Charlie Appleby celebrates after securing first trainers’ title

Charlie Appleby was officially crowned Britain’s champion Flat trainer for the first time on Monday.

The Moulton Paddocks handler has enjoyed a memorable campaign, saddling 17 Group/Grade One winners worldwide including five top-level victories in Britain.

The trainer’s championship runs from January 1 to December 31 and is based on prize-money won.

But with Appleby having accrued more than £4.8million, he is well clear of his nearest challenger Andrew Balding, with the Kingsclere-based trainer, along with fellow trainers John and Thady Gosden and William Haggas conceding the title with less than a month of the championship remaining.

Appleby was crowned champion at the HWPA Derby Awards at the Royal Lancaster Hotel in London.

“It’s huge for myself and the team at Moulton Paddocks,” he told Great British Racing.

“Most importantly, from the get-go back in 2013, we set our stall out on what we’d like to try to achieve and that was getting the success back into Godolphin and getting the big-race winners on the board, while also taking on stallions and broodmares to bolster the future.

“We began growing steadily with winners and then the nicer horses started to come into the yard. Thankfully, we’ve been able to make the most of it.

Adam Kirby celebrates on top of Adayar after winning the Cazoo Derby
Adam Kirby celebrates on top of Adayar after winning the Cazoo Derby (John Walton/PA)

“The success over the last three to four years has improved year on year after a breakthrough year in 2018 with Masar winning the Derby and Cross Counter winning the Melbourne Cup.

“Going into the start of this season we were confident our three-year-olds had wintered well as two-year-olds, but like everyone in the spring you’re trying to get a feeling of what you’re dealing with.

“We felt early doors that our middle-distance horses were coming to the fore and on the evidence of the trials we were very competitive. We went on to win the Derby, the Irish Derby, the King George and ended up with the St Leger on British soil, so we really did tick all the boxes.”

Standout performers in 2021 for Appleby include Derby and King George hero Adayar and Hurricane Lane, who provided his trainer with a first St Leger success at Doncaster in September.

Appleby added: “I’d have to say the King George win gave us the most satisfaction this year. We were very lucky to win the Derby again, but to repeat history in terms of Adayar going on to win the King George, which hadn’t been done in 20 years, that was a very proud moment for the team. A lot of people here at Moulton Paddocks took a lot of pleasure from that.”

Top-class sprinter Creative Force provided Appleby with his first Qipco British Champions Day success at Ascot in October.

Overall he has saddled 113 domestic winners in 2021, with further top-level international success in Canada, France, Ireland and a Breeders’ Cup treble at Del Mar topping off his stellar year.

Appleby’s retained rider William Buick, who was runner-up to Oisin Murphy in this year’s Flat jockeys’ championship, said: “It’s a fantastic achievement for Charlie and very well deserved.

“I feel very privileged to be working so closely with him and the great team at Moulton Paddocks and Godolphin. Charlie’s management of his horses and team has been a pleasure to witness and his CV as a young trainer is outstanding. Many congratulations Charlie.”

Charlie Appleby and William Buick after winning the St Leger with Hurricane Lane
Charlie Appleby and William Buick after winning the St Leger with Hurricane Lane (Mike Egerton/PA)

Appleby’s wife, Aisling, said: “As a family all five of us are very proud of Charlie and this award. He may have missed a few Pony Club meets and bath times, but this makes it all worthwhile!”

Hugh Anderson, chief operating officer at Godolphin (UK and Dubai), added: “Everyone at Godolphin is delighted for Charlie and very proud of his success this season.

“It has been a superb year for Godolphin and he has led the charge with his handling of superstars like Adayar, Hurricane Lane and Native Trail, as well as his exceptional campaigning across the Atlantic and elsewhere.

“He fully deserves the accolade of champion trainer and now joins the greats of the sport. We couldn’t be happier for him and his whole team.”

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