CHARLIE Appleby feels excitement rather than pressure as Emotionless, one of the most exciting juveniles in Flat racing, puts his unbeaten record on the line in the Group One Dubai Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket today.
While having an army of horses at his disposal, it is the first time the Newmarket handler has found himself in the position of having a serious Classic contender in his care since taking control at Godolphin’s Moulton Paddocks yard almost two-and-a-half years ago in the wake of the Mahmood Al Zarooni drugs scandal.
After Emotionless made a winning a debut at Newmarket in August, the two-year-old showed he is a colt of considerable potential when easing to an effortless success in the At The Races Champagne Stakes at Doncaster, a victory which saw his odds dramatically cut to 6-1 for next year’s Qipco 2000 Guineas.
Appleby said: “I am very fortunate to be surrounded by, and have the support of, Sheikh Mohammed and John Ferguson (racing and bloodstock advisor). We are doing our best at the yard and they support us in whatever will benefit the horses. It is not so much pressure that we feel going into this, but excitement.
“If we win the Dewhurst then we can look at the Guineas and the St James’s Palace Stakes, as our aim is to produce Classic and Group One winners. The most important thing is that unbeaten tag, as I don’t want to lose that. It is different to having a horse that is beaten first time out and then progresses. As he is unbeaten it puts a different spin on it. It is exciting to have a horse like that on our hands and it would be great if we could win it with a horse of his pedigree.”
Despite bookmakers pricing up the illustrious seven-furlong Group One contest as a battle between Emotionless and the Aidan O’Brien-trained Air Force Blue, Appleby considers it to be more than a two-horse race.
He said: “There are a couple of other horses in there that are going the right way. I fully respect the John Gosden runner Tashweeq, who won the Flying Scotsman Stakes at Doncaster.”
Emotionless has been described as “very special” by jockey William Buick as the Northern Racing College graduate comes to the end of his first full year as one of Godolphin’s retained riders.
Victorious a fortnight ago aboard the fantastic filly Lumiere, who will now stay in training at Mark Johnston’s Middleham yard next year and attempt to win the 1000 Guineas, he is set to partner Irish Derby winner Jack Hobbs in next weekend’s Qipco Champion Stakes at Ascot.
Buick partnered the colt during a racecourse gallop at Newmarket yesterday and trainer John Gosden could not have been happier with Jack Hobbs, who chased home his illustrious stablemate Golden Horn in the Epsom Derby.
“William feels he is getting better all the time,” said Gosden. “He is a big, rangy Halling colt and, like his father, he is getting better with age. After his run at Ascot we will leave him alone for the winter.”
Meanwhile, Buick warmed up for his big-race assignments by partnering First Victory to victory in Newmarket’s Group Two Vision Oh So Sharp Stakes yesterday which celebrated the 30th anniversary of the Sir Henry Cecil-trained and Steve Cauthen-ridden champion winning the fillies’ Triple Crown.
“She was doing a bit too much in front, but she saw it out very well,” he said. “She has a bit of size about her and will be a nice filly for next year.”
n Tom Scudamore is confident top-class chaser Dynaste remains as good as ever ahead of his return to action at Auteuil tomorrow.
An impressive winner of the Ryanair Chase at the 2014 Cheltenham Festival, David Pipe’s ultra-consistent grey picked up an injury while chasing home subsequent Grand National winner Many Clouds in the Cotswolds Chase at Cheltenham in late January.
“I had a sit on him recently and he was in great order with himself,” said Scudamore.
“From how he was running last year we know, he’s a top-class racehorse and it’s great to have him back. He’s been a fantastic horse over the years and hopefully there’s more to come.”