When Charlie Appleby received the job to coach for the mighty Godolphin empire 5 years in the past he made it clear that he had two main ambitions.
To win the Melbourne Cup for Sheikh Mohammed, ending his patron’s decades-long drought in Australia’s best race. And to win the Epsom Derby for Godolphin. The Sheikh had gained it earlier than, however by no means within the royal blue hue of his world racing group.
The Newmarket-based horseman, who was promoted by way of the Godolphin ranks, has now succeeded the place others earlier than him failed, touchdown each coveted prizes for the Center Japanese potentate.
Masar took the Epsom Derby earlier this 12 months, the primary time Godolphin had seen its colors carried to victory on the planet’s most storied race. And Cross Counter’s win within the blue silks on Tuesday accomplished the target.
Solely the Kentucky Derby now stays on Sheik Mohammed’s bucket checklist and given Appleby’s type that doesn’t look out of attain, although the problem of getting ready a European three 12 months previous to run on American dust in early Might is a formidable problem.
For Appleby, who turns into the primary English-based coach to win the Cup, this was a vindication of a long-term plan and exhibits the eye to element, strategic planning and capability to suppose globally that has been his hallmark ever since he changed the disgraced Mahmood Al Zarooni as the pinnacle coach at Moulton Paddocks following the previous’s prolonged disqualification on drug expenses.
Appleby had come by way of the Godolphin ranks and completed a lot of the jobs on the best way by way of, guaranteeing he had the proper grounding. And he has risen to the problem in large vogue.
This 12 months he has contributed the lion’s share of Godolphin’s 30 group 1 wins in all corners of the world: he has scored on the highest degree in England, Eire, Australia, France, Canada and the US, the place he despatched out a winner on the prestigious Breeders Cup assembly solely final weekend.
He has needed to handle a globally aggressive empire from a quiet nook of Suffolk on England’s east coast. To take action he has constructed up a group of dedicated, skilled people who purchase into the Godolphin ethos for the pursuit of excellence.
Appleby got here to Australia to place the ultimate touches on the preparation of the sprinter Jungle Cat, who gained the group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes on the finish of September, however apart from that Cross Counter’s supervision had been supervised by Chris Connet, his foreman at Werribee.
This has not been a marketing campaign with out its disappointments. Whereas Jungle Cat and now Cross Counter have triumphed on the highest degree, one of many steady’s different Cup contenders, Hamada, was put down after injuring himself at Werribee whereas one other, Impassive, was dominated out for the spring.
Even Cross Counter needed to endure a couple of days enforced absence after struggling lacerations, a delay some felt would possibly compromise his Cup preparation.
However not Appleby, who put his religion in Connett and the Godolphin squad in Australia.
”There is not any stress put upon us and that is why we function the best way we do. Individuals beneath stress make rash selections; I hope we’re making the suitable selections now,” Appleby stated, emphasising how Sheikh Mohammed at all times tells his group to make a constructive out of any unfavorable scenario.
He additionally paid tribute to his employees at Werribee. “It is arduous attempting to instruct the group when you’re so distant, however now we have every day movies and conversations on what must be completed. There’s a nice sense of accomplishment (after the win).
”You have got all these aspirations. 5 12 months in the past I used to be requested that are the races you want to win, and fortunately I’ve simply knocked out the second.
”This 12 months has been a stellar 12 months (however on a regular basis) we’re solely attempting to do the very best for the horses.”
These campaigns taught him loads, he stated, about Australian racing, the kind of horse that was wanted and the way they need to be campaigned.
”I recognized him (Cross Counter) when he broke his handicap debut. Final 12 months Joseph (O’Brien) highlighted how the three-year-old weight allowance (made a distinction within the Cup) with Rekindling.
”He (Cross Counter) stamped himself when he gained the Gordon Stakes, he broke the monitor document that day.”
Appleby ran him subsequent at York in late August to present him extra expertise and get him rock arduous match as he did not wish to give him a prep race earlier than the Cup.
”I realized with a few horses in earlier years that its arduous to again them up. That was a massively necessary (studying expertise. You must choose up what you’re feeling is true for the horses you’re going to carry down.”
The Cup will now be on Cross Counter’s agenda for subsequent season, however Appleby says the horse would even be efficient at shorter journeys.
”He might in all probability drop again to a mile and a half he has the pace and the gears.”
Appleby stated that it was an excellent feeling to have mixed with Kerrin McEvoy for the victory.
When McEvoy was making his approach in England as Godolphin’s second jockey Appleby was the travelling head lad. The 2 shared many lengthy and arduous journeys to far off smaller tracks within the north of England.
Little did they think about then that they’d arrive in such momentous vogue in Melbourne.
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