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Breeders’ Cup: Modern Games heads Charlie Appleby team for Keeneland tilt next month

Adayar may be highly unlikely to board the plane to Keeneland, but Charlie
Appleby still has plenty of aces at his disposal as he puts the finishing
touches to his Breeders’ Cup plans.

Appleby holds an enviable record at the end-of-season showpiece, winning six Breeders’ Cup races from just 11 runners, and he has some proven travellers bidding to enhance that record this time around.

Leading the charge is last year’s Juvenile Turf winner Modern Games, who has secured Classic honours this season and is reported to have bounced out of his British Champions Day assignment when second in the QEII.

Image:
William Buick riding Modern Games to victory in the Grade One Woodbine Mile

“Modern Games has come out of the race in great form – tough as teak he is,” said Appleby.

“He put up one hell of a performance on ground that was right against him. William (Buick) said right from the get-go he was up against it, but he’s brave as a lion and will head to Keeneland.”

The Godolphin handler landed the Breeders’ Cup Turf with Yibir 12 months ago and although he is siding against asking his Derby hero Adayar to line up in Lexington, in Rebel’s Romance and Nations Pride he has two horses who have already been and done it on the international stage this term.

Nations Pride and Frankie Dettori stretch away from their rivals in the Jockey Club Derby Invitational Stakes
Image:
Nations Pride and Frankie Dettori stretch away from their rivals in the Jockey Club Derby Invitational Stakes

And he believes identifying the right characteristics in a horse is crucial when selecting who from his vast stable of talent should be tasked with overseas ventures.

He continued: “You’ve got to know your horses and know their characteristics and how they will be travelling and adapting to a different style of training over there.

“We’ve had a few who haven’t done it, like Master Of The Seas and Albahr last year, but thankfully a lot of the horses we’ve chosen in the past have been able to adapt to the change of scenery and training.

“The two-year-olds will be the ones with the question marks, but the two we are intending to take over in Mischief Magic and Silver Knott have plenty of experience under their belt now.

“You’ve got to go over there with race nous and the two things they both do is jump and travel well. I’m a big believer in you have to be able to do that, you don’t want to be behind the eight ball in America because it becomes hard work for you.”

Also entering the equation for Kentucky is Creative Force, who was a gallant third in defence of his British Champions Sprint crown at Ascot.

Creative Force wins the Champions Sprint at Ascot under William Buick
Image:
Creative Force wins the Champions Sprint at Ascot under William Buick

The son of Dubawi has run only three times this season and could take his place in the Turf Sprint. “Creative Force is a possible,” said Appleby.

“He has low mileage this year and as we know, at this time of year the ground can be a bit on the slower side so fingers crossed.

“I was delighted with him (at Ascot), he was just unfortunate they raced in two different groups and he got caught on the wing and perhaps over-raced if anything. William felt he would have been better with a bit of cover.”



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