Cross Counter’s victory in the Melbourne Cup marked another hugely significant win in Charlie Appleby’s training career. Here are five of his finest achievements this season . . .
It was the ultimate dream. Although Sheikh Mohammed had been linked to Lammtarra’s Derby win in 1995, he had yet to win the Derby in the royal blue of Godolphin.
Masar lands the Derby from Dee Ex Bee and Roaring Lion at Epsom
Mark Cranham (racingpost.com/photos)
Masar, who won the Solario as a two-year-old before taking the Craven and finishing third in the 2,000 Guineas the following year, finally ended the hoodoo.
Expertly handed by Appleby, the trainer managed to bring him back from an unlucky run when beaten favourite in the Juvenile Turf at the Breeders’ Cup and a 41-length defeat in a Listed race on dirt in Meydan in March.
2 Blue Point
Winner of the Group 2 Gimcrack at two, Blue Point became a rock-solid sprinter over six furlongs, but after defeats in the Middle Park, Dewhurst, Commonwealth Cup, July Cup and Chairman’s Sprint Prize out in Hong Kong, it appeared he was destined to never win a Group 1.
His day finally came when enterprisingly dropped back to five furlongs in the King’s Stand at Royal Ascot. The race was dubbed as a clash between Battaash and Lady Aurelia but Blue Point stuck on best in the final furlong to register a cosy success.
Blue Point: finally won his Group 1 in the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot
Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
3 Jungle Cat
Jungle Cat looked thoroughly exposed after a busy juvenile campaign with Mark Johnston. After finishing a tailed-off last in the inaugural Commonwealth Cup on his third run for Appleby, it would be at Meydan where he would thrive, winning five races including the Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint.
The six-year-old, who had been well-held in Group races in Britain, was then sent to contest the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes at Caulfield.
The race was a handicap meaning Jungle Cat lumbered top weight, but the son of Ifraaj prevailed in a driving finish, winning by a short head under James Doyle. If it wasn’t already known, this victory signalled Appleby meant business in Australia.
4 Line Of Duty
Placed in two novice events at Sandown and Haydock, Line Of Duty was just a Goodwood maiden winner when he was last cited in Britain.
However, he made his mark – as so many have done for Appleby this season – when taken over to France. Line Of Duty readily scored in the Group 3 Prix de Conde over a mile. Although impressive, that win didn’t scream Breeders’ Cup winner, but the trainer made the bold decision to go Stateside.
The choice was vindicated when the son of Galileo survived a stewards’ inquiry to win the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf – giving Appleby his second win in the race after scoring with Outstrip in 2013.
5 La Pelosa
One of Appleby’s biggest strengths is the way he targets races internationally and consistently transforms horses just below the top tier to Group 1 winners. La Pelosa is a case in point.
A Kempton novice winner, she fell short in the Albany, Duchess Of Cambridge, Star Stakes and Sweet Solera. It looked a substandard division and she just wasn’t good enough.
La Pelosa (blue) pictured finishing second to Main Edition in the Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot
Yet after a trip to Canada to contest the Natalma Stakes, La Pelosa is now a Grade 1-winning filly. She stayed on best to beat My Gal Betty by a length.
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