Appleby looking to the future with host of smart prospects

Charlie Appleby and Godolphin are used to dining at the top table and by their lofty standards, the first part of the season has not been an easy one.

Though Godolphin took a Classic when Mawj landed the 1000 Guineas for Saeed bin Suroor, the royal blue silks have not been seen with regularity in many of the top races.

Though Appleby’s 28 per cent strike-rate is among the best, with 52 winners from 185 runners this year, his yard had an unusually disappointing Royal Ascot with no winners from 18 runners.

However, he remains confident the tide will turn and with some smart juveniles already unveiled, has high hopes Sheikh Mohammed’s operation will thrive in the coming months.

“At the end of the day, you play the cards your are dealt with,” said Appleby.

“As we know, at the back end of last year, we didn’t have a champion two-year-old.

“That will always show in terms of three-year-olds, needless to say. If you are not in the first three in the Dewhurst, National Stakes, Futurity Trophy or Fillies’ Mile, you are not, realistically, going to be bang there in the Classic picture the following year, and that’s where we were.”

He went on: “It is nothing to worry about 100 per cent. Ascot was one bad week.

“At the end of the day, we have a team who have a system in place and we know it works. The most important thing is to keep a good, steady hand on the tiller.

“I’m happy with the way the two-year-olds are progressing and we knew we would have to place the three-year-olds in the races we knew where, hopefully, they would be the most competitive. The Classics were not realistically our target.”

On Saturday at Newmarket, he unleashed Dance Sequence, who looked a filly of immense promise. The strapping daughter of Dubawi could develop into a Classic contender next season, following her eyecatching success in a fillies’ maiden.

Appleby is also looking forward to running Ancient Wisdom, a Dubawi colt who won by five lengths on debut at Haydock and then followed up under James Doyle in a seven-furlong novice race at Newmarket last week.

Appleby said: “I’m very pleased with him. He is two from two. I brought him up here (Newmarket) with a mindset obviously towards the Superlative Stakes, just to gain course experience.

“The ground was quick enough that day, James felt. He has a bit of a knee action on him and he has a pedigree, as you know.

“He is going to be a next-year horse. I am not going to be forcing him to come here again.

“But if conditions and himself are right, we’ll be here for the Superlative. If not, we will look towards Sandown for the Solario.

“A race I have in my mind for him, which is a race we have used many times for our nice two-year-olds, is the National Stakes. That is what I am working back from.”

Imperial Emperor won a maiden on his debut on the Rowley Mile course last October and made a winning return to action in a mile novice on the July Course last week.

A late developer, he also appears a promising type with plenty to look forward to as a four-year-old next year.

“I was delighted with him off a long lay-off,” said Appleby. “He is a horse who has had to be managed well by the team there.

“We toyed whether he was a mile or a mile-and-a-quarter horse.

“On what we’ve seen so far, we’re happy to stick to the mile and therefore we will aim towards the Sir Henry Cecil Stakes before we start stepping him up.

“He has a page, a pedigree that would suggest going further. He will be a nice horse and is definitely one for next year, we hope.”

Dazzling Star was another recent winner for the Moulton Paddocks handler.

She stepped up on her Kempton debut to score in style in a six-furlong fillies’ maiden at Newmarket on Friday evening.

“We were very happy with her and was pleased with her performance,” said Appleby.

“She has been a filly at home who has pleased us one morning and disappointed us the next. She is a bit like that. We got back on track with her on Friday.”

Meanwhile, Great Truth, another son of Dubawi who took apart a Leicester novice field by five and a half lengths and more on debut, looks another colt full of potential.

“Very pleased with that first run,” added the trainer. “A first foal out of Beyond Reason, a filly we know.

“He has come out of the race well, but we haven’t got a go-to race at the moment.

“Whether we go down a novice route or step him up into something a little bit punchier, we’ll see.

“We have a nice bunch of two-year-olds and there is plenty to look forward to. There’s certainly nothing to worry about.”

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