The Charlie Appleby-trained Art Du Val (3c No Nay Never – Aquarelle Rare, by Rainbow Quest) ran out an impressive winner of the Meydan Trophy on his racecourse return on Thursday.
Successful on debut in August, he was last seen finishing second in a Listed contest in Deauville in October and was sent off the even-money favourite on his Dubai debut. Racing over nine and a half furlongs, he was restrained in mid-division by William Buick and began to make good progress from the three furlong pole. Leading a furlong and a half from home, he ran on well to beat Bila Shak (Scat Daddy) by four lengths.
Buick commented after the race, “He has matured and improved a lot from two to three and is a nice horse for sure. It was a very pleasing performance.” The Listed Al Bastakiya is now the aim for the Godolphin-owned colt, who was purchased for 120,000gns at Tattersalls as a yearling. Bred by DJ and Ms Deer, Art Du Val is a grandson of three-time Group 1 winner Aquarelliste.
No Nay Never’s first runner in Japan, the Yoshito Yahagi-trained Unicorn Lion (3c No Nay Never– Muravka, by High Chaparral), made a winning debut at Kyoto in January.
There was strong market support for the Lion Race Horse Co-owned colt and he was sent off favourite under Mirco Demuro, who rode him to break well for the six furlong contest. Chasing the leaders, he took the lead in the straight and held off a late challenge by Hokko Mevius to score by half a length.
Bred by China Horse Club under their Desert Star Phoenix banner, Unicorn Lion became the highest-priced yearling from the first crop of No Nay Never when selling from Baroda and Colbinstown Studs for 850,000gns at the Tattersalls Book 1 Yearling Sale. Bought by JS Company, his full-sister sold to Broadhurst Agency for €130,000 at the Goffs November Foal Sale later that same year.
Unicorn Lion is a half-brother to top-class juvenile The Wow Signal (Starspangledbanner) and Listed winner Miss Infinity (Rock Of Gibraltar), who also finished third in the Group 2 Rockfel Stakes. Unicorn Lion brings No Nay Never’s number of first crop winners to 34, with the likes of Group 1 Middle Park Stakes hero Ten Sovereigns seeing their champion freshman sire standing for €100,000 in 2019.