Godolphin's Ghaiyyath primed for first run of season at ParisLongchamp

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Charlie Appleby hopes Ghaiyyath can continue to make up for lost time by making his class count in the Prix d’Harcourt at ParisLongchamp on Sunday.

The Newmarket handler will pitch the four year old son of Dubawi – who was at one stage a leading contender of last year’s Investec Derby – into Group Two company for the first time in the mile-and-a-quarter contest.

After missing the bulk of last season through injury Ghaiyyath made a his sole start a winning one when adding a second Group Three victory to his name over course and distance in the Prix du Prince d’Orange.

Appleby said: “He has been over to Dubai, but he has been back here for a couple of weeks now and we are pleased with what we have seen. Obviously he is an exciting horse.

“He was supposed to be our Derby horse, but unfortunately he went wrong five days out from the Dante.

“We missed the Derby and most the summer, but he came back and won his only start last year he won the Prix du Prince d’Orange.

“We did contemplate having a crack at the Champion Stakes with him, but we just felt this year was going to be his year so we thought we would wait.

“The plan is to hopefully use this as a stepping stone towards the Ganay. He has won two Group Three races and is now stepping up to a Group Two, which will be a bit harder.

“We will see if he can handle this assignment and if he wins then for sure we will look at the Ganay.”

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Godolphin's Epsom Derby hero Masar set for Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe bid

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All roads will lead to a shot at the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe for last year’s Investec Derby hero Masar when he returns from injury, according to trainer Charlie Appleby.

The four-year-old son of New Approach has been sidelined since meeting with a setback after his victory in the Epsom Classic last June, during his build up to a planned tilt at the Eclipse at Sandown.

An outing in the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot has been mentioned as a possible starting point for Masar, but his Newmarket trainer warns he will not be rushing him back for the sake of lining up in the Group Two prize.

Appleby said: “I mentioned the Hardwicke at Ascot as a potential comeback, because that is the most obvious race for him. That is what we would like to do – and at the moment timing-wise, it looks potentially achievable.

“At the end of the day the biggest disappointment last year was missing the Eclipse and the second half of the season with him, and an outing in the Arc.

“If we didn’t make Royal Ascot it wouldn’t be the be all and end all, because the Arc is my main aim – and that is what we are working back from.

“If we are ready enough for Royal Ascot then for sure we will be there – but if we don’t think it is right then we won’t go.”

Having sent Masar over to Dubai for the winter to help him recover from his injury, Appleby is pleased with the progress he has seen.

He said: “He has pleased us week on week in Dubai. He is cantering away now on the treadmill and we can control his pace on there and what we want him to do.
“We’ve still got a bit to go yet before we start to press any buttons.

“Until you get to a certain level of fitness, you don’t know how that injury is going to stand up – but at the minute all the signs are very positive.”

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Godolphin trainer Appleby targets Paradise Stakes for Auxerre

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Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby has earmarked the Paradise Stakes at Ascot as the most likely target for impressive Lincoln winner Auxerre.

The Newmarket handler feels the mile Listed contest on May 1 is the ideal stepping stone for the lightly-raced son of Iffraaj, as opposed to pitching him into Pattern-race company.

Victory for the four-year-old on Town Moor last month was a fourth career win in just five starts, with the sole defeat coming on debut at Newmarket in June.

Appleby said: “He has progressed very well through the winter. We were confident the Lincoln was the right race for him, as he was off the right mark.

“We are not going to get too carried away – there were some comments about the Queen Anne and the Group Two at Sandown, but I’m not going be punching up there yet.

“We went up to a mark off 107 and that is still a long way off being a Group One or Two horse.

“The plan with him is hopefully head to Ascot for a Listed race there in early May, and then try to work our way through the ranks.”

Having enjoyed plenty of success in Australia last year, highlighted by the victory of Cross Counter in the Melbourne Cup, Appleby is hoping he can secure more top-level glory later this month with D’Bai and Dubhe.

He said: “Dubhe will go for the Sydney Cup on April 13. We saw the improvement from stepping him up to two miles on his last start and he goes there as a competitive player.

“D’Bai heads for the All Aged Stakes which is a Group One over seven furlongs. He is already a Group Two winner having won the Al Fahidi out in Dubai in January.

“We felt they were the right horses to go down there with to hopefully be competitive.”

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