Highland Avenue stars for Charlie Appleby in Feilden Stakes

Highland Avenue led home a one-two for trainer Charlie Appleby in the bet365 Feilden Stakes at Newmarket.

The Moulton Paddocks maestro fired a formidable twin assault at the Listed contest, with William Buick riding Meydan winner Secret Protector and James Doyle aboard Highland Avenue, who was making his turf debut following successive all-weather wins at Kempton.

The pair could not be split in the market, with both horses a 9-2 chance, but Highland Avenue was ultimately an emphatic winner.

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Always travelling strongly, the grey quickened up to grab the lead inside the final furlong and had plenty in the tank as he passed the post with just over a length in hand over his stablemate.

Secret Protector pulled six lengths clear of the remainder, headed by 2-1 favourite Royal Champion.

Appleby said of his winner: “He is doing everything the right way, in a fashion that we are not trying to achieve too much too soon with him. He is very much a horse that might not jump straight into the deep end just yet.

“He is mentally improving with each run. Physically, he is a big horse. With each run he is tightening up and skeletally is strengthening up well.

Highland Avenue leads the Feilden field
Highland Avenue leads the Feilden field (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

“James was very pleased with the way he travelled. He said he picked up quickly and well in what looked like, and I felt, was a nice field.

“The second horse has added substance to it. It was a hard choice for William (Buick), but he had ridden Secret Protector and not this one, so he stuck with him. He is a horse that is probably crying out for a bit further.”

Highland Avenue holds entries in the Qipco 2000 Guineas and the Irish Derby, but Appleby is keen to take a patient approach.

He added: “He is well entered up, but we are in no rush with him. If anything, we would be coming back in trip with him. As this horse mentally sharpens up, he will get physically sharper and he will get quicker.

“I think you are more likely to see him at a mile than over 10 furlongs.

“At this moment I think a Guineas might be too much. I don’t want to lose this horse just by rolling the dice with him as he has got an engine.”

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