Big Evs shows class and grit to land Jaeger-LeCoultre Molecomb Stakes

Horse Racing | Press Article 17/04/24

Big Evs (9/4JF) followed up his Windsor Castle Stakes success at Royal Ascot with a front-running victory in the G3 Jaeger-LeCoultre Molecomb Stakes, setting up a potential tilt at the G1 Nunthorpe Stakes later this month.

Trained by Mick Appleby, the Blue Point colt showed his customary speed from the stalls and that enabled Jason Hart to angle him over to the stands’ rail, which ultimately proved crucial.

Hart was keen not to give away the rail, which forced runner-up Purosangue to switch late on, and Big Evs stuck his neck out determinedly to prevail by a neck. The other 9/4JF Kylian was just over a length further back in third.

Appleby said: “Big Evs has done that very well. I don’t think he really liked the ground, but he has toughed it out. He is as tough as anything and very quick. That ground just blunted his speed a bit early on but, because he is so tough, he pulled a bit more out at the end.

“I think the Nunthorpe is a realistic target. A two-year-old has not won the Nunthorpe since Kingsgate Native [in 2007]. So yeah, it is a possibility. We will speak even more when we have all calmed down a bit.”

He added: “As soon as we got Big Evs and started working him, we knew he was special. He would be the best we have had so far. I think he is up there with the likes of Caspian Prince, Danzeno, Annaf, he’s very good. Hopefully, he’ll turn out better than them and give us a first Group One.”

Jason Hart said: “I would say Big Evs has won despite the ground. But he's all two-year-old and, with his good draw, it was the right thing to run him.

"He travelled grand, but at halfway he started hanging and I had to get him rolling forward to get him to negotiate that. We got racing sooner than I wanted, but I had to do that to keep him straight. He has proved he can dig deep.

"He is not very big, but he has plenty of speed and a real will to win. I am delighted for Mick [Appleby, trainer] and all the team. He is thought of as an all-weather trainer, but he is proving that he can do it with any type of horse.

"I don't know whether they would run him in the Nunthorpe or step him up to six furlongs [at York] but he's a horse with a hell of a lot of speed and sticking to five would probably be the best thing I would have thought.

“York is a funny track because sometimes a five-furlong horse will stay six there because it's so flat. If they were going to try six furlongs at any track, it might not be a bad place to try.”

On how Big Evs has come on from Royal Ascot, Hart added: “It is hard to say really, as he gave me a totally different feel at Royal Ascot, where at the furlong and a half I gave him a kick in the belly and he really accelerated and showed a good turn of foot.

“Today, the ground has blunted his speed a bit and he’s probably ground it out more than anything. A totally different manner of winning really. He’s had to be tough today. He’s got a great attitude and I think he’s going to give the owners a hell of a lot of fun for the rest of the year.”

Andrew Balding said of Purosangue: “We are just thrilled the horse is back on form – he created a very good impression first time out, and we just thought he did things the wrong way round at Newmarket.

“That was much more like it, and he was beaten by a very good horse. He won on pretty good ground at Haydock so I think he’s quite versatile. He looks like he is made for the Roses Stakes at York."

3.00pm Jaeger-LeCoultre Molecomb Stakes (Group 3)
1 Big Evs (RP Racing Ltd) Mick Appleby 2-9-03 Jason Hart 9/4JF
2 Purosangue (Opulence Thoroughbreds & Teme Valley) Richard Hannon 2-9-03 Oisin Murphy 11/2
3 Kylian (Sheikh Hamed Dalmook Al Maktoum) Karl Burke 2-9-03 Ryan Moore 9/4JF
8 ran

Mick Appleby – 1st Qatar Goodwood Festival
Jason Hart – 7th Qatar Goodwood Festival winner