By Duane Fonseca
Having won top-level races around the world, Modern Games was finally labelled a British Group One winner after nailing the 1600m Lockinge Stakes at Newbury with a spectacular turn of foot.
British Champion Flat Trainer Charlie Appleby’s 4yo Dubawi colt carried William Buick, the British Champion Flat Jockey, in the saddle, the rider surviving a bite from second placed Chindit en route to a length and a half victory.
A winner of four previous Group/Grade One races - two Breeders’ Cup successes in America and a top-tier win in each of Canada and France - Modern Games raced near side to a pace set by Shadwell’s eventual fifth Mutasaabeq. Buick had revved up Modern Games with 600m left to run and even though Richard Hannon’s Chindit took over at the 200m pole, the momentum was with the former, with Buick having to take evasive action as Chindit went for his arm as he and Modern Games zipped past.
Modern Games is bound for the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot on 20 June, trainer Appleby, who won the race for the first time, said: “I’m delighted for everyone – the team and Godolphin – but more importantly this horse.
“He’s probably one of the best Dubawis we’ve had. He’s been a fantastic sire and we’ve been fortunate to train a lot of good horses by him, but this horse will probably go down as one of the most consistent we’ve ever trained, and consistent at the top level.
“That’s his fifth Group/Grade 1 win now, but his first in England, which is what I think everyone was waiting to see. He did it in America as a juvenile, and in France, and then Canada and back to America.”
For Buick it was a second success in the race, having won the 2017 edition with Ribchester, trained by Richard Fahey for Godolphin. Buick said: “It was a real tussle, I definitely noticed it (Chindit’s attempted bite). This horse is a real superstar, he’s so consistent and he’s just a joy to have anything to do with. He’s there when you need him, he’s done it now in England, France, America a couple of times and on different grounds. He’s a top-class miler.”