Charlie Appleby aiming to break his Guineas duck at Newmarket this weekend
Having hit the woodwork in recent renewals, Charlie Appleby will be hoping to break his Guineas duck this weekend.
The master of Moulton Paddocks saw his Derby hero Masar finish third in the QIPCO 2,000 Guineas in 2018, while odds-on favourite Pinatubo disappointingly finished in the same position 12 months ago.
It has also been a case of so near yet so far in the QIPCO 1,000 Guineas, with Wild Illusion finishing fourth and then going on to be runner-up in the Oaks during her three-year-old campaign in 2018.
However, the Godolphin trainer potentially goes into Saturday’s 2,000 Guineas (3.40pm) armed with three chances.
There are certainly high hopes for 13/2 shot One Ruler and Master Of The Seas (15/2) in the year’s first Classic, while at 50/1 Naval Crown is very much considered an outsider.
Much of the spotlight will shine on One Ruler, who last year won the Autumn Stakes over course and distance, as well as finishing runner-up in the Group 1 Vertem Futurity Trophy.
Speaking recently about the homebred son of Dubawi after a racecourse gallop, Appleby said: “On the back of winning the Autumn Stakes people start talking about the Derby but the first thing we are looking at is the Guineas and that’s the target.
“I don’t think he is a stayer as he has got stronger over the winter. I’m very pleased with the way he has done physically.
“He was a little bit slow coming to hand but I think we have had a hard winter.
“I couldn’t be happier with what I’ve seen over the last six weeks or so. He has stepped up his work and he has answered every question that we have put to him so far.”
Despite that positivity, Appleby’s number one jockey, William Buick, has opted to take up the ride on Master Of The Seas, while James Doyle will partner One Ruler.
But as tends to be the case, it’s the Aidan O’Brien horses that will be the ones to beat.
Of the 12 Guineas races run since 2015, the Irish trainer has triumphed in eight of them – a strike rate of a shade more than 66 per cent.
And he has the favourites for both of this year’s races, in the shape of Wembley (4/1, 2,000 Guineas) and Santa Barbara (6/4, 1,000 Guineas).