Wednesday, 20th May 2020
As retained trainer to Godolphin, Charlie Appleby has Royal Ascot plans for some of the powerful global owners’ horses.
There were three Ascot winners in the famous all-blue silks of Sheikh Mohammed’s operation at the royal meeting last year.
Hot 2000 Guineas favourite Pinatubo landed the Chesham Stakes and Blue Point completed the rare Ascot sprint double.
While Appleby doesn’t have either in his Royal Ascot team this year, there are clear targets for others in his stable.
Despite being a flop at stud after leaving Richard Hannon’s yard, Barney Roy is a past Royal Ascot winner.
Success in the 2017 St James’s Palace Stakes over the round mile was his sole Group 1 success. Brought back into training with Appleby last year, Barney Roy has since scored again at the highest level.
“Barney Roy showed his class, winning twice at Meydan [over the winter],” said Appleby. “His turn of foot can be devastating [and] he showed that he’s back to his best.
“Next month’s Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at Ascot is his next assignment. He will also be on our international team later in the year.”
Godolphin dominated the Prince Of Wales for older horses at the turn of the century, with four winners in five renewals between 1998 and 2002.
Most bookmakers have Barney Roy at 8/1 for the 1m 2f Group 1 race at the royal meeting. He has never won at the trip, but hasn’t attempted it since his three-year-old since.
Barney Roy is twice that age now, although he’s only one from four career starts at this track. He was a five-length eighth in the Queen Anne Stakes over the straight mile at Royal Ascot last year.
Another previous Godolphin winner at the royal meeting, Old Persian drops in grade to a level where he’s unbeaten in three previous races.
The 2018 King Edward VII Stakes hero went on to best stable companion Cross Counter in the Great Voltigeur at York. Although Old Persian failed to stay the St Leger trip, the runner-up landed the Melbourne Cup.
Last season was mainly about international travel with Old Persian. Five of his six starts came outside Britain – in Dubai, Germany, Canada and the USA.
“He’s had the winter off,” Appleby said of Old Persian. “The decision was taken to freshen him up for a campaign in Europe.
“There are plenty of nice races for him. The Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot is a possible early target, and later maybe the Canadian International at Woodbine in October.”
Godolphin haven’t won the 1m 4f Group 2 race for older horses since 2004 with Doyen. Old Persian looks sure to be a leading contender.
Newmarket maiden winner Royal Crusade twice placed in group races last season, so Appleby starts him off in sprints this term.
“The soft ground caught him out when he finished second to King’s Command in a Group 3,” the trainer explained. “His previous close second to Threat in the Champagne Stakes at Doncaster was a pointer to his potential.
“He’s a colt with plenty of natural pace. While we are open minded about his optimum trip long-term, the more immediate plan is to go down the sprinting route – starting with the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot next month.”
All three of Royal Crusade’s career starts to date have been over 7f, so he’s dropping back in trip for three-year-olds only sprint.
This is one of the newer races at Royal Ascot, but the 6f Group 1 event always attracts a deep field. Royal Crusade ranges in price from 20/1 down to 8/1 with the bookies.