Charlie Appleby was not forced to choose between blue and white, to put his faith in one of his horses over the other and face the bitter frustration of being on the wrong one in the 2,000 Guineas.
All Appleby had to do was deliver his horses to the first Classic of the season in perfect shape, and as the Godolphin second string Coroebus swept through to lead in the white cap with stablemate and favourite Native Trail chasing him hard in the all-blue, the trainer could prepare himself for certain victory.
Such a scenario had been expected for Appleby’s horses – sent off first and second favourite ahead of Coolmore’s Luxembourg – and while jockeys William Buick and James Doyle were left to choose who would ride which horse, the trainer floated into the race on a wave of positivity and optimism.
“I couldn’t have faulted either of these horses all the way through,” he said. “Native Trail came here and won the Craven and Coroebus worked up here during the same meeting.
“After that work, William said to me, ‘Gosh Charlie, if we didn’t have Native Trail I couldn’t be more excited about this horse’. William couldn’t get off Native Trail after everything they’ve done but coming here I felt we had two lovely chances.”
Appleby has had such chances before, having run the likes of Masar, Pinatubo and Master Of The Seas in the 2,000 Guineas. All were beaten and Godolphin had failed to win the Classic with one of its in-house trainers since 1999 when Island Sands scored for Saeed bin Suroor.
This time there would be no mistake, no playing second fiddle or looking on as Coolmore – Godolphin’s long-term adversary and fellow superpower – sailed off with the stallion-making race yet again. And this time, it was James Doyle who was able to celebrate a first British Classic success after playing the minor role to first jockey William Buick for so long.
“Absolutely, it’s a relief,” Appleby said. “We were third with Pinatubo, second with Master Of The Seas so we were getting close and we hoped our time was coming.
“I said to James, ‘Hold him, hold him, hold him and then press the button’, and he’s just got an electric turn of foot. I’m delighted for James, and for him to have his first Classic for us is special.
“James is a great team member as he’s got to sit there as William gets the top rides. He never quivers, he never shies and he’s just a true sportsman. He really does deserve that in spades. What I love about the guy is that he sits there while William picks the rides and, while they’re lovely second rides to be getting, he’s got the character to then go out there and give everything he has on these horses.”
Appleby also paid tribute to the wider team at his Moulton Paddocks yard and to Sheikh Mohammed, notably absent from the Rowley Mile even as his champion trainer continued to propel Godolphin forward in a way it has barely done since the halcyon days of the early 21st century.
“I’m delighted for High Highness Sheikh Mohammed and Team Godolphin,” Appleby said. “I don’t want to stand here and say I’m too cool for school but it really is a team effort with everyone at home, I’m just the one who gets to do the interviews and is given the opportunity to train these horses.
“I’d say we’ll go straight to the St James’s Palace with Coroebus and we’ll go to the Curragh for the Irish 2,000 Guineas with Native Trail where he’s done well before.”
While Appleby is aiming for the top mile races, the Cazoo Derby is where Luxembourg and Eydon are set to head after finishing third and fourth.
Eydon’s trainer Roger Varian plans to speak with owner Prince AA Faisal before next steps are decided. He said: “Eydon has run a massive race as that was only his second race on turf and the three in front of him were previous Group winners.
“He’s in two Derbys and we may go up in trip with him but whether it’s up to a mile and a half we’ll see. We’ll let Prince Faisal digest the result before we make a decision.”
fonte : RacingPost