Aidan O’Brien hailed City Of Troy as the best two-year-old he has trained following a sensational display in the Native Trail’s Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket.
O’Brien expressed some doubts about the soft ground in the lead up to the race but the decision to run the colt proved the right call.
Under Ryan Moore, the unbeaten juvenile set the early pace as the 8-15 favourite and the triumph looked inevitable when he surged clear of his seven rivals two furlongs from home before crossing the line three and a half lengths ahead.
The son of Justify was having just his third career start, having won a Curragh maiden in July before triumphing by six and a half lengths in the Superlative Stakes later that month.
Testing conditions scuppered a planned National Stakes run last month, but the Curragh’s loss was Newmarket’s gain as City Of Troy blazed a trail down the Rowley Mile to ensure he heads into winter quarters as next year’s Classic favourite.
Coral make him an evens chance for the 2000 Guineas and the 5-2 market leader for the Derby, with Paddy Power slightly more generous at 5-4 for the Newmarket Classic and the 9-4 favourite for Epsom.
The latter firm also offer 10-1 about his chances of completing the Triple Crown by also winning the St Leger.
O’Brien said: “Did you see the movement on him? He’d absolutely hate that ground, he hasn’t got tractor tyres but what he has is a jet engine and the engine just powers his action through.
“He’s an incredible horse really and thank God we ran him. I said to everyone he could get beat, he was entitled to get beat on this ground, but he just never gets tired the horse – I’ve never seen a horse who doesn’t get tired.
“It’s obviously part of his make-up somewhere. We’ve never had a horse like him, that’s the way it is.
“We’ve never had a horse where we don’t know where the limit is. We usually push them to the limit, but we never could find his limit. We’ve never, ever had a horse before like that.
“He is the best two-year-old we’ve trained, there’s no doubt. He’s by Justify and it’s a Justify trait – they just keep going.”
Moore was equally as impressed, admitting he felt only the ground or lengthy absence could beat his mount.
He said: “He’s a very, very good horse who really impressed me on both of his previous runs and today he’s put up a performance like that off the back of a long lay-off in conditions he didn’t like.
“The first day I rode him he did something a horse has never done to me before – I couldn’t stop him, which has never happened. We went steady and he only got racing in the last 150 yards on fast ground
“When he ran here on the July Course, I thought that was as impressive a two-year-old performance as I’d ridden – at that time of year I’d never ridden a two-year-old who could do that.
“Coming into today, I couldn’t see how anything the race could beat him, the worry was the holding ground after that rain we had last night, and he’d been off since the July meeting.
“I thought his performance was very commanding again and he’s a special horse. His action is different and he wants a nice surface.
“He’s a very rare horse. For me, Frankel is the best racehorse I ever saw and I stupidly said after this horse won the July Course I hadn’t seen a two-year-old do that since him, but that was a silly comparison to make – this horse has a long way to go yet and he’s going to have to carry on doing what he’s done so far.”
Alyanaabi took second spot for owners Shadwell and racing manager Angus Gold was another to praise City Of Troy.
Gold said: “I was incredibly impressed by the winner. He looked an absolutely gorgeous horse with a lovely attitude beforehand and I couldn’t believe how well he moved on the ground.
“Jim (Crowley, jockey) said he could see the winner and he looked like he was struggling on the ground and he thought he had a chance, and then he just went away again.
“We’re delighted with our horse, he ran a fantastic race. Jim just said he couldn’t quicken like he did last time on faster ground, but then the winner was in the same boat.
“We’ll put him away and try to have another go in the Guineas, all being well. I can’t see any reason why not.”