Appleby Set To Fire Two Bullets at $1.5m Saudi Derby

February 23, 2022

Noble Truth, Sovereign Prince, Siskany and Naval Crown all to represent Britain’s champion trainer at world’s most valuable racing fixture next week

17 February 2022 – Godolphin’s Charlie Appleby is launching an adventurous two-pronged attack on the $1.5m Group 3 Saudi Derby presented by Al Rajhi Bank (1600m) in Riyadh on Saturday February 26 with two three-year-olds who have never raced on dirt.

Appleby, the world’s number one trainer on current TRC global rankings, believes there is strong evidence to suggest both Noble Truth and Sovereign Prince will handle the surface at the first time of asking.

He said: “Sure, they have never raced on dirt before but judging by what we have seen in their gallops at home, they will have no problems handling it.

“They have been training on the Marmoom track in Dubai, which has a surface very similar to what they will experience in Saudi. I’m very happy the way they have been training on it.”

Marmoom is one of Godolphin’s private training facilities, situated 40km outside central Dubai. It has state-of-the-art dirt and turf tracks which are world standard.

Noble Truth, a Kingman colt, has not run since finishing fourth in the Group 3 Horris Hill Stakes at Newbury in October. This followed an excellent second in the Group 1 Jean-Luc Lagardere at Longchamp earlier that month.

Appleby said: “He was slightly disappointing in the Horris Hill on very soft ground, but he put up such a great performance in the Lagardere (on heavy), it took the edge off him for Newbury.

“He was sent to Dubai in November purposely to be aimed at the Saudi Derby, and if he brings his best two-year-old form to the race, he’ll be a very live contender. He’s adapted well since embarking on a more American-style training programme in Dubai since travelling over.”

Sovereign Prince, a Dubawi gelding out of a Bernardini mare, heads to Riyadh off the back of a win in the Listed Jumeirah Classic at Meydan, over a mile (1600m) on turf earlier this month.

He broke his maiden at the fifth time of asking in an Epsom nursery in September but has since made remarkable progress, enough to convince Appleby to supplement him for the Saudi Derby presented by Al Rajhi Bank.

“He has earned his stripes following two creditable performances at Meydan. He’s a typical Dubawi in strengthening and moving forward at a rate of knots as he gets more mature. He’s had plenty of racing experience in the UK and Dubai,” said Appleby. “If he can transfer that experience to dirt, he deserves to be in the line-up.”

William Buick is booked to ride Noble Truth, while James Doyle will be aboard Sovereign Prince.

Appleby expects to saddle a total of four Godolphin runners at The Saudi Cup meeting, with Siskany tackling the $2.5m Group 3 Longines Red Sea Handicap (3000m) and Naval Crown the $1.5m Group 3 1351 Turf Sprint presented by stc (1351m).

Four-year-old Siskany has won five of his ten starts and was highly impressive in beating Alignak and Volcanic Sky by five and a half lengths in a Listed race (2800m) at Meydan last month.

“Siskany was a progressive middle-distance handicapper, who showed marked improvement at 2800m. We are hoping that in stepping up to extreme trips, he can take it to another level,” said Britain’s champion trainer.

“He has come out of his last race really well, and the second and third have franked the form by being placed subsequently behind Global Storm at Meydan. We are looking to him to run a big race.”

Siskany is weighted to carry 59.5kg (9st 5lb), receiving 2.5kg from Ebor winner Sonnyboyliston (62kg).

Appleby’s remaining runner at the meeting is Naval Crown in the 1351 Turf Sprint presented by stc, in which the four-year-old attempts to emulate former stablemate Space Blues, who won the race last year to begin a stellar season that culminated in Breeders’ Cup Mile triumph at Del Mar.

Naval Crown established his credentials in his Classic year with a fighting fourth in the Group 1 2000 Guineas at Newmarket and second in the Group 2 Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot. He comes to Saudi following a fine win in the Group 2 Al Fahidi Fort at Meydan last month.

Appleby said: “We deliberately finished his season early last year to get ready for this. He was a model of consistency as a three-year-old and he has come back in great form. It was a nice performance to win the Al Fahidi Fort and he has come forward for that run.

“We are hoping he can follow on from some of the good sprinter/seven-furlong horses we have had by winning the 1351 Turf Sprint.”

Appleby praised The Saudi Cup meeting, which he believes has made an immediate impact globally.

“For a relatively new meeting to have attracted such high-quality runners in its infancy is impressive,” he said. “This is only year three, yet The Saudi Cup meeting has already established itself as one of the world’s best and earned its slot in the international racing calendar.”

Photo Credit: Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia / Neville Hopwood

Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia Press Release

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