What next for Charlie Appleby? All-conquering trainer targets Kentucky Derby glory

Wed 7 Nov 2018

Charlie Appleby has his sights set on the Kentucky Derby after giving Godolphin their first Melbourne Cup triumph with Cross Counter on Tuesday.

It was the second time this year the Newmarket trainer had broken new ground for Sheikh Mohammed’s operation after Masar became the first horse to carry the famous royal blue colours to victory in the Derby at Epsom in June.

Appleby would also like to emulate his fellow Godolphin trainer Saeed bin Suroor by winning the Dubai World Cup on Sheikh Mohammed’s home territory.

"That is always going to go down as the most memorable day of my career, but to come here and do what we’ve done and see what it means to everybody and to Sheikh Mohammed is great.

“We’ve tried for over 20 years to win in this race and to do it is a huge sense of achievement, but most importantly it shows the passion and the drive His Highness and Godolphin have.”

FIVE HIGHS FOR APPLEBY IN 2018:

Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby has enjoyed success all over the globe this season, catapulting him into the upper echelons of his profession.

Here, Press Association Sport highlights his five biggest winners in a breakthrough campaign:

Masar – Investec Derby

Winner of the Craven Stakes – when he had Roaring Lion well behind him – the New Approach colt was the beaten favourite in the 2000 Guineas, but was suited by the step up in trip in the Derby. Roaring Lion was in his slipstream once more and Guineas winner Saxon Warrior was third. It was a real blow when injury meant he could not run again, but he is due to return next year.

Cross Counter – Melbourne Cup

Cross Counter made startling progress this season
Cross Counter made startling progress this season

Appleby and his gelding went into the record books, as the three-year-old became the first horse trained in Britain to win the Melbourne Cup. The fact he only made his debut in December 2017 and was able to win the toughest handicap in the world less than 12 months later speaks volumes for both horse and trainer.

Line Of Duty – Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf

A feature of Appleby’s season has been how well he has placed his horses overseas, particularly in France. Line Of Duty booked his ticket for Churchill Downs following a Group Three win at Chantilly, and while that form did not look strong enough to win at the Breeders’ Cup, Appleby worked his magic.

Quorto – National Stakes

Quorto gets the better of Anthony Van Dyck in the National Stakes
Quorto gets the better of Anthony Van Dyck in the National Stakes

To take on Aidan O’Brien in his own backyard you need both the ammunition and the confidence that you are not going to be left with egg on your face. The Ballydoyle handler had utterly dominated the National Stakes, winning the Group One 11 times since 1996, traditionally with his best two-year-old. The fact Appleby was happy to go to Ireland with Quorto, an unbeaten son of Dubawi who had Classic pretensions, suggested he new he had the right horse. He duly ran out a comfortable winner, sparking dreams of Guineas glory.

Blue Point – King’s Stand

The Royal Ascot speed test over five furlongs had been built up as a match between the American challenger Lady Aurelia and the Charlie Hills-trained Battaash. But while the two supposed big hitters were trading knockout blows from halfway, William Buick was content to let them punch themselves out and just as Jim Crowley scented victory on Battaash, with Lady Aurelia beaten, Blue Point came sweeping past to win going away.

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