Final-day drama doesn't stop Mick Appleby as trainer is crowned all-weather champion for eighth time

Mick Appleby: ready to carry good all-weather form into the turf season
Mick Appleby: crowned champion all-weather trainerCredit: Edward Whitaker

Mick Appleby was delighted for his hard-working staff after being crowned all-weather champion trainer for the eighth time on Good Friday, although last-day drama ensured the race went down to the wire.

Appleby (43 winners) was just one ahead of Tony Carroll (42) and four clear of Charlie Johnston (39) going into the final day, but all three failed to register a winner at Newcastle, Lingfield and Chelmsford.

Appleby had 12 runners across the three tracks and went close with Penzance, who finished second in the Easter Classic at Newcastle, and Intervention, who was beaten just a head in the Vase Sprint Handicap at Lingfield.

Carroll, who was at Lingfield, made sure it was a long afternoon by saddling three runners across the last two races at the Surrey track, but the best any of his representatives could muster was fourth.

Appleby said: "I didn’t think we were going to win it this year as it was getting a bit tight at the end, but it’s great for the staff who have worked hard all winter.

"We had 12 runners around the country on the day and were unlucky not to have a winner. A few ran well, including Penzance at Newcastle. We're still without a winner on finals day itself, but perhaps we can do it next year.”

Rossa Ryan was also out of luck on finals day as he partnered two seconds on Misty Grey and Kingdom Come, but it did not matter as he was crowned all-weather champion jockey with 85 winners. 

The 23-year-old rider was well clear of the rest following a strong winter, including Kingdom Come's Lincoln trial victory at Wolverhampton, with Billy Loughnane finishing second on 59 winners. It was enough for Loughnane to claim his second all-weather champion apprentice title, an achievement that sees him join George Rooke (2020, 2022) as the only two-time winner.

Rossa Ryan will not be attached to Amo this year, but remains in fine form
Rossa Ryan: crowned champion all-weather riderCredit: Pool (Getty Images)

Ryan said: “It has been hectic, but we've got it over the line thankfully. Billy managed to get a march on us but, by Christmas, we had started to peg him back. January was a make-or-break month and things kept rolling after that. The £10,000 prize will do, just don’t let the missus know!”

Godolphin were crowned all-weather champion owner for the 10th consecutive season, with Military Order's Group 3 Winter Derby at Southwell among the highlights.

Hugh Anderson, Godolphin managing director, said: “The all-weather season is an incredibly important feature of the racing calendar for older horses, plus as a springboard for younger horses to go on to greater success later in the season.

“As ever, winning the championship has been a huge team effort from the trainers, jockeys and everyone working in the racing yards."

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David MilnesNewmarket correspondent

Published on 30 March 2024inBritain

Last updated 16:00, 30 March 2024