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Tuesday, 22 January, 2019

Appleby's attempt at world domination continues apace with one-two

Old Persian and James Doyle (white cap) edge out stablemate Cross Country (William Buick) in the Great Voltigeur
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What has already been a fantastic year for Charlie Appleby and Godolphin remains on course to reach a potentially spectacular denouement, as the trainer sent out a one-two in the Great Voltigeur, with Old Persian defeating favourite Cross Counter.

The pair will not be crossing swords again when next seen, with Group 1 targets on opposite sides of the world on their agendas.

For Old Persian it will be the final British Classic, the William Hill St Leger, whereas Cross Counter will be jetting off to Australia with stablemateHamada to try to land the Lexus Melbourne Cup.

Watch the Great Voltigeur replay, with full result and analysis

"The result couldn't have worked out any better," Appleby said. "I know the betting didn't suggest that, but we've got one horse who will head to the St Leger, and the second horse will do what he was always expected to do – go to Melbourne for the Cup."

Before the race Appleby had told punters to dismiss Old Persian's latest effort when sixth in the Irish Derby – feeling not only did the race come quickly enough after his Royal Ascot win in the King Edward VII eight days earlier, but also that the tactics employed at the Curragh did not work.

"The race didn't pan out as I expected," the trainer added. "My instructions to William [Buick] then were to take him back and ride to finish the race. Unfortunately the pace slowed up on the front end and we were in the wrong position.

"He's had a nice little break and coming into today we were confident."

James Doyle gives Old Persian an appreciative pat after their Voltigeur success
There were no such problems this time, with James Doyle sitting in second behind Nelson and then hanging tough in front to fend off Cross Counter and William Buick's challenge by a head.

Bookmakers reacted by making Old Persian a general 7-1 shot for the St Leger behind Kew Gardens, who finished third for Aidan O'Brien. 

Kew Gardens stayed on in the manner of one who should appreciate another two furlongs at Doncaster and was trimmed to as short as 5-2 for the St Leger (from 3-1).

The final Classic remains the target for fourth-placed Wells Farrh Go, and trainer Tim Easterby said: "I was very happy with that. He wants a mile and six or two miles and soft ground. On this quicker ground, a mile and a half was too short for him.

Charlie Appleby contemplates his Voltigeur one-two
"He was just climbing a little when he needed to quicken up and he couldn't do it. There is also a mile and seven three-year-old race at Longchamp in October for him." 

Turning his attention from Doncaster to Flemington, Appleby said of Cross Counter: "I came here after Goodwood rather than going to Australia because I didn't want to take a three-year-old there, give him a prep run, then go into a Melbourne Cup.

"I thought it'd be easier to get a run into him here and try to get his weight up here then run him off the plane as a fresher horse."

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The result couldn't have worked out any better
E.W. Terms
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