Charlie Appleby Profile

Name Charlie Appleby
Born Jul 05, 1975
Age 45 years
Birthplace Southampton, UK
Nationality British

Charlie Appleby was a relative unknown before being unveiled as a trainer for Godolphin in 2013. He has since shown his credentials with two Epsom Derby wins, including the 2021 victor Adayar.

Based in both Newmarket and Dubai, Appleby has achieved global Group One success with victories in the Melbourne Cup, The Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf and The Dubai Sheema Classic.

Early career

Born in Southampton but raised near Plymouth, Appleby moved to Newmarket aged 16 to pursue a career as a jockey. However, making the weight for a race rider proved difficult and he soon turned his attention to the training game.

Fortunately he had the help of a famous racing family in the Piggotts and it was Susan Piggott (wife of Lester) who taught a young Appleby the ropes in 1993.

He then moved to David Loder, the trainer that would introduce him to the wealth and glory of the Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Godolphin Empire.

Appleby worked as travelling head lad for David Loder, joining him in France when Loder began training Godolphin's promising two year-olds.

However, Loder returned to England while Appleby joined the Newmarket stables of Godolphin trainer Saeed Bin Suroor.

The hard working and meticulous Appleby grafted his way from head lad up to Bin Suroor's assistant, helping nurture such outstanding talents as the Dubai World Cup winning Dubai Millennium.

An assistant trainer secondment to fellow Godolphin trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni proved fateful in more ways than one, sending Appleby's career in an unexpected direction.

Al Zarooni controversy and Goldolphin opportunity

In 2013, the seemingly unstoppable Godolphin operation was rocked by a steroid scandal which saw Al Zarooni banned from training for eight years by the British Horseracing Authority.

Al Zarooni had admitted administering anabolic steroids to a total of 15 horses at Godolphin's Moulton Paddocks, leaving a vacancy at the stables for a new British trainer.

Sheikh Mohammed made the bold choice of installing Appleby in July 2013 and the promotion didn't faze the up and coming trainer.

"I never felt pressure because it was second nature. I had been part of it for so long. I was au fait with it all. We all felt comfortable, it was all natural which allowed us to get on with our jobs." said Appleby.

By November 2013, Appleby had secured his first Group One winner as a Godolphin trainer with Outstrip winning the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf at Santa Anita in the USA.

From strength to strength

Appleby was no stranger to hard work and it took him a good year to claim a first Group One on British soil. William Buick got up in the royal blue silks by just a nose on Charming Thought in the Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket.

A first Royal Ascot win came in June 2015 when Space Age hit the stratosphere in the King George V Stakes.

While Appleby was warming up for a crack at the big British Group Ones, he made hay with valuable races overseas, particularly in the UAE where Tryster took the 2016 Jabel Hatta at Meyden, returning a cool £122,448 prize.

He then returned to Britain for the prestigious Eclipse Stakes at Sandown where Hawkbill turned over the 4/6 Ballydoyle favourite The Gurkha under William Buick.

The willingness to globetrot and target lesser known valuable races continued however and Appleby claimed two Group Three wins in Australia via the Geelong and Bendigo Cups.

Aussie jockey Kerrin McEvoy prevailed on Qewy in the Geelong Cup and Francis of Assisi in the Bendigo Cup, a precursor for a future Godolphin raid on the Melbourne Cup.

The 2017 season saw Appleby pick up both air-miles and silverware as four Group One wins were picked-off across the globe. Godolphin went down under to seize the Sydney Cup with Polarisation and took home a £777,485 prize.

Next was a trip to the French seaside where Appleby made sure of a win at Deauville with Sobetsu in the Gurkha Prix Saint-Alary on the Normandy coast.

Then a 250km trip East to Chantilly just outside Paris paid dividends for Appleby as Wild Illusion romped home at 25/1 in the Prix Marcel Boussac to take another Group One for Godolphin.

Meanwhile, Appleby was giving his transatlantic opponents the blues in November 2017 when the Dubawi mare Wuheida won the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf at Del Mar. William Buick got up by a length from old rival AP O'Brien's Rhododendron.

A magic 2018 and a first Derby

While 2017 was a stellar year for Appleby, 2018 was a year that dreams were made of for the rising trainer.

It began in March 2018 at Godolphin's spiritual home at the Dubai World Cup Carnival where Jungle Cat pounced to win the Al Quoz Sprint at Meydan over six furlongs.

Then, on the same card, William Buick made all the running on Hawkbill for a three length win in the mouthwateringly lucrative Dubai Sheema Classic with a hefty purse of £2,666,666.

By June 2018, Appleby had a Derby horse on his hands but perhaps didn't know it. Masar had won the Craven Stakes nicely at HQ in Newmarket but could only finish third behind Saxon Warrior in the 2000 Guineas.

That made the AP O'Brien trained Saxon Warrior the odds-on favourite for the 2018 Derby with Masar, the son of New Approach, priced up at a generous 16/1.

William Buick had Masar well-placed coming round Tattenham Corner and his mount did the rest, galloping and staying and doing all the things required of an Epsom champion to take the Derby by one and a half lengths from the Mark Johnston trained Dee Ex Bee.

Appleby topped off 2018 with an arresting win for Line Of Duty in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf at Churchill Downs before an historic win in the Melbourne Cup with Cross Counter.

Not only had Appleby won "the race that stops the nation" but Godolphin were stopping their opponents in their tracks and there was more to come.

Star sprinter Blue Point

It's some compliment that Appleby described the Sharmadal sprinter Blue Point as the most exciting horse he's trained.

The Summer of 2019 proved a spectacularly rapid period for Blue Point in which he won two Royal Ascot sprints in the space of four days.

First up was the five furlong King's Stand Stakes where Blue Point ran into massive opposition in the bullet-quick Battaash, trained by Charles Hills.

James Doyle rode Blue Point prominently and Battaash couldn't get to within a length of the Godolphin speedster at the post.

It was quite audacious for Blue Point to be aimed at the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Ascot with barely four days recovery time and an extra furlong added but Appleby was confident in his horse.

Blue Point responded with a head victory over the Sir Michael Stoute trained Dream Of Dreams to cap a fantasy summer for Appleby with Blue Point proving to be one of the best sprinters of a generation.

Adayar Epsom Derby win

It is fair to say that Appleby's 2021 Derby win with Adayer was a surprise but, given the way the 16/1 shot ate up the sticky Epsom ground, he should have gone off at a far shorter price.

The victory was a fairytale for Appleby's third choice jockey Adam Kirby who had been replaced on John Leeper, the 8/1 Ed Dunlop chance, by Frankie Dettori.

Indeed, the Frankel colt Hurricane Lane was considered Appleby's best shot at Derby success but it was Adayar who handled the conditions best and tore away for a four and a half length win from Mojo Star.

Kirby trod an intelligent course round the rails at Tattenham Corner and while the market leaders toiled on the tacky surface, Adayar found no such concerns and sprung, fleet-footed to a shock runaway win.

The controversy over the watering off Epsom in the build-up was still continuing by the time Adayar made it back to Newmarket to an ovation by the Godolphin team but nothing was to detract from the epic victory.

Adayar looks the latest star to emerge under Appleby at Godolphin with the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot and even a tilt at the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe on the cards.

It's clear that the royal blue of Godolphin is in the middle of a purple patch and that Sheikh Mohammed made a smart move in turning to Appleby when his stable needed him most.

Personal life

Charlie Appleby is married to Aisling Appleby and the couple share three daughters, Erin, Emily and Edith.

Away from racing, Appleby enjoys watching his children ride their ponies.

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