Appleby confident first runners since 2013 triumph can star at Del Mar
Charlie Appleby is not a man who throws the kitchen sink at the Breeders' Cup. Since Outstrip's Juvenile Turf victory in 2013, his rookie season as a trainer, Appleby has not been back to the $28 million World Championships, a fact that adds plenty of credence to his bullish statement that his brace of runners are not here for the surf and the sun.
Both will face a battalion of European rivals in fiercely competitive races, but Appleby is confident that he has brought the right horses to defend his perfect record at the meeting.
"It's my second Breeders' Cup," he said. "I'd like to be more regular but as I said from the start I intend to come over here for live shots, not just to come see these venues.
"I feel we've brought the right team – I wouldn't waste my time and everyone's else time and efforts just to see the scenes. We're here to hopefully be very competitive."
If that is to happen with the highly regarded Wuheida, 12-1 for the Filly & Mare Turf, it will require a change of luck, for her three-year-old season has been punctuated with setbacks.
After a two-year-old season capped by victory in the Prix Marcel Boussac she was a leading contender for the 1,000 Guineas and Oaks, but a leg-injury ruled her out both Classics.
After placing third in the German Oaks in August Wuheida claimed fourth in both the Matron Stakes and the Prix de l'Opera on Arc day, but a planned run in the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II at Keeneland a fortnight ago was also scuppered by a setback.
"She had a corn up there in Keeneland so unfortunately we missed the Queen Elizabeth but the guys did a great job up there, she's been training away and shipped down here on the 25th. She's travelled well and looks great, the team have done a good job.
"She's quite fresh. She's just had those four starts from the summer onwards and brings a great level of form, obviously the way the form has worked out on Champions Day with the filly [Matron winner Hydrangea] coming out and winning.
"It's just rock solid form, so if she can reproduce her form from Arc day or from the Matron it's going to put her bang there."
Masar travelled over following a third-placed finish behind Happily in the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere and is 7-1 to follow-up Appleby's 2013 win in the Juvenile Turf.
"I was fortunate to have Outstrip a few years ago at Santa Anita and for me Masar has a similar sort of profile to him," he said.
"He's run over the trip and finished third in the Lagardere. I think he's got tactical speed. If anything we probably got racing too far out but back here on a sound surface he's got a great chance."
Another win in the Juvenile Turf would cap a sterling year for Appleby's two-year-olds, who have notched 48 wins from 130 starts in 2017, a strike-rate of 37 per cent.
"For myself and the Moulton Paddocks team it's been a great year," Appleby said. "The two-year-olds have really come to the fore.
"It's been a fantastic season and numerically I'm nearly 30 winners ahead of last year. Hopefully we have what we feel is our strongest team of two-year-olds going into the winter for next season."
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