St Leger - At The Races

Charlie Appleby Stable Tour

    Derby winning-trainer Charlie Appleby is out for more Classic glory in the St Leger and here he gives his verdict on his high-profile runners at Doncaster and the other upcoming major festivals.
  • Monday 10 September 2018
  • Stable Tours

For sun lovers summer 2018 has produced some of the hottest and most prolonged periods of fine weather on record. It has been a similar story for Charlie Appleby’s classy band of runners on the turf with a feeling of “Ouch” as those taking him on having had their own feeling of being burnt.

A current strike rate of 29% it tells it owns story and seven Group winners in August, with Wild Illusion at the top of the pile with a Group 1 success in the Nassau Stakes at Goodwood, and three other Listed victories that month alone it  reflects what has been a season to remember for the Moulton Paddocks team.

Pride of place, of course, goes to Masar who provided Sheikh Mohammed with a coveted first victory in the Godolphin blue silks in the Derby at Epsom in June with his length and a half victory from Dee Ex Bee and a success that remains embroiled in Appleby’s mind.

Charlie said: “It is a day that we all will never forget and winning the race for His Highness Sheikh Mohammed and Godolphin meant everything and for sure was the pinnacle of my career.”

“First and foremost, I have to be grateful for the opportunity that Sheikh Mohammed and Godolphin have provided me with and it is a massive team effort with our success down to everyone in that team.”

“We have two young jockeys in William Buick and James Doyle who are at the pinnacle of their own careers and both Classic winners this season. They are riding winners week in and week out and that gives you confidence all the way through and that is plain for all to see.”

With £3,536,459 in the kitty so far Appleby has smashed his previous best domestic total of £2,161,034 recorded in 2017 and, although he may struggle to beat the 106 winners of that year, (with 74 to date) the theme running through the statistics is that his runners are clearly performing at a higher level.

Appleby said: “I think that going into this last winter that the two-year-olds were always the best crop we have had. We hoped that they would winter well and do well from two to three and that’s exactly what’s happened. You have to have a healthy stable and touch wood there have been like that throughout the season.

“We have a great team - everybody is confident in what they are doing and the jockeys are getting on these horses and thinking they can win all the time. Everyone is going out there very positive and in any sport that is what you need.”

There is the William Hill St Leger at Doncaster to consider this weekend with Old Persian and Brundtland looking likely to carry the baton and then possible contenders for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and beyond to consider before Appleby takes up Winter residence in Dubai once more.

In a year where anything has been possible for Appleby and Godolphin would there be anything that could put the icing on the cake to an unforgettable campaign?

“I have to reiterate that to win a Derby was first and foremost was my biggest ambition and to achieve Classic winners is what we all strive for,” said Appleby. “The Melbourne Cup is a race that has so far eluded Godolphin to date and it would be great if we can have a couple of live contenders going down for that this year.”

Charlie kindly spoke to Tony Elves of attheraces.com about some of those he hopes can land the Godolphin team another “couple of big pots” before the end of the year.

Older Horses

Blue Point (IRE)

Form Profile:

Winner of six of his 15 starts and currently rated 120. Most impressive when scoring by a length and three quarters from Battaash in the Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot (5f) in June and finished third, beaten two and a quarter lengths, to Alpha Delphini in the Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes on his latest outing at York (5f) in August.

Trainer Says:

He is going to head for the Flying Five at the Curragh. He is currently the highest rated in the race and won the King’s Stand. He didn’t disappoint in the Nunthorpe at York when finishing third in one of those tough race on the flat five furlongs. The stiffer five at the Curragh should hopefully suit and if he brings his Ascot form to the table he is going to be a major player.

Video Form
22 Feb 2018:
14 Jul 2016:

D'bai (IRE)

Form Profile:

Winner of five of his 21 starts and currently rated 110. Landed the Group 3 John Of Gaunt Stakes at Haydock (7f) in June and finished fourth, beaten four and a quarter lengths, to Tantheem last outing in the Group 3 Prix de Meautry at Deauville (7f) in August.

Trainer Says:

He will hopefully run in the Park Stakes. D’Bai was a Group 3 winner at Haydock and he has run consistently well at the top level. The step back up to seven furlongs should suit him and, hopefully, if he brings his “A” games to Doncaster he will be a live contender in the Park Stakes.

Video Form
15 Sep 2018:
21 May 2018:
10 Mar 2018:
1 Feb 2018:
11 Jan 2018:

Emotionless (IRE)

Form Profile:

Winner of three of his 10 starts and currently rated 115. Returned to winning form on his latest outing in the Listed Steventon Stakes at Newbury (1m 2f) in July when beating Desert Encounter two lengths.

Trainer Says:

He is another going to Australia and he will run in the Caulfield Cup. We will see how he gets on there before we make any further plans.

