Charlie Appleby is on the verge of being crowned champion trainer for the first time and victories for With The Moonlight and Zakouski at Newmarket this weekend will further help his cause.
It has been a year to remember for Appleby, with Adayar winning the Derby and King George, Hurricane Lane the Irish Derby and St Leger and Native Trail ending a perfect juvenile season by claiming the Dewhurst.
Appleby is over £500,000 clear of John and Thady Gosden in the championship, and it would take an almighty effort from the duo to rein in the Godolphin trainer at the head of affairs.
“Without doubt it will be great to get on the CV and hopefully we can get it across the line,” said Appleby.
“More importantly it is fantastic for the team and something I will always be in debt to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed for giving us the opportunity and giving me the support to achieve it.
“Once it is in our hands it will be great and hopefully everyone who has been involved in it can take huge satisfaction and be proud of what they have achieved as it has been a big team effort.”
It has been some season for Appleby at HQ, too, notching up his 100th success on the Rowley Mile with Siskany at the Dewhurst meeting.
“Achieving our 100th Rowley Mile winner was great with Siskany, but both there and the July Course we enjoy supporting,” he said.
“We enjoy racing there first and foremost and it supports our programme. To achieve what we have at both tracks was great for everybody involved.
“It is great racing there and to have the winners we have had, but more importantly the calibre of winners we’ve had at the Rowley Mile, has been great.”
As for his prospects of winning two of the three Listed races at the final meeting of the season with Zakouski, bidding for a repeat win in the 888Sport What’s Your Thinking Ben Marshall Stakes, and With The Moonlight in the British Stallion Studs EBF Montrose Fillies’ Stakes, Appleby has high hopes.
“Zakouski is in great order, but obviously this is his first run in Britain this year. However, we are pleased with his level of fitness,” he said.
“Hopefully if he can go and run well or win that might give him an opportunity to head to the Bahrain International Trophy next month. He won this race last year on bottomless ground.
“With The Moonlight had her first start at the July Course and then went on to win around Chelmsford. She then progressed again to go and win comfortably at Wolverhampton on her last start.
“It is a step up into Listed company but she gets the trip well and I feel she is ready to have a crack at this.”