Horse Racing

Appleby aims to go beyond last year’s rancher’s hat trick

NEWMARKET, UK – The Breeders’ Cup has a special resonance for Charlie Appleby, who coached his first Class I winner at the championship not four months after his coaching tenure for Godolphin in 2013.

That first major milestone was provided by Darley Homebred Outstrip (GB) (Exceed And Excel {Aus}) in Juvenile Turf, and if American race fans didn’t pay much attention to Appleby that day, it now they did, as it was a win that set the tone for the following years, not only in the Breeders’ Cup, but in the top level races in North America in general. Rarely does an Appleby runner perform poorly when sent to state, and often they’ll return with another trophy to add to the side tables that flood the coach’s office at Moulton Paddocks in Newmarket.

Behind his desk, equally spaced, are three matching trophies from Del Mar last year, when Appleby and newly crowned 2022 track and field athlete William Buick knocked Del Mar down in storm. Just as important as those wins for the stable, icing on the cake for Sheikh Mohammed’s vast ranching operation is the fact that Yibir (GB), Space Blues (Ire) and Modern Games (Ire) are all A cross of Darley’s top stallion. , Dubai (Ire).

“It was a big win,” said Appleby, returning to Outstrip while catching up with some Australian races on TV before heading out to oversee his first batch. “And it was one of those very surreal moments. To stand in Santa Anita with that backdrop and watch your first 1st grade winner go through the line…”

He concluded, reminiscing about a pivotal moment in his own career, which went from strength to strength in subsequent seasons to see him crowned for the first time. coach championship in England last year. That’s the title he hopes to retain when 2022 comes to an end.

“Look, I’ve been active for a long time before that, so you always know what these moments mean, but when you hold that trophy and my name is next to it, it really gives you an incredible feeling and feeling that you want more of,” he added.

“So the Breeders’ Cup has always been a meeting where we have lobbied. I’m not saying we campaigned hard, but I feel like we’re always trying to find the right horses to be the most competitive. And thankfully, it’s still a lucky hunting ground so far.”

In 2017, it was Wuheida (GB) (Dubawi {Ire})’s turn in Filly & Mare Turf, while Line Of Duty (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) gave Appleby his second in Juvenile Turf the following year. That race has now gone the three-time coach’s path, though last year’s success was not without drama. One of his two intended starters in the race, Albahr (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}), went bad in the stalls, forcing him and his steady friend Modern Games to be disqualified. removed from the gate. For a tumultuous few minutes before kick-off, it seemed at first as if both horses were scratched out of the race, but in the end Modern Games and Buick were recovered and went on to win, with the Chaos ensued for the bettors.

“Last year was a great year. I feel that we also added a lot of drama to the meeting,” Appleby said not lightly.

“Going away with three mixed-race winners and all three of them from Dubawi, I told the team there, as much as we said ‘well, that’s great’, we have to try harder next year to do better than that. That might take a bit of a push, though, because it’s a huge achievement for everyone and we’re very proud to step off the track with what we’ve achieved. “

Indeed, it will be difficult to achieve those results at Keeneland this year, but the Appleby team — and the coach who always refers to the barn’s success as “we” rather than “me” — certainly has a plan. give it an old fashioned buzz.

One thing I’m confident about with Naval Crown is that he has a decent exit speed

The seven runners who ran to Kentucky all finished their final work fast on Wednesday in good shape, and will continue their regular canters until Saturday’s delivery. With the Space Blues currently at Kildangan Stud in Ireland and Yibir not traveling, Modern Games will lead the racers as he bids to add Breeders’ Cup Mile to his victory last year. During that time, he became Appleby’s third Guineas winner in 2022 landing the Poule d’Essai des Poulains, following the victory of the late Coreoebus (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}) in 2000 Guineas and Native Trail (GB) (Oasis dream {GB}) in Ireland 2,000 Guineas. Modern Games took another trip across the Atlantic this year to win the GI Woodbine Mile.

