Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby is squarely aiming his enviable battalion at Britain’s summer Group 1 races having this week outlined plans for such stars as Line Of Duty, Barney Roy, Wild Illusion, Old Persian, Mythical Magic and Masar.
Even this list doesn’t entirely represent his options of course as the Newmarket handler has some pretty forward two-year-old’s who may contest the juvenile races at Royal Ascot, nor does it include Quorto who returns from injury at some point in the next couple of months.
Barney Roy, a top class three-year-old when trained by Richard Hannon, is back in training now as a 5yo having proven to be infertile at stud and has already warmed up well with a decent runner’s-up effort at Listed level in Ascot’s Queen Anne Trial.
He is now being aimed at ParisLongchamp’s Prix d’Ispahan before a potential crack at the Queen Anne Stakes itself at the Royal meeting, back to the scene of his excellent triumph in the St James’s Palace Stakes in 2017.
Last year’s Derby winner Masar is almost ready to return from his setback and could be aimed at the Coronation Cup at Epsom, the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Ascot or the Eclipse at Sandown, while top filly Wild Illusion looks likely to return in the Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh before going for back-to-back wins in the Nassau Stakes during the Glorious Goodwood festival.
Appleby has been rather bullish this week about the chances of Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf winner Line Of Duty doing well up against Too Darn Hot and others next week in what looks a top renewal of the Dante Stakes at York en route to the Derby, while Old Persian has just returned from Dubai and could contest the Coronation Cup.
An interesting one is Mythical Magic, an improving four-year-old son of Ifraaj who became a Group 2 winner for the first time when landing the Zabeel Mile during the Dubai Carnival over at Meydan in fine style.
Having not raced in Britain since 2017, he may yet catch a few people by surprise given the level he is now at and he is one who could line up in the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury on May 18th where he could face the likes of Laurens, Beat The Bank, Sharja Bridge, Magical and Le Brivido but he’d be great value in that sort of company.
If anyone is to break the Coolmore/Ballydoyle stranglehold this season then it is likely to be Appleby, even over John Gosden. The resurgence of Godolphin at the top level carries on apace and given that they are now buying Coolmore’s bloodlines and have sons of the likes of Galileo to go to war with we may see some fireworks over the summer.
It would be a brave man that would bet confidently against any Charlie Appleby runner against Aidan O’Brien’s in this summer’s Group 1 showpiece events, and in fact it could prove to be very fruitful to follow the master of Moulton Paddocks as the season progresses.