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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Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby looking at Australia or Dubai for Barney Roy

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Charlie Appleby is considering including 2017 St James’s Palace Stakes winner Barney Roy in his team for Australia later this year.

The Newmarket handler feels the former Richard Hannon-trained five-year-old is at the right stage of his career for an international campaign.

After claiming a Listed contest at ParisLongchamp on his penultimate start, the son of Excelebration has not been sighted since finishing down the field when sent off favourite for the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot in June.

Appleby said: “Barney Roy is on the pencil list for possible runners for Australia. We are just working out what will suit him best.

“He might not end up going there, he might end up going out to Dubai over the winter and running in Group races out there as he will have no penalties.

“I see him as an international type of horse for us now though.”

Although Appleby has ruled out running Barney Roy in the Group Three Royal Whip Stakes at the Curragh on Friday week, he has hinted that a step back up to a mile and a quarter is on the cards.

He added: “He is in the Royal Whip later this month, he won’t be taking up that engagement but we will be looking at going back up to 10 furlongs with him.

“He is a gelding now with plenty of experience and a good level of ability.

“Whether he is an Australia horse, I’m not sure yet, but his focus will be international racing.”

Dubai Sheema Classic winner Old Persian will bid for a second Group One victory in Sunday’s Longines Grosser Preis Von Berlin as he tries to bounce back from defeat in the Coronation Cup at Epsom.

Appleby added: “We originally looked at the Arlington Million for Old Persian, but he is being aimed at a German Group One at Hoppegarten at the weekend now.

“We have given him a nice break and looking back at it now, he may have had a harder race than we thought on World Cup night and maybe he wasn’t quite on song in the Coronation Cup.

“He is in great order and is giving us all the right signs he is back where he needs to be.”

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Godolphin's Al Dabaran preserves unbeaten record with Ascot success

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Al Dabaran took his unbeaten career record to two out of two with a tenacious win in Ascot’s Wooldridge Group Pat Eddery Stakes.

Charlie Appleby’s Godolphin colt appeared sure to have to settle for second to Sun Power as the latter held a length lead approaching the final furlong of the Listed event, registered as the Winkfield Stakes.

But Al Dabaran, previously successful in a Newmarket novice over this same seven-furlong trip late last month, rallied to significant effect as Richard Hannon’s runner-up failed to finish with the same purpose and went down by a neck.

The 11-4 victory was a measure of instant consolation for jockey James Doyle, who galvanised his mount to such telling effect little more than half an hour after he and the gallant Crystal Ocean had just lost out to Enable in the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Qipco Stakes.

Appleby admitted afterwards he had been unsure whether this race was the right one for his Dubawi juvenile.

He said: “I’m pleased, because we always felt going up in trip would be his forte – but we felt this race came at the right time for him.

“After Newmarket I was keen to step up to the mile, but the way he came out of that race and the way this race sat in the programme it suited us to have a crack at it.”

Appleby’s concerns seemed well-founded perhaps as Al Dabaran struggled initially to match the runner-up for pace as both took advantage of a disappointing run from favourite Subjectivist, who finished last of six.

The winning trainer added: “He got caught a little bit flat-footed – but once the stamina kicked in, I felt he got on top well in the end.

“He has done well today, and I think we will see a better horse at the latter part of the season because he is still a bit weak behind the saddle there.”

Future targets are yet to be decided, with the Newmarket trainer ready to look again at possible Group One options.

Appleby said: “He has got no flashy entries, but if he comes right we can pop him in if we need to.

“James was surprised he handled the (soft) ground, but I was more hopeful he would handle it as he is out of a Monsun mare. He is a work in progress.

“I think you have hit the nail on the head that he could end up in one of those (French Group One races at Saint-Cloud or Doncaster’s Vertem Futurity Trophy).”

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