“When unfortunately Coroebus did not join the Sussex Stakes, there was a sense that Modern Games was the substitute. But he posted one of the closest finishes to Baaeed coming in second in Sussex. Then he went to Canada and won very well there,” said Appleby.

“Then with QEII on Championship Day, when it rained again that day, I thought ‘should we really run this horse?’. But he was very orderly, and as always, he went out with his shield, finishing second in a position that William said he hated from start to finish.

“In Keeneland it won’t be so soft. I imagine Kinross will start to love, but he’s there and in great order. “

The sculptural Rebel’s Romance (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}) is one of two Godolphin athletes, along with Nations Pride (Ire) (Teophilo {Ire}), being targeted at the Breeders’ Cup Turf, being targeted by Yibir. announced last year. The four-year-old has had a pretty good season, with four wins in a row, culminating in a place in second-placed Group 1 in Germany on 1m4f.

Appleby said of Rebel’s Romance, “He was a past UAE Derby winner and he went to the US late that winter in Dubai to potentially take part in the Kentucky Derby, but he ran into challenges. failed there so that didn’t materialize. We went back to Dubai to try and continue his dismal playing career, which he failed to materialize last winter, but he has been a revelation since. We transferred him to the pitch.

“He stayed well, he had experience, he traveled well. I thought he was a big player of the night. He will be joined by Nation’s Pride, a three-year-old who comes to it with a similar profile to Yibir. Apparently they both won the Jockey Club Derby Invitational en route to the Breeders’ Cup. But before that, Nation’s Pride also brought more of an American experience. “

That experience powered by Teofilo’s son advancing straight from his eighth place at Epsom in the Derby to taking second in the GI Belmont Derby before winning the GI Saratoga Derby.

Appleby adds, “Nations Pride is likely to be a favorite on this day. William [Buick] will ride him and James [Doyle] will ride Rebel’s Romance; they are two direct players. “

If he gets a good draw, [Silver Knott] probably the horse they had to realistically defeat

The trainer was also a duel in the Turf Sprint with Naval Crown (GB) and Creative Force (Ire) Dubawi duos, who came in first and second, a neck separating them, in the G1 Platinum Jubilee S. at the Royal Ascot.

“Both are rock-hard ponies,” said Appleby. “Creative Force took a break from the summer and we are delighted with his return on Champions Day, finishing in third place. He will definitely move forward for that run.

“Naval Crown was faster, dare I say, when the season was going on. But it hasn’t quite worked for him since the Platinum Jubilee. He ran a good race in the July Cup [when second to Alcohol Free] but it’s disappointing on a very fast platform [at Haydock] and then obviously disappointment on weak ground on Champions League Day. “But one thing I am confident with Naval Crown is that he has a decent exit speed. That’s what’s needed there, so it’s a tick for him. He’s already experienced and I think he’ll enjoy getting back on the turn road. “

Appleby also takes aim again at the Juvenile Lawn, this time with the smart Silver Knott (GB) (Lope De Vega {Ire}) who has a winning pair in Group 3 to his credit, and has a half brother to Dubawi who was recently recruited to the Godolphin team for next year with 1,500,000gns tunes at the Tattersalls.

“His form has been running pretty well and, dare I say, he has a similar record to Outstrip,” the coach noted. “He’s been playing at a good level and a better surface would suit him, so hopefully we’ll get there. If he gets a good draw, he’s probably the horse they have to realistically beat. “

Completing the bulkhead was winner Sirenia S. Naughty Magic (Ire) (Exceed And Excel {Aus}), who then placed fourth behind Blackbeard (Ire) in G1 Middle Park S. and will line up in Juvenile turf sprint.

“He’s got a lot of natural pace and he’s definitely a player,” added Appleby.

“As we all know, you have to have a lot of luck around that. You have to travel well, you have to adapt well. And in events with shorter distances, you must have a tie. So there are still a few more hurdles to overcome, but it’s an interesting team to overcome. “


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