Red-hot Appleby continues Carnival charge

Mythical Magic and Divine Image star as Godolphin dominate

  • Thursday 21 February
  • News
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Charlie Appleby continued his and Godolphin’s brilliant Meydan campaign as Mythical Magic and Divine Image recorded a memorable Zabeel Mile and UAE Oaks double.

The Newmarket trainer took his season’s tally to 16 winners in Dubai when Mythical Magic capped another outstanding night for him – watched trackside by Sheikh Mohammed.

Divine Image was a remarkable first winner of the UAE Oaks for Appleby, under William Buick, turning unpromising mid-race signs into a convincing victory.

Mythical Magic then proved the move up in trip much to his liking, after his runner-up spot in last month’s Al Fahidi Fort behind stablemate D’bai, as he and Buick won the near £120,000 prize for the Group Two Mile by three lengths at 5-2 from Simon Crisford’s favourite Century Dream.

Appleby was typically modest and understated afterwards as he said: “It’s a very pleasing night.

“Like any sport, when you’re on the sort of roll we’re on at the minute, the confidence certainly goes throughout the stable – and the horses feel it. They’re running out of their skins.

“It’s satisfying, his Highness Sheikh Mohammed coming here and watching his filly Divine Image. Without him, I wouldn’t be here.”

Divine Image, sent off 5-6 favourite on the back of her eyecatching second to shock UAE 1,000 Guineas winner Silva on her Dubai debut last month, was better away this time but appeared to be struggling as the race developed.

Hayley Turner made a bold bid from the front on Godolphin and Saeed bin Suroor’s 40-1 shot Swift Rose – but once Buick got Divine Image rolling, they stayed on to win by a neck.

It was a determined performance, which had Appleby contemplating the possibility of taking on the colts next in the UAE Derby on World Cup night.

He said: “We’ve just spoken potentially about a look at the UAE Derby – it’s certainly under consideration. It’s definitely going to be put in the melting pot.”

Godolphin supplied six of the eight-strong field, and the first five home, in the Dubai Millennium Stakes as Appleby’s Spotify led the sea of blue.

The 8-1 shot completed a two-from-two perfect record at Meydan since joining Appleby – once again leading all the way under James Doyle, as last month, and this time holding on by an ever-diminishing short-head from bin Suroor’s Racing History and odds-on stablemate First Nation.

The five-year-old entire, formerly trained in France, may be on his way back north soon.

Appleby said: “The horse digs deep when they come to him, and full credit to him.

“It’ll be interesting to speak to James, but I’d say that will probably be his carnival wrapped up for this year – we’ll give him a break and look towards a European campaign.”

Former Crisford inmate Rodaini was a hard-fought winner of the opening Jaguar F PACE (Handicap), under Connor Beasley for Ahmad bin Harmash.

The 6-1 chance collared long-time leader Almanaara, and then held the strong finish of Moqarrab by a short head over seven furlongs on the dirt.

Ekhtiyar then stormed to an impressive five-and-three-quarter-length success in the Land Rover Discovery (Handicap) on the turf, as 7-2 co-favourite on his second start for Doug Watson.

Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum’s five-year-old was turning the form round with Another Batt, having finished third to that rival on his Meydan debut.

Bin Suroor’s Major Partnership took the closing Range Rover Velar (Handicap), by a neck under Kevin Stott from Above N Beyond, to complete Godolphin’s four-timer.

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