Charlie Appleby targeting Royal Lodge with unbeaten Al Dabaran

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Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby has earmarked the Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes at Newmarket as a potential target later in the season for the unbeaten Al Dabaran.

The Newmarket handler feels the mile Group Two contest on September 28 is the type of test that will play to the strengths of the Dubawi colt.

Al Dabaran backed up his winning debut on the July course in June when taking a step up in class in his stride with victory in a Listed event at Ascot last month.

Appleby said: “We are probably looking at something like the Royal Lodge for Al Dabaran, as that sort of test will suit him.

“He did well to win at Ascot as the seven furlongs would have been on the short side for him. These mile events in the autumn will be his gig.

“He has come out of the last race well.”

Initially intending to bide his time with Al Dabaran following his debut victory, Appleby felt it was worth rolling the dice again at Ascot after being impressed with his work at home.

He added: “We sat on the fence after his first run at Newmarket and I didn’t want to make any bold decisions where he was going.

“He came out of that so well and at the entry stage of the Ascot race it looked like he would be competitive in it from what we saw at home.

“I’m not saying it surprised us, as he is doing well, but hopefully there will be more improvement further down the line with time and the step up in trip.”

Appleby feels the Group Two Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Gimcrack Stakes at York later this month may come too soon for Lazuli, who provided William Buick with his first winner back following a spell on the sidelines when making a winning debut at Newmarket on Friday.

He said: “First and foremost it was great to have William race-riding again and it was nice to give him his first winner back.

“In respects to Lazuli I was very pleased with what I saw as he travelled well and showed a nice gear change and he picked up well.

“The Gimcrack may just come too soon for him and we may plot a course elsewhere, but he is a horse that hopefully can run at Pattern level later on.”

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