Trainer Charlie Appleby believes Old Persian has ‘live shot’ in £3.1m Breeders’ Cup Turf: ‘This has been our target from Dubai’
- Old Persian has been working towards Saturday’s race with his 2019 programme
- He won Sheema Classic in Dubai and Northern Dancer Stakes in Canada
- Charlie Appleby said: ‘He ticks a lot of boxes and quick ground won’t worry him’
Charlie Appleby believes Old Persian has a ‘live shot’ in Saturday’s £3.1million Breeders’ Cup Turf as the Godolphin trainer aims to build on his impressive record at the meeting.
Old Persian’s 2019 programme has been geared towards the mile and a half Breeders’ Cup race since he won the Sheema Classic in Dubai in March and most recently Coral’s 9-2 third favourite won the Northern Dancer Stakes at Woodbine in Canada.
Appleby said: ‘The great thing about horses like him is that he is used to shipping having been to both Dubai and Canada. He is bright and well. This has been our target from Dubai.
Old Persian (right) won the Longines Dubai Sheema Classic in March of this year
‘He ran flat in the Coronation Cup but showed the exertions of Dubai World Cup night takes a bit out of them. We then purposely gave him a Summer break.
‘I think he is a live shot on Saturday. You have to respect the leading American hope Bricks And Mortar and Aidan O’Brien’s European challenge which will put stamina into the race as well but Old Persian will not look out of place.
‘He ticks a lot of boxes and quick ground will not worry him.
‘It’s great when you are here with horses but it is not a holiday. We always try to bring the right horses out with the experience we have had down the years. We are trying to do the same again.’
Old Persian, a four-year-old, took his first steps on the Santa Anita track on Tuesday morning after clearing quarantine.
Turf favourite Bricks And Mortar has won his last six races for US trainer Chad Brown but he has never raced beyond a mile and a quarter.
O’Brien runs Derby winner Anthony Van Dyck and Mount Everest but the quality of the three-year-old crop in Europe has generally looked below average all season.
Other possible Turf hopes from Europe like Enable, Magical, Sottsass and Arc winner Waldgeist are all absent leaving the prize more vulnerable than would have been expected.
Trainer Charlie Appleby thinks the horse has a ‘live shot’ at Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup Turf
Appleby added: ‘Old Persian is a two-time group one winner but with no Enable and Waldgeist you are a bit more comfortable.’
Appleby has secured three wins from only six runners at the Breeders’ Cup, the first being Outstrip in the Juvenile Turf six years ago at Santa Anita.
The most recent of those was Line Of Duty in last year’s Juvenile Turf at Churchill Downs. He had been due to represent Appleby in Saturday’s Mile but the colt suffered a fatal training ground injury last weekend.
A massive few days for Appleby will see him launch a dual challenge in Tuesday’s Melbourne Cup with last year’s winner Cross Counter (James Doyle) and Ispolini (William Buick).