October 15, 2021

Hurricane Lane provides yet more glory for Charlie Appleby

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As the final race of the British Classics series each year, the St Leger Stakes offers a chance to head towards the end of the flat racing season with a winning feeling. And in this campaign where Charlie Appleby has stepped to the fore as one of the sport’s leading trainers, it seemed fitting that he claimed another winner over the mile and six furlongs at Doncaster.

Hurricane Lane was the horse who delivered the victory for Appleby and jockey William Buick, which was not much of a surprise really since the three-year-old set off as the 8/11 pre-race favourite with Betdaq. Owned by Godolphin, the colt has been one to watch since bursting onto the scene with a win at Newmarket last October, losing just once in six races in the intervening 11 months. 

Appleby has had a fine season, with victory in the Derby making it two Classic triumphs this season alone. Adayar is the horse that delivered that success, and the three-year-old followed it up with victory in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot, another big win for Appleby. Combine that with Hurricane Lane’s win in the Irish Derby at the Curragh in June, and things have been pretty sweet this season for the trainer.  

This latest win will have been particularly enjoyable for Appleby. The Classics are the races that every jockey, trainer and owner want to win each year, and to get two in one season is a magnificent feat. With Aidan O’Brien having established himself as the leading trainer in flat racing, there is a need for others to step up and challenge his dominance. Appleby looks just as likely as anyone to do that. 

Hurricane Lane’s win in the St Leger proved just how much hard work Appleby and the rest of the horse’s connections have put in over the past several months. It was a storming performance by the three-year-old, pulling clear at the vital moment to leave Mojo Star and The Mediterranean trailing in his wake. It was a champion’s display, and no-one could argue that the pre-race favourite was more than deserving of his title. 

The good form of Hurricane Lane has brought more success for Appleby following the similarly dominant displays of Adayar in his two major victories this season. Appleby’s most significant wins have come with the three-year-old, and there is still one huge prize shimmering on the horizon — the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe which takes place at the start of October. Both Adayar and Hurricane Lane are set to take part in the Longchamp race, and another victory would really cap off an exceptional year for Appleby. 

For now, the trainer can content himself with Hurricane Lane’s fine display in the St Leger. “It was a fantastic performance,” Appleby said. “You couldn’t have been more comfortable watching it all the way round [and] the Derby form was franked as well, with Mojo Star [the runner-up at Epsom] running a great race. The Arc is on everybody’s mind. I see no reason why we wouldn’t potentially turn up.”

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