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Simon Mapletoft on the AWC: Stable Tours – Charlie Appleby

The Champion Trainer saddled 76 winners last season – three of them on Finals Day – and has assembled another dedicated team for the better Championship races.

Last winter’s Champion Trainer Charlie Appleby is hoping to win the Dubai World Cup with Coral Easter Classic hero Tryster, but is also determined to retain his crown with an enviable string of familiar All-Weather stars. Tryster has already flown out to Dubai in readiness for his campaign on the new dirst surface at Meydan, but an appearance in the Classic on Good Friday has not been ruled out.

“He will run in the second round of the Maktoum Challenge in February and, if he handles the surface, will take his chance in the World Cup,” explains Appleby. “He’s a horse who likes to be held up so whether he’ll be able to use his turn of foot to the same effect on dirt remains to be seen. If he doesn’t handle the dirt we have the option of bringing him back for the Winter Derby, and if he wins that he will qualify for another crack at the Final.”

Even without Tryster, Appleby looks set to emulate last season’s achievement of winning the trainer’s title, and hopes to match his tremendous haul of three winners on Finals Day with the likes of Sprint star Pretend, 3YO Mile winner Four Seasons and Marathon runner-up Anglophile all back for more. “All three have done well for their summer break,” he adds. “We’ve kept them fresh for an All-Weather campaign and I expect them all to feature in the better races in their respective divisions.”

Pretend has run only once on turf since scorching home in the Lingfield final at Easter, when he beat the 2014 winner Alben Star. The son of Invincible Spirit hasn’t looked back since beings witched to sprinting, winning three times on the Tapeta at Wolverhampton and twice at Lingfield. Beginning the season on a mark of 112, he will kick off in the Listed Golden Rose Stakes at the Surrey venue.

The Mile championship will be the target for Four Seasons, who profited from a trademark Adam Kirby ride to lower the colours of some better fancied rivals in last season’s 3YO Final on his first start over the trip. Considered a stronger horse this year, the son of Dubawi is unexposed at the distance and therefore should have more to offer.

Anglophile couldn’t quite get to Mymatechris in the Marathon Final but went down fighting and, like Four Seasons, is unexposed at the trip he faces this season. He showed he stays two miles well by winning his ‘prep’ race at Lingfield in January and, according to his trainer, is a stronger horse now. “He’s done well physically for his break and I couldn’t be happier with him,” adds Appleby. “The two-mile Fast Track Qualifiers will be high on his agenda from January.”

Appleby, whose Godolphin counterpart Saeed Bin Suroor is also expected to unleash a strong team for the Championships, will blood a string of young horses on the sand tracks, too, and whilst former All-Weather champion Adam Kirby will again ride the majority of his runners, at least one up and coming apprentice will get the chance to don the famous blue silks, just as Shane Gray and Kevin Stott did with such distinction last season.