Appleby savours Classic show from Hurricane Lane – now for the Arc?

Charlie Appleby could be forgiven for thinking training Classic winners is easy, as Hurricane Lane added another to his record at Doncaster.

The Godolphin trainer is doing a stellar job of propelling Sheikh Mohammed’s operation back into the big league after a few relatively fallow seasons.

Winning the Derby with Masar in 2018 was his breakthrough success and he quickly followed up earlier this year with Adayar – more of him later – while Hurricane Lane also added the Irish version.

Since then the flashy chestnut had claimed the Grand Prix de Paris is breathtaking fashion, making him the red-hot favourite for the Cazoo St Leger.

He was the clear form pick, as his sole defeat came behind his stablemate Adayar at Epsom, and everything went according to the script in front of a huge crowd on Town Moor.

Mojo Star – runner-up to Adayar in the Derby – put up a valiant effort in second, beaten two and three-quarter lengths with The Mediterranean, one of Aidan O’Brien’s four runners, back in third.

“This race is a Classic and that is the good thing about Sheikh Mohammed – when we had the discussions, some people might have swerved this race but you can’t beat tradition and history,” said Appleby.

“To be a part of it and come here with a horse like Hurricane Lane is great. We were confident he’d run a big race and were obviously hopeful he could win it.”

Hurricane Lane and William Buick cruising to victory
Hurricane Lane and William Buick cruising to victory (Mike Egerton/PA)

Classics are rarely won as smoothly as this one – had you taken the 8-11 about Hurricane Lane, you never for one moment thought you were not collecting.

“To be honest, when he broke from the gates and William (Buick) got a good position and Hollie (Doyle, on Interpretation) set a decent gallop, not a ridiculous one, I was happy,” said Appleby.

“Sometimes if one goes haring off in front, it can make the race disjointed but that didn’t happen, it was a lovely race to watch, everyone had the pitch they wanted.

“I was watching William and when they turned into the straight I was happy. Two furlongs out I could tell from William’s body language he was only just getting warmed up.”

And it really was that straightforward, with only the stamina question to answer. But Appleby had always been confident he would stay.

“His only defeat is still the Derby and we can use the excuse that he lost both front shoes but I don’t think that was the excuse, it was only the fourth race of his life and I just think he didn’t handle the track.

“The one thing about the Derby is you need the experience – to handle the day itself and the undulations of the track and I think it was the undulations which caught him out more than anything. When he won the Dante it was all a bit slow motion.”

On to Adayar, currently second-favourite for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

Team Godolphin celebrate another St Leger
Team Godolphin celebrate another St Leger (Mike Egerton/PA)

While his Derby win may have caught out some – perhaps even Appleby and Buick, who made no secret of the fact they thought Hurricane Lane was the one – the fact Adayar was majestic in beating Mishriff and Love in the King George at Ascot suggests he is a rapidly-improving colt.

“It would be a nice race to watch should he (Hurricane Lane) run in the Arc! I was asked the question recently (which one I’d favour) and how can you choose?,” said Appleby.

“As it stands Adayar is our main Arc contender, but we could look at Hurricane Lane joining him. To turn up with one of them would be good, two would be fantastic.”

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