Silver Knott returns stateside for G2 Pennine Ridge
by Ryan Martin
Godolphin’s Silver Knott will try to add to trainer Charlie Appleby’s recent North American success when he takes on a field of seven other rivals for Saturday’s Grade 2, $200,000 Pennine Ridge for sophomores going nine furlongs over the inner turf at Belmont Park.
The Pennine Ridge offers the top-three finishers an automatic invite to the 10-furlong Grade 1, $750,000 Belmont Derby Invitational on July 8.
Appleby, based in Newmarket, England, has won a graded stakes on the NYRA circuit in each of the past three years. In 2021, he sent out Althiqa to Grade 1 conquests in the Just a Game at Belmont and Diana at Saratoga Race Course. Last year, the Appleby-trained With The Moonlight took the Grade 3 Saratoga Oaks Invitational while Nations Pride captured the Grade 1 Saratoga Derby Invitational and Grade 3 Jockey Club Derby. A winner of the Grade 2 Fort Marcy with Ottoman Fleet, Appleby will also seek his second stakes score of the Belmont spring/summer meet.
Silver Knott, a Lope de Vega bay, enters off a distant 11th in the Group 1 British 2000 Guineas on May 6 over soft going at Newmarket, finishing 17 1/4 lengths in arrears of the victorious Chaldean. This was his first effort since his North American debut, where he finished a close second as the favorite in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf on November 4 at Keeneland Race Course. There, he was ninth down the backside, made a bold move in upper stretch along the rail, and held an advantage for a couple strides nearing the wire, but could not stave off the outside rally from Victoria Road.
“His Breeders’ Cup run was huge. You could say he was a little unlucky in that race,” said Appleby’s traveling assistant Chris Connett. “It was just a bob of the head of two nice horses. There was no disgrace in running second there. He trained all winter long very well and he’s filled out and grown into himself.”
Silver Knott was a dual Group 3 winner at two, capturing the seven-furlong Solario in August at Sandown Park and the one-mile Autumn in October at Newmarket.
Connett said while the horse’s Guineas effort was not what they were looking for, he emerged in good enough order for an across-the-pond endeavor.
“His race in the Guineas was not what we expected but he came out of it really well,” Connett said. “This is a great spot for the rest of the year. He might have been a bit rusty with the time off. The Guineas is always a tough race to start off your 3-year-old career in.”
Silver Knott, bred in Great Britain by St Albans Bloodstock, is the first progeny out of the Group 1-winning Nathaniel mare God Given – a half-sister to four-time Group 1-winning multimillionaire Postponed.
Richard Mullen, who was aboard for Ottoman Fleet’s Fort Marcy coup, will pilot Silver Knott from post 4.
Hall of Famer Todd Pletcher will seek his third straight Pennine Ridge conquest when sending out LSU Stables’ Far Bridge [post 8, Joel Rosario] and KHK Racing’s Sharar [post 2, Manny Franco].
Far Bridge enters from a troubled second in the Grade 2 American Turf on May 6 at Churchill Downs. Piloted by Rosario, Far Bridge raced in mid-pack along the inside down the backstretch and maintained his rail skimming position at the top of the lane. He made his bid to the inside of pacesetter Mo Stash in the final furlong, but couldn’t hold off a four-wide rally from the victorious Webslinger, who prevailed by a nose. The effort produced a field-best 93 Beyer Speed Figure.
“He was able to get through on the inside and couldn’t quite see that horse coming from the outside, but it was a good effort,” said Pletcher, who won the Pennine Ridge with Sainthood  and Emmanuel .
Far Bridge, by English Channel, made his debut for Pletcher in the American Turf, after winning his first two starts at Gulfstream Park for trainer Christophe Clement and owner Calumet Farms.
Sharar will make his debut for Pletcher following a campaign in the Middle East with trainer Fawzi Nass.
The son of Gun Runner, and half-brother to 2017 Champion Turf Female Lady Eli, enters off a triumph in the 10-furlong Jumeriah Derby on February 24 at Meydan Racecourse. Since arriving under Pletcher’s care, Sharar has recorded two half-mile breezes over the inner turf, and most recently went 48.84 seconds on May 26.
“He’s been very straightforward and trains well. His two breezes on the turf here looked like he handled it great,” Pletcher said.
Four-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Chad Brown will go three deep in pursuit of his third Pennine Ridge coup when sending out Kalik [post 6, Irad Ortiz, Jr.], Congruent [post 5, Flavien Prat] and Belouni [post 3, Jose Ortiz].
Robert LaPenta, e Five Thoroughbreds and Madaket Stables’ Ontario-bred Kalik has won 2-of-3 starts since switching to turf from the main track. The Collected chestnut broke his maiden at third asking in his sophomore debut on March 17 traveling one mile over the Gulfstream Park turf before defeating winners in pacesetting fashion in a local allowance optional claimer on May 7 over the inner turf.
Tami Bobo and Lugamo Racing Stable's Congruent, who boasts a record of 10-3-0-2, is the most seasoned horse in the field as he makes his debut for the Brown stable. The gray or roan son of Tapit captured the John Battaglia Memorial for his former conditioner Antonio Sano on March 4 over the all-weather surface at Turfway Park. Although winless in three turf starts – all at Gulfstream Park – Congruent was third in the December 10 Pulpit going 7 1/2 furlongs.
Michael Dubb, Madaket Stables, Michael E. Kisber and William J. Rucker’s Belouni will attempt two straight stakes wins after capturing the Woodhaven on April 22 at Aqueduct Racetrack.
The French-bred Fast Company bay made amends in the one-mile Woodhaven after finishing a disappointing seventh in his North American debut in the Colonel Liam in March at Gulfstream.
Completing the field are Lawrence Goichman’s New York homebred Lachaise [post 1, Jose Lezcano], who has not raced since finishing third in the Grade 2 Pilgrim on October 2 at Belmont at the Big A; and Gatsas Stables, R.A. Hill Stables, and Steven Schoenfeld’s Freedom Trail [post 7, Kendrick Carmouche], who pursues his first win since capturing the Awad in October.
The Pennine Ridge honors December Hill Farm’s three-time graded stakes winner, who captured the Grade 2 Hill Prince and Grade 3 Jamaica in 1994 at Belmont for trainer David Donk. The Pennine Ridge is carded as Race 9 on Saturday’s 10-race program. First post is 1:00 p.m. Eastern.
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