Appleby praises hard-working Moulton Paddocks team as he collects a second British Trainers’ Championship trophy at awards ceremony in London

Jim McGrath
J A McGrath

Charlie Appleby has been officially crowned Britain’s Champion trainer for the second successive year and confirmed that two of Godolphin’s highest achievers, Modern Games (pictured) and Native Trail, are to stay in training in 2023.

Appleby accepted the trophy at the Horserace Writers and Photographers Association Derby Awards lunch in London on Monday and immediately praised the hard work and dedication of Godolphin stable staff and all connected to the Moulton Paddocks operation.

“It has been a hard-fought battle to hold on to the title,” the trainer said. “William Haggas is a formidable rival and the tussle for the championship went down to the wire, with the last major prizemoney meeting, British Champions Day at Ascot, basically deciding it.

“I am pleased that we managed to pull it off again, and I must first thank His Highness Sheikh Mohammed for his support and backing every step of the way in what has been an eventful season. He founded Godolphin three decades ago and remains its driving force and constant inspiration.

“I would also like to thank my assistant trainers Marie Murphy and Alex Merriam, and in Dubai Sophie Chretien, and all the stable staff, our jockeys William Buick and James Doyle, also the work riders, as well as the travelling team, who spend endless hours on the road.  

“Plus a big mention of all those at Sheikh Mohammed’s studs in England and Ireland, who work tirelessly on a daily basis to keep the Godolphin operation going. “It is their skill and dedication that, of course, enabled us to enjoy another great season,” he added. Appleby cited the unique feat of winning the G1 2,000 Guineas in England, France and Ireland with three different colts — Coroebus, Modern Games and Native Trail, respectively — as the stable’s highlight of 2022.

“It was the perfect start to the season,” he pointed out. “I take a lot of pride that we were able to do that. We had been knocking on the door a few times trying to win the Guineas at Newmarket, and Coroebus was the colt who cracked it. He went on to back it up by then winning the G1 St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot.

“It was a very sad day when he was fatally injured at Longchamp in September. He was a magnificent colt with so many admirable qualities and he was a fine son of Dubawi, Darley’s flagship stallion,” he added.

Touching on other highlights, Appleby said that the Festival meetings throughout the British season are always targeted by the stable. “I was very pleased at our team’s consistency at the Festival meetings. In fact, we were the leading stable at Newmarket and Goodwood, plus Ascot for the overall season,  which was a big result.

Naval Crown beating Creative Force in the G1 Platinum Jubilee Stakes in June was also a great moment for us.  Naval Crown has been retired to stud, and as an incredibly fast and tough son of Dubawi, you can only be excited about the what the future holds for him as a stallion,” the trainer added.

Modern Games remains in training, mounting a 2023 campaign that could ultimately see him attempt to become a triple Breeders’ Cup winner.  This follows a remarkable season, in which he won the G1 French 2,000 Guineas and the G1 Woodbine Mile, and was placed in the G1 Prix du Jockey-Club, Ascot’s G1 QE II, and Goodwood’s G1 Sussex Stakes (chasing home Baaeed).

The colt’s win in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Mile at Keeneland was one leg of a magnificent treble for the Moulton Paddocks team at the Kentucky meeting. Rebel’s Romance won the G1 Turf, while Mischief Magic was able to weave a passage through the field from well back to land the G1 Juvenile Turf Sprint.

Appleby was lavish in his praise of Modern Games and his achievements as a three-year-old: “He is not only the ultimate international campaigner, he is the ultimate Dubawi. He is his father.

“He’s very genuine, we’ve seen him in all conditions, in England, France, Canada and America.  He truly is the ultimate professional.  We are very lucky to have a horse like him staying in training, and the aim will be to take him to Santa Anita at the back end of the season and try for another Breeders’ Cup Mile win,” he said.

News of others to stay in training: Appleby said Native Trail is to first target the G1 Queen Anne Stakes in the new season, while Adayar will be aimed at the G1 Prince Of Wales’s Stakes, Creative Force will head towards the G1 Platinum Jubilee Stakes, New London goes for the G1 Coronation Cup and G2 Hardwicke Stakes, while Hurricane Lane will be confined to soft ground targets as he races on as a five-year-old.