Charlie Appleby: Line Of Duty looks ideal type to emulate Derby hero Masar
Line Of Duty will revel in the helter-skelter conditions of the Investec Derby next month according to his trainer Charlie Appleby, who is chasing a second successive win in the Epsom Classic.
While the hit BBC drama of the same name kept its viewers captivated, apart from Appleby, who confessed to not watching the most popular series of 2019, Line Of Duty the horse is liable to get bored in his races.
As such, Appleby opted to miss the 2,000 Guineas with Line Of Duty and said: “We made the decision not to go for the Guineas as he’s the sort of horse who just gets bored and I think a turning track will keep him interested. He loves the hustle and bustle and is terrier-like; he loves a scrap and he showed that in America.”
Appleby sent out Masar to land last year’s Derby for Godolphin – a victory he defines as the high point of his career – and he feels the two horses have some similarities having both been leading juveniles and run in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, where Line Of Duty bettered Masar’s performance when winning at Churchill Downs.
Line Of Duty will trial for the Derby in next week’s Group 2 Al Basti Equiworld Dante at York, and Appleby said: “Masar and Line Of Duty have a similar profile in their two-year-old careers and in fact Line Of Duty came up with a better record than Masar, albeit Masar was unlucky at Del Mar.
"You want a horse with experience coming into the Derby and we feel Line Of Duty has that and we’re very pleased with him."
Line Of Duty is 16-1 for the Derby in a market topped at 9-2 by last year’s unbeaten two-year-old star Too Darn Hot, who missed the 2,000 Guineas due to a splint and is too set to go instead for the Dante next Thursday.
“We’ll go for the Dante with him and we’re looking forward to it,” Appleby added. “If he turns up in the race healthy and in good shape then I think he’ll give it a really good go.”
Line Of Duty is by Galileo, the leading Coolmore stallion, and Appleby said the change in approach by Sheikh Mohammed at the sales in embracing stock by Coolmore stallions has opened up new avenues and experiences.
Asked if winning the Derby with a son of Galileo would feel strange, Appleby said: “It wouldn’t be strange for me! They’re professional horses and you wouldn’t want to under work one, they like to graft. And like Dubawis they like a fight and don’t lie down.”
Appleby added that Masar, who has not raced since the Derby due to a soft-tissue injury, is being aimed at Royal Ascot where he could run in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes or Hardwicke Stakes. If he did not make it to Ascot, the Princess of Wales’s Stakes at the Newmarket July festival would be the likely starting point for the four-year-old.
“He’s doing everything asked of him,” Appleby said. “Sheikh Mohammed was here last week looking at him and if he comes for Royal Ascot then that’s great. It would be lovely to get him back for that but there’s no point taking him there if he’s only 75 per cent.”
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