For sun lovers summer 2018 has produced some of the hottest and most prolonged periods of fine weather on record. It has been a similar story for Charlie Appleby’s classy band of runners on the turf with a feeling of “Ouch” as those taking him on having had their own feeling of being burnt.
A current strike rate of 29% it tells it owns story and seven Group winners in August, with Wild Illusion at the top of the pile with a Group 1 success in the Nassau Stakes at Goodwood, and three other Listed victories that month alone it reflects what has been a season to remember for the Moulton Paddocks team.
Pride of place, of course, goes to Masar who provided Sheikh Mohammed with a coveted first victory in the Godolphin blue silks in the Derby at Epsom in June with his length and a half victory from Dee Ex Bee and a success that remains embroiled in Appleby’s mind.
Charlie said: “It is a day that we all will never forget and winning the race for His Highness Sheikh Mohammed and Godolphin meant everything and for sure was the pinnacle of my career.”
“First and foremost, I have to be grateful for the opportunity that Sheikh Mohammed and Godolphin have provided me with and it is a massive team effort with our success down to everyone in that team.”
“We have two young jockeys in William Buick and James Doyle who are at the pinnacle of their own careers and both Classic winners this season. They are riding winners week in and week out and that gives you confidence all the way through and that is plain for all to see.”
With £3,536,459 in the kitty so far Appleby has smashed his previous best domestic total of £2,161,034 recorded in 2017 and, although he may struggle to beat the 106 winners of that year, (with 74 to date) the theme running through the statistics is that his runners are clearly performing at a higher level.
Appleby said: “I think that going into this last winter that the two-year-olds were always the best crop we have had. We hoped that they would winter well and do well from two to three and that’s exactly what’s happened. You have to have a healthy stable and touch wood there have been like that throughout the season.
“We have a great team - everybody is confident in what they are doing and the jockeys are getting on these horses and thinking they can win all the time. Everyone is going out there very positive and in any sport that is what you need.”
There is the William Hill St Leger at Doncaster to consider this weekend with Old Persian and Brundtland looking likely to carry the baton and then possible contenders for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and beyond to consider before Appleby takes up Winter residence in Dubai once more.
In a year where anything has been possible for Appleby and Godolphin would there be anything that could put the icing on the cake to an unforgettable campaign?
“I have to reiterate that to win a Derby was first and foremost was my biggest ambition and to achieve Classic winners is what we all strive for,” said Appleby. “The Melbourne Cup is a race that has so far eluded Godolphin to date and it would be great if we can have a couple of live contenders going down for that this year.”
Charlie kindly spoke to Tony Elves of attheraces.com about some of those he hopes can land the Godolphin team another “couple of big pots” before the end of the year.