TRAINER Charlie Appleby is still on a high after his Masar claimed the Investec Derby at Epsom this month in the colours of Godolphin.
He will be hoping his Royal Ascot runners help keep him in a buoyant mood across the week with success at the meeting highly prized by Godolphin founder Sheikh Mohammed.
We spoke to Appleby about his Royal Ascot team and got an update on plans for Masar.
Blue Point leads your team off on Tuesday in the King’s Stand Stakes. Is he quick enough for 5f?
Dropping back to five furlongs will be within Blue Point’s compass. He seems to love Ascot – he has won two races there and was third in the Commonwealth, so it is a course and a track that he is very comfortable at. Coming back to five furlongs will also suit him as they will go hard up front and he will come into the race at the right time.
Hawkbill takes on Cracksman et al in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes. Can he improve on his run at Epsom last time?
We were slightly disappointed with his run at Epsom as he had his ground there. He’s becoming more versatile as he gets older and has put up decent performances on quick ground as well as soft ground. He does get himself worked up but he got a bit more worked up as well and maybe there was a bit of freshness as well that day because he had a break since the Sheema Classic victory in Dubai.
Hawkbill is dropping in trip for the Prince of Wales’s Stakes. Will that help him too?
The plan is be positive in the Prince of Wales and if the Hawkbill that won the Sheema Classic and Coral Eclipse turns up, he’ll take a bit of pegging back. He’s come out of Epsom very well and Hawkbill is Hawkbill – when he brings his A game, he is a hard horse to pass.
Wild Illusion finished second in the Oaks last time out. Can she go one better in the Ribblesdale?
She lost nothing in defeat in the Oaks or Guineas. We were confident going into the Oaks but take nothing away from the winner, who was better on the day and outstayed us. I’m confident Wild Illusion stays the trip and probably being back on a sounder surface will suit
D’Bai goes for the Diamond Jubilee Stakes on Saturday. Do you think he is quick enough?
I’ve felt for the past six to eight months that D’bai could be a sprinter. On his first start back in Britain after the winter in Dubai, he was second to The Tin Man over six furlongs at Windsor which was a very positive run. We just thought that another run before Ascot wouldn’t do any harm and the John of Gaunt looked a logical race to go for. He just showed his bit of class at Haydock in the way he travelled. They are going to go hard in the Diamond Jubilee and I am hoping he will be able to travel and come on to the scene late on.
Looking at the two-year-olds, tell us a little about your Albany contender La Pelosa
Our fillies seem to be the most precocious at this stage. She broke her maiden smartly at Kempton and came from the Craven breeze up sales. She is by Dandy Man and has done well since that success. I like her.
In the Chesham you run Beyond Reason. How will she cope with the trip?
Beyond Reason is a nice filly by Australia who won on her second start at Kempton. Stepping up in trip is going to be her forte and I think it’ll really help her shine.
You also have a Queen Mary runner in Strings Of Life. How will she get on?
She’s a little Slade Power filly who won first time at Newmarket. She might just lack on the class front, but deserves to be there.
And, finally, can we get an update on your Derby winner Masar?
After a long discussion we’ve decided to target him at the Coral-Eclipse as we think that’s best for the horse. He’ll stay in the Irish Derby as well in case something goes wrong with the other horses and it then looks a very winnable option. But we’re concentrating on the Eclipse.