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Hurricane Lane primed for dazzling display in Leger as Godolphin poised for ambitious autumn campaign

J A McGrath

Hurricane Lane will strip a sharper, more street-wise model when he attempts to land his third G1 in a stunning three-year-old campaign in Saturday’s St Leger at Doncaster as Godolphin embarks globally on an exciting autumn program.

But stablemate Adayar, winner of the G1 Derby at Epsom, misses Sunday’s G2 Prix Niel at Longchamp after picking up an infection in a hind leg and now goes straight to the G1 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe on Sunday, 3 October.

Racing’s oldest Classic has undergone a revival in recent years, and Hurricane Lane, winner of the G1 Irish Derby and G1 Grand Prix de Paris, is typical of the high class of three-year-old attracted to the 1m 6f St Leger these days.

Charlie Appleby, who trains the son of Frankel for Godolphin, is confident the distance will prove no problem. “Obviously, it is the big question for all of them. Will they stay the extra two furlongs? In his case, I think he will,” the trainer said.

“He goes into the Leger with rock solid form. He’s only been beaten once — he finished third in the Derby, and he lost two shoes. We feel there is enough evidence there to say he will stay. He is the class horse in the field,” he added.

Appleby said it was visually evident that Hurricane Lane had improved significantly with each G1 he contested. “After travelling to Ireland and France, he is a mentally sharper horse.

“When he went to Epsom in June, he was unbeaten in three starts and relatively inexperienced. That was his undoing on the day. But what we have seen since is a much sharper model. He is mentally stronger and more mature, and he is ready for this.

“William (Buick) rode him in a good piece of work (on Wednesday, 1 September), 10 days out from the Leger, and he was delighted. He looked great, he moved well. He’s been doing routine work since then, and he continues to please,” he reported.

Appleby added the Arc will be on the cards if Hurricane Lane comes through Doncaster in good order. “We are lucky to have two very good middle-distance horses on our hands, and if both are fit and well, we will run the pair of them in the Arc.

“Those discussions will take place in the weeks leading up to the Arc,” he added.

Appleby described Adayar’s leg infection as “a minor setback.” He explained: “Adayar missed a couple of days, and after discussions, we felt there was no need to press on to a trial (for the Arc). So, the decision was made to head straight to the Arc.

“He has resumed full training, and as a Derby and King George winner, he fully deserves to be running in what is shaping up to be a vintage Arc.”

In other news, Appleby sends the unbeaten Native Trail to the Curragh for Sunday’s G1 Vincent O’Brien National Stakes, attempting to emulate Quorto and Pinatubo, two former Champion juveniles from Moulton Paddocks.

“Native Trail’s prep has gone well. It has always been the plan to progress from the G2 Superlative Stakes at Newmarket to the National Stakes at the Curragh. It’s a well-trodden path for ourselves,” he pointed out.

Master Of The Seas, who finished fourth in last year’s National Stakes, prior to a three-year-old campaign in Spring that saw him finish a close second to Poetic Flare in the G1 2,000 Guineas, is expected to return to racing in the Joel Stakes at Newmarket on September 24.

This follows a setback that put him out for the summer. “The plan is to run him in the Joel Stakes, then all going well, he could take in the QEII on British Champions Day or the Breeders’ Cup Mile at Del Mar,” the trainer said.

Meanwhile, Yibir is to miss Sunday’s G1 Irish St Leger and will instead be sent to New York for the Jockey Club Derby Invitational on Saturday, 18 September, and will be joined on the same card by stablemate Creative Flair in the Jockey Club Oaks.

Appleby is also planning an extensive campaign in Toronto the same weekend, sending Walton Street for the G1 Canadian International at Woodbine, and he will be joined by juveniles Wild Beauty and Albahr, who are to target the G1 Natalma Stakes and G1 Summer Stakes, respectively, both ‘win and you are in’ races for the Breeders’ Cup.