Cool Buick lands Leger on a horse nobody wanted

Rising star rides his first Classic winner on John Gosden's colt Arctic Cosmos

If the gamble that the hugely experienced trainer John Gosden took in employing a big-time rookie as first jockey to his powerful Newmarket stable this year needed any justification, it came yet again here yesterday. The young man in question, William Buick, showed coolness beyond his years in winning the 234th St Leger on the 12-1 shot Arctic Cosmos. It may, as Gosden said, have been a leap of faith to recruit the 22-year-old in the close season. But it was one of which Bob Beamon would have been proud.

The extended mile and three-quarters of the oldest, longest and toughest Classic was uncharted territory for most of yesterday's 10 runners, including Arctic Cosmos. But the colt found the demanding test entirely to his liking, showing the class to travel strongly throughout and the stamina to power home as others around him faltered.

So easily was he galloping down the uncompromising run for home of more than half a mile that Buick was able to confidently steady him before pouncing past the trail- blazer, the proven stayer Corsica, with a furlong to run. "I didn't want to get to the front too soon," said the jockey, "but eventually I ran out of horses. When I gave him a kick, he quickened and I knew then that unless Nijinsky was behind me, I was going to win. It was actually all very straightforward."

Arctic Cosmos had a length and three-quarters to spare over Midas Touch (13-2), who stayed on dourly to pip the gallant Corsica (40-1) by a nose for second. The Oaks heroine Snow Fairy, who was cruising two furlongs out, came in a creditable fourth. But a massive gamble on Rewilding, backed to even-money favourite, went astray as Frankie Dettori's mount, for whom Corsica was pacemaker, finished a disappointing sixth.

The Ladbrokes-sponsored Group One prize was a first Classic success for Buick and a step into the spotlight, too, for Arctic Cosmos – unfashionably bred, unfashionably campaigned and, at one point in his life, unwanted. He cost only £50,000 as a yearling, back-pocket change in bloodstock terms, and yesterday earned £283,850.

A son of Derby winner North Light, he was bought on spec at auction by Gosden but was rejected by all the Clarehaven Stables owners to whom he was offered. He had to start his career, which includes wins earlier this year on two lowly all-weather tracks, in the colours of Gosden's wife, Rachel. It was only after he showed his burgeoning potential with a second place at Royal Ascot that the investment fund manager Robin Geffen, better known for his support of jump racing, bought into him.

It is not yet four years since the rider, born in Norway where his father Walter was an eight-time champion, rode his first winner, Bank On Benny, at Salisbury. Dettori was one of those who had pointed to Buick, champion apprentice two years ago, as one of the weighing room's most exciting talents, a view his current boss had already taken. "When I offered him the job he had not ridden for me in public, or even work at home," said Gosden. "But I spent a lot of time in the States around some great jockeys, and I'd like to think I know a good one when I see one.

"This one has the qualities needed – he's got judgement as a jockey and balance as a horseman. But he's also got personal equilibrium. We live in a world of celebrity froth which can be destructive to a young athlete, but William has had a proper grounding and upbringing. He's not going to lose his head." As if to demonstrate, Buick promptly got on with his day job with two more winners for his stable, an inspired last-stride pounce on Buthelezi and a cruise on Senate.

Arctic Cosmos, who wore blinkers for the first time yesterday, was a third St Leger win for Gosden, after Shantou in 1996 and Lucarno three years ago. "We decided to put the headgear on him after his third in his trial at Goodwood," he said. "It's not that he is ungenuine, he's still just a big baby and we thought they'd help him concentrate."

This colt is likely to drop back in distance for his next assignment, which may be the Breeders' Cup Turf in Kentucky in November. "We've had one dream come true today," added Gosden, "and we might go for another. Not bad for a horse no one wanted, and who had to go into my wife's Christmas stocking."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Sauce Recruitment: Financial Analyst -International TV Production

£250 - £300 per day: Sauce Recruitment: 6 month contract (Initially)A global e...

Recruitment Genius: Project Management Support Assistant

£20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Railway Museum, the largest of its ...

Sauce Recruitment: FP&A Analyst -Home Entertainment

£250 - £300 per day: Sauce Recruitment: (Rolling) 3 month contractA global en...

Recruitment Genius: Sales and Account Manager - OTE £80,000+

£40000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project