One Ruler out to fill Appleby’s superstar vacancy

Charlie Appleby’s two best horses have both retired to stud this month – but he may be about to unearth a new stable star if One Ruler can continue his rise in the Vertem Futurity Trophy at Doncaster.

After waving goodbye to multiple Group One winners Pinatubo and Ghaiyyath in recent weeks, Appleby has a vacancy for a new flag-bearer.

So far One Ruler looks like he may fit the bill, based on his smooth victory in the Autumn Stakes last time out – which came with cut in the ground at Newmarket.

“He has handled the juice well at Newmarket,” said Appleby.

“He is out of a French family, and generally they run on the slower side of good, so the ground wouldn’t worry me.

“Getting the trip last time and seeing that improvement was key for me. He will be going there as a serious player.

“I think 10 (furlongs) will be his maximum (next year). On the mare’s side (Fintry) she was a miler, and he shows a lot of natural pace, but he saw that mile out well.

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“I don’t see him at the moment being a mile-and-a-half horse, at this stage, but we will let him winter away first.

“He did what he did at Newmarket and he did get beat on the flat track at Doncaster, but I think that was a bit of inexperience – and tactically we rode a different race to what we had done on his previous starts.”

Aidan O’Brien will have to wait until next year to draw equal with the late Sir Henry Cecil on 10 victories, after withdrawing Wembley at the 11th hour on account of the ground on Town Moor.

O’Brien’s two most recent winners, Saxon Warrior and Magna Grecia, both went on to land the 2000 Guineas – and from a large entry at the five-day stage, this year he had been due to rely solely on the Dewhurst runner-up.

Andrew Balding is another trainer with a good record in the race, having struck with Elm Park and then subsequent Guineas hero Kameko 12 months ago, when the race had to be run at Newcastle because of waterlogging at Doncaster.

This year Balding saddles King Vega, a maiden after two starts but who showed a good level of ability when second in the Solario Stakes last time out.

“I’m really pleased with the horse, and we’re all looking forward to it,” the Kingsclere trainer told Sky Sports Racing.

“I think he’s probably the highest-rated maiden in the country, but I’m sure there are plenty of unraced horses that are pretty decent waiting to come out.

“He’s a horse we’ve always rated very highly. He ran a very decent race in the Solario, and the extra furlong will certainly be to his advantage.

“It’s going to be slow ground. Lope De Vegas tend to go well with dig in the ground.

“He was worked on the grass here in the last three weeks. He seems to enjoy a bit of ease, and I don’t think the ground conditions will be too much of a concern for him.”

Assessing the quality of the opposition, Balding added: “The Dewhurst was a true Group One test, as it should be. Wembley just missed out and he’s a horse that has improved with racing. Aidan’s got a fantastic record in the race. He’s very much the one to beat.”

John Gosden will be looking to Megallan to bring him a change of fortune, after several stable stars disappointed on Champions Day.

The Kingman colt, out of a half-sister to Golden Horn, was fourth behind One Ruler last time out.

“He got in trouble at Newmarket the other day,” said Gosden.

“He got forced back and had to come back round them, but he ran a very good race. It will be interesting to see how soft it does get up there. However, he is in good form going into it.”

Appleby firms up Group One weekend plans for smart juveniles

Charlie Appleby will split his two smart juveniles up this weekend, with La Barrosa set to run in the Criterium International in France while One Ruler stays closer to home for the Vertem Futurity Trophy at Doncaster.

La Barrosa has won both his races to date, on debut at Ascot and then as an odds-on favourite in the Group Three Tattersalls Stakes at Newmarket.

Both of those were over seven furlongs and he will step up to a mile at Saint-Cloud.

The Doncaster race is also over a mile, with One Ruler is among the ante-post favourites.

A close third to New Mandate, who has subsequently franked the form in Group Two company, on his penultimate outing, the son of Dubawi was last seen winning the Autumn Stakes in good style.

Appleby said of One Ruler: “As we saw, stepping up to the mile for the first saw further improvement.

“He has come out of the race well. We had it in the back of our minds to look at the Vertem Futurity Trophy with him and he has done very well the last 10 days. We are pleased to let him take part on Saturday.”

La Barrosa (all blue) stayed on well to remain unbeaten at Newmarket
La Barrosa (all blue) stayed on well to remain unbeaten at Newmarket (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

He went on: “La Barrosa won the Tattersalls Stakes, which turned into a little tactical affair but he got the job done. He has come out of it well.

“We know that as he is by Lope De Vega he will like the soft ground. He is likely to head to France at this stage for the Criterium International, which looks a small field but a competitive field.”

One Ruler supreme for Appleby and Buick in Autumn Stakes

One Ruler resumed his progression with a decisive success in the Emirates Autumn Stakes at Newmarket.

After finishing third behind subsequent Royal Lodge scorer New Mandate in a Listed contest at Doncaster last time out, the Charlie Appleby-trained Frankel colt bounced back to winning ways in the Group Three prize.

Racing over a mile for the time, the 5-1 winner showed a smart turn of foot in testing conditions to cross the line a length and three-quarters clear of Van Gogh.

Following the race One Ruler was introduced at 25-1 for next year’s 2000 Guineas by William Hill and 20-1 for the Derby with Betfair and Paddy Power.

Winning rider William Buick said: “Charlie was always adamant he would want the mile, but at the end of the day he has got a turn of foot. The combination of stepping up to a mile and running in this ground for the first time was always a bit of a worry, but he saw it out very well.

“I think it was a real good performance as he was last off the bridle and showed a real turn of foot in that ground as well. We know he is better on better ground so it is a lovely performance.

“It was the right race for the horse so you are hoping it goes well, but a lot of the horses have never been on that ground before.

“I think he will get further, but for the moment he is a miler. I think he will get a mile and a quarter.”