning the Derby on Masar was one of the best days of my life at that stage.
"I'd had a few rides in the race and finished second twice. They were second best, it's as simple as that, so I wouldn't say they were disappointments, but I'd had a taste of it so I knew what it meant.
"Masar was at his absolute peak that day and gave me everything you could ask for in a horse around Epsom."
In a race that forms part of the Qipco British Champions Series, Buick had the choice of three Appleby runners and has sided with impressive Newmarket Stakes winner Nations Pride, who was supplemented on Monday at a cost of £75,000, over Lingfield Derby Trial runner-up Walk Of Stars (Doyle) and Blue Riband Trial winner Nahanni (Kirby).
"Nations Pride has only been beaten once, which was first time out, so he's a horse who has done nothing wrong. He's a very straightforward, well-balanced colt who saves his best for the track," said Buick.
"He won well in Dubai and then when he won at Newmarket I really stretched him and he really saw it out well. His best part of the race was the last part, and that would indicate he's going to stay, but more importantly he travels well and he's got speed.
"As far as a Derby goes he's a very straightforward horse to deal with, and he's got that nice little bit of match practice too after racing five times. He didn't go to Epsom for the gallops morning with Nahanni, Walk Of Stars and my Coronation Cup ride Manobo, but everything has been routine at home."
Assessing Nations Pride's chance, Appleby said: "Being drawn in five is a nice draw. He is a horse with plenty of experience having already been out to Dubai. The first half of the race everyone will be jostling for a good position and he is a horse that has got natural pace.
"From that draw, William can hopefully park him up where he feels it is right to be.
"We never went quick enough to really test those who came to the track the other week (at the Cazoo Derby Gallops Morning) and we decided he didn't need to come as he had already won around Lingfield and at Newmarket so hopefully he will handle this track.
"People questioned how well he handled the dip at Newmarket, but he came out of it very well and he takes plenty of experience into the race.
"We still had him in the French Derby as well (at the time of Epsom gallop). We sat down and discussed it with everyone at home but we were happy with how the horse was so we decided to come here."
He added: "William made his mind up that if we decided to run this horse he would ride him. As I said on the gallops morning, in my mind he has chosen the right horse.
"It is a tough call for William in his position, but I feel that William has chosen the right horse for him and James the right one for him, which gives me more confidence.
"Nahanni is a horse going in there with no pressure on him at all as a 20/1 chance. Adam Kirby knows his way around this course and distance blindfolded and the horse ticks a lot of boxes, having won the Blue Riband here over a mile and a quarter. He was doing all of his best work in the last half a mile that day and he is a willing horse with a willing rider on."