Appleby on Godolphin’s Dark Horse Derby
Charlie Appleby thinks the horse most likely to give Godolphin his third Cazoo Derby (G1) winner in five years may not even be entered into the Epsom Classic, although he may be offered the late opportunity on May 23.
Appleby, who supplied Sheikh Mohammed’s operation with the Epsom aces Masar in 2018 and Adayar last year, was at the Surrey track on Monday to watch big race contenders Star Walk and Nahanni participate in the morning of the Derby gallops and confirmed that the plan was to complete Pride of Nations who snagged the top odds list on the Betfair Exchange Newmarket Stakes last visit and has a 10-to-1 chance with Coral to triumph on June 4.
Nations Pride also has the option of the Qatar Prix du Jockey Club (French Derby, G1), although winner of the Poule d’Essai des Poulains (French Two Thousand Guineas, G1) modern games is inscribed in pencil for this Chantilly prize.
“Nations Pride was impressive in Newmarket and he is in the French Derby, where we also have modern Games,” said Appleby, whose Cazoo Coronation Cup contender Manobo was also in Epsom.
“He’ll work on Wednesday and then we’ll decide if we deputize for him on Monday. We hope we do – there’s only one Derby and you only want to go if you think you can win it. He has a great profile and ticks most of the boxes of our three possible runners.”
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Appleby stable jockey William Buick was due to race the second race at Leicester so he was not at Epsom. He missed out on Derby glory last year when he partnered hurricane path behind the Adayar ridden by Adam Kirby and also suffered in the QIPCO Two Thousand Guineas (G1) recently, finishing second on Native trail as James Doyle knocked on the building site Coroebus .
“If I had to say which one I would ride and we got past Wednesday’s gallop and saw the well-being of Nations Pride, then – as it stands – he would be the horse,” Appleby said. “William is lucky because he’s sitting on it anyway. As far as advice goes, I like to let the jockeys make the choice and if it’s a bit to the left I could say something, but I like that they ride what suits them.
“If he’s on the horse he thinks has the best chance of winning, he goes there thinking that. Wednesday’s work will be the deciding point, but Nations Pride is top rated and has done very little harm. .”