Video Form
11 Jan 2018:
4 Mar 2017:
9 Feb 2017:
5 Jan 2017:

Hamada

  • 4-y-o; bay gelding
  • Breeding: Cape Cross - Sahraah (Kingmambo)
  • Trained by: C Appleby
  • Last Race: Newbury, 18 Aug 2018 14:25
  • Result: Won/6, held up in touch, tracked leaders 8f out, switched outside to challenge 2f out, soon ridden, led 1f out, edged left, drew clear inside final furlong
  • View full form
Form Profile:

Winner of five of his 7 starts and currently rated 110. Winner of his four races this season and continued his progression in fine style of his latest start in the Group 3 Geoffrey Freer Stakes at Newbury (1m 5 1/2f) in August when beating Raymond Tusk two and a half lengths.

Trainer Says:

He is another that goes into quarantine this week. He has done nothing but improve all season and he will also go for the Melbourne Cup.

Video Form
28 Apr 2018:

Three Year Olds

Brundtland (IRE)

Form Profile:

Winner of both of his starts to date. Made a winning debut in a maiden at Newmarket (1m 2f) last October by a length from Making Miracles and successful in a listed race on his belated return at Clairefontaine (1m 4f) last month when beating One For Arthur a length and a quarter.

Trainer Says:

He is possible contender for the St Leger and winner of his two starts. His last start was in a listed race at Clairefontaine and he has shown significant improvement since that run. It’s a big step up but he’s a horse that has done nothing wrong to date and we are confident he will stay the trip well.

Cross Counter

  • 3-y-o; bay gelding
  • Breeding: Teofilo - Waitress (Kingmambo)
  • Trained by: C Appleby
  • Last Race: York, 22 Aug 2018 15:00
  • Result: 2/9, tracked leaders, came towards stands side rail and headway 3f out, effort 2f out, ridden over 1f out, stayed on to press winner inside final furlong, edged left and just held near finish
  • View full form
Form Profile:

Winner of four of his 7 starts and currently rated 114. Impressive four and a half-length winner from Dee Ex Bee in the Group 3 Gordon Stakes at Goodwood (1m 4f) in August and failed by only a head behind stablemate Old Persian in the Group 2 Great Voltigeur at York (1m 4f) later that month.

Trainer Says:

He heads straight to Melbourne for the Melbourne Cup and he will start quarantine on September 13. He has progressed really well and looks the right sort for that sort of race.

Video Form
22 Jan 2018:
9 Dec 2017:

Loxley (IRE)

Form Profile:

Winner of four of his 6 starts and currently rated 112. Progressing nicely and won a listed race at Deauville (1m 2f) in August by three lengths from Mind Mapping and followed up with a two length victory from Master’s Spirit in the Group 2 Grand Prix de Deauville (1m 4 1/2f) later that month.

Trainer Says:

He will probably head to Longchamp for the Prix Neil. He is a horse who is improving all the time and we like him a lot. I hope we are not tempting fate but if he wins the Neil then we could go for the Arc for which he would have to be supplemented.

Video Form
15 Sep 2018:
28 Oct 2017:

Old Persian

  • 3-y-o; bay colt
  • Breeding: Dubawi - Indian Petal (Singspiel)
  • Trained by: C Appleby
  • Last Race: Doncaster, 15 Sep 2018 15:35
  • Result: 5/12, tracked leaders, headway 3f out, led narrowly over 2f out, ridden and headed inside final 2f, no impression from over 1f out
  • View full form
Form Profile:

Winner of six of his 10 starts and currently rated 117. Most progressive individual this season and landed the Group 2 King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot (1m 4f) in June by a length and three quarters from Rostropovich and the Group 2 Great Voltigeur Stakes at York (1m 4f) in August by a head from Cross Counter.

Trainer Says:

Old Persian has been a very consistent horse this year and won the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot and then went onto win the Great Voltigeur at York. He goes for the St Leger and it looks as though the step up in trip will suit. He is a good strong galloper and he kept on strongly in the Voltigeur. His only disappointing run was in the Irish Derby where you could possibly say he came back too soon but I think it was more that they went too steadily in the race and it turned into a sprint and we weren’t positioned to overcome that. His preparation has gone well and we are pleased with him at the moment and he will tick away now until the St Leger.

Video Form
15 Sep 2018:
30 Jun 2018:
2 Sep 2017:

Two Year Olds

Al Hilalee (GB)

Form Profile:

Winner of both of his starts. Off the mark at the first attempt when beating Al Mureib in a maiden at Newmarket (7f) in July and followed up with a short head defeat of Duke Of Hazard in a listed event at Deauville (1m) in August.

Trainer Says:

He is probably going to wait – he is more of an autumn campaigner and there are no firm targets for him as yet.

Quorto (IRE)

Form Profile:

Winner of both of his starts. Made a winning debut at Newmarket (6f) in June when beating Handmaiden two and three quarter lengths and followed up in the Group 2 Superlative Stakes at Newmarket (7f) in July with a three and three quarter length victory from Cape Of Good Hope.

Trainer Says:

He will go to Ireland for the National Stakes next. He won the Superlative and is a progressive horse who deserves a crack at the National Stakes. He is ready for the step up to Group 1 company and his preparation is going well. It was always the plan to give him a bit of a break after the Superlative and we are looking forward to testing his class stepping up to Group 1 company.

Video Form
16 Sep 2018: