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Kentucky Derby and Horse Racing at The Downey Profile®

Appleby Looking for Gold on Saturday


From UAE Derby to Kentucky Derby?

British-born Charlie Appleby is entering his fifth full year as trainer to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s operation, but he has yet to saddle a winner on Dubai World Cup day. He came closest when Ahtoug was beaten a neck in the Al Quoz Sprint in 2014.  

On Saturday, Gold Town has a good shot in the UAE Derby after two runaway wins at the Dubai Racing Carnival, and the outcome will more than likely affect the makeup of the Kentucky Derby field.

“Everyone is asking if we are going to go to the Kentucky Derby, but everyone will find out what we are doing at the same time I do," Appleby said. "It’s a point-based entry system, so he needs the points but he needs to go and win on Saturday to justify going. If he wins he will be going, if he gets beat, he probably won’t.”

“I have spoken to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed about the horse and we are all hopeful,” Appleby said. “I am excited and have always been lucky in this position in that I have never had immense pressure put on me, and therefore that allows everyone to do their job and make the right decisions. I have not had a winner on Dubai World Cup night yet so that is on my bucket list. I say to all the lads that it is an achievement to get a horse to World Cup night and anything on top is a bonus.”

Gold Town will be trying to go one place better than his father Street Cry did in the UAE Derby 17 years ago and heads into Saturday’s race after lopsided victories in the Guineas Trial and the UAE 2000 Guineas Sponsored By Al Tayer Motors.

“What we have all seen out here has visually been very impressive,” Appleby said. “We were hopeful that he would do what he has, given he is by Street Cry and we have had this as our target from a long way out. It doesn’t always work out, but so far he has done everything that has been asked of him.

“He ticks a lot of boxes – he has home advantage, he has had two runs on the surface and is a Guineas Trial and a Guineas winner, but is taking on a different calibre of horse this time. This is going to be a big step up for him, but he goes into it in great order.”

Street Cry went on to land a Dubai World Cup the year after finishing second in the Derby and Appleby is plotting for Gold Town to be back in 2019.

“There is no doubt he is a better horse on this dirt surface,” the trainer said. “He is by Street Cry and my own personal view is they like a nice flat track, the undulations in Europe don’t suit them, so there is no point running on a track that doesn’t suit. Even if he doesn’t go to America, he will stay on dirt and come back here next year for the Maktoum Challenges and we will see where we go.”

Edited Emirates Racing release with content by Dick Downey

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