Charlie Appleby crowned Champion Flat Trainer

Charlie Appleby was crowned Champion Flat Trainer at the Horse Racing Writers and Photographers Association Derby Awards. Closest rivals Andrew Balding had no chance of catching the Godolphin trainer.

A lead of £570,507 from closest rival Andrew Balding means that the race for the Champion Flat Trainer 2021 is over before Christmas, with Godolphin's Charlie Appleby winning the coveted title.

The win caps a momentous rise from travelling Head Lad to trainer for the global Godolphin operation, winning 17 Group 1 races this season, including the Epsom Derby.

The trainers' championship runs from January 1 to December 31 and is based on prize-money won.

But with Appleby having accrued more than £4.8million, he is well clear of his nearest challenger Andrew Balding, with the Kingsclere-based trainer, along with fellow trainers John and Thady Gosden and William Haggas conceding the title with less than a month of the championship remaining.

Appleby was crowned champion at the HWPA Derby Awards at the Royal Lancaster Hotel in London.

"It's huge for myself and the team at Moulton Paddocks," he told Great British Racing.

"Most importantly, from the get-go back in 2013, we set our stall out on what we'd like to try to achieve and that was getting the success back into Godolphin and getting the big-race winners on the board, while also taking on stallions and broodmares to bolster the future.

"We began growing steadily with winners and then the nicer horses started to come into the yard. Thankfully, we've been able to make the most of it.

"The success over the last three to four years has improved year on year after a breakthrough year in 2018 with Masar winning the Derby and Cross Counter winning the Melbourne Cup.

"Going into the start of this season we were confident our three-year-olds had wintered well as two-year-olds, but like everyone in the spring you're trying to get a feeling of what you're dealing with.

"We felt early doors that our middle-distance horses were coming to the fore and on the evidence of the trials we were very competitive. We went on to win the Derby, the Irish Derby, the King George and ended up with the St Leger on British soil, so we really did tick all the boxes."

Charlie Appleby's best wins 2021:

UAE Derby (March): Rebel's Romance

Epsom Derby (June): Adayar

Irish Derby (June) Hurricane Lane

King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes (July): Adayar

St Leger (September): Hurricane Lane

Breeders Cup Juvenile Turf (November): Modern Games

Breeders Cup Mile (November): Space Blues

Breeders Cup Turf (November): Yibir