Appleby Classic Contenders Primed for Return

Charlie Appleby pulled off an historic clean sweep of the 2,000 Guineas in England, Ireland and France last year and the Godolphin trainer has outlined plans for his runners in the forthcoming Classic trials next week at Newmarket and Newbury.

Appleby’s challenge for the 2,000 Guineas could include Naval Power (GB) (Teofilo {Ire}), Mysterious Night (Ire) (Dark Angel {Ire}) and Silver Knott (GB) (Lope De Vega {Ire}). While the latter is set to head straight to the Classic on 6 May, both Naval Power and Mysterious Night are planned runners in the G3 Craven S. on Thursday. 

“Running in the Craven Stakes, you are potentially pointing towards a Guineas, and whether that is an English 2,000 or the French version will be decided after they have raced,” Appleby commented via Godolphin’s website.

Five-time winner Naval Power won back-to-back listed contests last season and his sole defeat in five runs at two came when he finished sixth behind Chaldean (GB) (Frankel {GB}) in the G1 Dewhurst S.

“He bounced back well after the Dewhurst and he was last seen winning the Jumeirah Classic on turf at Meydan in January, which was proof that he has wintered well,” said the trainer. “He goes to the Craven obviously with race fitness under his belt, and with plenty of experience as well. He should be a serious contender.”

Mysterious Night rounded out his juvenile season with a wide-margin victory in the GI Summer S. at Woodbine in September.

“I’m pleased to say his preparation has gone well for the Craven, which is the starting point of his three-year-old career,” Appleby noted. “Both he and Naval Power are the ones who have risen to the top at this early stage of the season.”

Another pair of three-year-old colts will represent Godolphin in the Listed Feilden S. Bold Act (GB) (New Approach {Ire}) won the Cardinal Conditions S. at Chelmsford at the start of the month, while Regal Honour (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}), a half-brother to dual Group 1 winner Rizeena (Ire) (Iffraaj {GB}), landed a seven-furlong novice at Newmarket in October.

“Bold Act has won his last four starts and has progressed into the type who deserves to be pitched in at this level,” said Appleby. “[Regal Honour] has had course experience, being placed and also winning on the Rowley Mile. On pedigree, stepping up in trip should suit him.”

Fairy Cross (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}), the winner of the G3 Prestige Fillies’ S., will be the stable’s sole representative in the G3 Nell Gwyn S. on Wednesday. She has had one outing this year when second at Meydan.

“She’s come forward for that last run and she has done well at home. She should be a key player in the Nell Gwyn,” Appleby said.

The trials switch from Newmarket to Newbury on Saturday, where Godolphin will be represented in the G3 Greenham S. by the unbeaten G2 Gimcrack S. winner Noble Style (GB) (Kingman {GB}).

Appleby added, “We are going into the race completely open-minded regarding his trip. This is the first time he has gone beyond six furlongs. He shows a lot of natural pace and stepping up to the mile of a Guineas could be a question mark.

“It will be his first time at seven furlongs, and after the dust settles later, we will make the call on whether it will be the English or the French Guineas…or whether he drops back in distance for the Commonwealth [Cup] at Royal Ascot.”

Newbury also marks the potential return of older stable stars Yibir (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}) or Hurricane Lane (Ire) (Frankel {GB}) in the G3 John Porter S., with Appleby cautioning that soft ground will be required for the latter.

He said, “With his programme, we are working back from the Arc, that’s our main aim. He revels in soft ground and there is a good chance he could get those conditions at Longchamp in October.

“You cannot fault the horse at home. He retains all his old zest and he looks great. We will know early in his five-year-old campaign whether or not the Arc is a realistic target.”

Appleby continued, “Yibir wants quick ground. He suffered a setback after winning the Princess Of Wales’s Stakes at Newmarket last July but he’s back on track now and he looks great. Looking globally, it will be more trips to America for him, or even Hong Kong this year.”

Top sprinter Creative Force (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}) is also set to return next week, in Thursday’s G3 Abernant S., after being ruled out of appearances in the Saudi Arabia and Dubai when a raised temperature scuppered his travel plans.

“I can report he is now back in sparkling form, in great order,” Appleby said. “He heads to the Abernant and hopefully he will embark on his usual summer campaign, which takes in races such as the G1 Platinum Jubilee, over six furlongs at Royal Ascot.”

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