Kentucky Derby next on the list for all-conquering Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby

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Charlie Appleby has his sights set on the Kentucky Derby after giving Godolphin their first Melbourne Cup triumph with Cross Counter on Tuesday.

It was the second time this year the Newmarket trainer had broken new ground for Sheikh Mohammed’s operation after Masar became the first horse to carry the famous royal blue colours to victory in the Derby at Epsom in June.

Appleby would also like to emulate his fellow Godolphin trainer Saeed bin Suroor by winning the Dubai World Cup on Sheikh Mohammed’s home territory.

“My ambitions are to carry on and to try to be successful and do the best we can for Godolphin and his Highness Sheikh Mohammed and having international winners,” said Appleby.

“Every time we do that I feel that’s a sense of achievement.

“To do that you have to have the momentum going. On January 1st we start at zero again. We’ve got to build away. We’ve given ourselves a bit of a path to maintain, let alone go above.

“The Kentucky Derby is of course on everybody’s lips. It’s not been done and to win a Dubai World Cup for myself would be great. Saeed (bin Suroor) has won plenty (eight) and I would like to get involved if I can.

“The Dubai World Cup and a Kentucky Derby would be high on the agenda and I imagine for His Highness Sheikh Mohamed’s point of view he’d like to win the Kentucky Derby as well.

“As an Englishmen our pinnacle is the Derby. It had never been won in Godolphin blue colours. That is always going to go down as the most memorable day of my career, but to come here and do what we’ve done and see what it means to everybody and to Sheikh Mohammed is great.

“We’ve tried for over 20 years to win in this race and to do it is a huge sense of achievement, but most importantly it shows the passion and the drive His Highness and Godolphin have.”

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Five of Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby's finest moments in 2018

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Cross Counter capped an “amazing” year for trainer Charlie Appleby and Godolphin as he became the first British-trained winner of Lexus Melbourne Cup at Flemington.

The three-year-old’s victory added another feather to Appleby’s cap with the trainer having sent out Masar to win the Derby at Epsom back in June in the blue silks of Godolphin.

Here, we take a look back at the Southampton native’s five finest moments of 2018.

MASAR

The long wait for a first Investec Derby winner finally came to an end in June after Masar provided Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum with the victory he has craved at Epsom. The Charlie Appleby-trained son of New Approach showed he had the potential to strike at the top table, crossing the line a length and a half clear of Dee Ex Bee.

BLUE POINT

Blue Point gained a breakthrough first G1 success with a scintillating display in the King’s Stand Stakes over five furlongs at Royal Ascot in June. The four-year-old colt showed good early speed from the gates, stayed composed and finally put the foot down in the final half-furlong to prevail by a length and three-quarters on good to firm ground. It was Appleby’s first G1 winner at Ascot.

JUNGLE CAT

Appleby’s year got even better in Australia last month. The 43-year-old saddled his first Group 1 winner Down Under as Jungle Cat won the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes at Caulfield in Melbourne. The high class six-year-old, ridden by James Doyle, beat Dollar For Dollar by a short-head, with Home Of The Brave fourth for new Godolphin trainer James Cummings.

LINE OF DUTY

The two-year-old colt added further lustre to a year to remember for Appleby with victory in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf. Buick’s mount looked beaten at one stage, but picked up bravely to get the better of Uncle Benny. A tense wait ensued, but the placings remained unaltered. Appleby was recording his third career win at the meeting from just five runners.

LA PELOSA

The two-year-old filly was the worthy winner of the G1 Natalma Stakes at Woodbine in Canada last month. La Pelosa, stepping up to a mile for the first time, made progress half-way and was fifth at the turn. She continued to improve her position and challenged for the lead with a furlong left. The sire of Dandy Man soared to the front late on, winning by a length on firm going.

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Melbourne Cup success caps "amazing" year for Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby

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Cross Counter capped an “amazing” year for Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby as he became the first British-trained winner of Lexus Melbourne Cup at Flemington.

The three-year-old was delivered with a perfectly-timed run by Kerrin McEvoy to claim the Group One prize and lead home a famous one-two-three for the raiding party, with Hughie Morrison’s Marmelo a length back in second and the Charlie Fellowes-trained Prince Of Arran a further three lengths behind in third.

Cross Counter’s victory added another feather to Appleby’s cap with the trainer having sent out Masar to win the Derby at Epsom back in June in the blue silks of Godolphin.

The trainer said: “This is all down to Sheikh Mohammed, he’s the one that’s given us all the encouragement to take the chances in what we do internationally.

“When I saw him down the back, I thought he had to do a lot.

“And when he was making his run, I thought turning in that if he finds the gap then this horse has got the gears to pick up.”

Godolphin has hit the bar in the past with the likes of Give The Slip, Crime Scene and Central Park all having placed in the main event and Appleby himself is a previous visitor to Melbourne.

He told www.godolphin.com: “We’ve been competitive, but we’ve learnt more on each trip about what will make us more competitive. That’s what it’s all about, the learning curve.

“I’m just in a fortunate position to have the horses to make the call on which are the right ones to bring down here.

“This is huge for everybody. For me, of course this is the biggest thing along with the Derby. This year has just been one of those amazing years.”

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