New chapters are constantly being written in racing and Charlie Appleby hopes that the victory of Masar in the Investec Derby on Saturday can provide exactly that for Godolphin.
There may have been no homecoming parade in front of hundreds lining Newmarket High Street for the son of New Approach following his heroics at Epsom, but for those gathered at Moulton Paddocks on Monday it was clear as to the significance of his historic success in the 239th renewal of the race.
Appleby said: “For me, to be part of it and deliver the horse on the day and get the result we have been looking forward to for so long now that’s probably still not sunk in yet.
“I’ve still not got through half the messages to thank everybody and reply to everyone’s well wishes. It means a lot to the town.
“It’s a little bit of a bubble here and I don’t go across to the heath very often. You end up in your own little bubble up here but I don’t get too sucked into it.
“I know what people think and expect from us. The well-wishes that have come my way you know it means a lot to Newmarket and for much of the industry across the Europe and the world. It’s fantastic and of course one hopes this is a new chapter.”
Never one to make bold or rash statements, there was a sense from inside Appleby that 2018 could be a special season. But having seen the first group of Classic races in Britain and Ireland pass him by without success, fears of drawing another blank were starting to set in.
He said: “On the first day we were third in the 2000 Guineas (Masar), fourth and sixth in 1000 Guineas (Wild Illusion fourth, Soliloquy sixth) then we went to Ireland last week and we were fifth in the Irish 2000 Guineas (Symbolization) and I was starting to think, ‘I’m using my big guns and I need to find something a bit better at this stage’.
“Hopefully we’ve got the players to be competitive now. I think this result is great for the industry and for the sport.
“As a child I was brought up more in jump racing. From the age of 16 I was brought up around the most iconic person associated with the Derby as I worked for Susan Piggott and Lester so I was well aware what the Derby was about.
“From my own point of view when becoming a trainer for Godolphin everyone said what was the race you want to win and before I even had a runner it was the Derby.”
Having being associated with the Godolphin for 20 years the bond Appleby has struck up with its leader Sheikh Mohammed is something that makes Masar’s victory all the more special for the 42-year-old.
He said: “Twenty years I’ve been here so it’s home to me and half my life has been with Godolphin. I know everything and everybody and know what we need to make people tick.
“The relationship I have with His Highness has always been very good and very strong . We communicate regularly and the support I receive from him is phenomenal.
“In my first season I had two runners in the Derby and they trailed in at the back (Pinzolo and Sudden Wonder). Subsequently since I’ve not had a runner in the Derby until Saturday.
“Two years ago everybody jumped in the choppers to go to the Derby and I stayed behind and the boss put his arm around me and said “Don’t worry Charlie there is a Derby next year for you” that’s just the person he is.
“The great thing about it first and foremost was for Sheikh Mohammed and his family to be there as we all know what he has done for the industry, and is doing for it is phenomenal.”
With one Classic in the locker, a tilt at another could be next up for Masar, with Appleby leaning towards an outing in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby at the Curragh on June 30 for his new stable star.
He said: “He is not in the Eclipse but it is there (as an option). The Irish Derby is a route we would like to look down but it wouldn’t faze me, dropping back down to 10 furlongs.
“The Pattern book is for a reason and it is mapped out to give you time between each race to either end up in an Arc or a Champion Stakes.
“Those are two races we want to turn up in one of. How we get there we will discuss that over the next fortnight.”