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Wednesday, 21 November, 2018

Scottish out but Assisi set to continue Appleby's adventure

Francis Of Assisi (left) and Scottish working at Werribee this week
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Flemington, Saturday
Scottish has been ruled out of Saturday's Group 1 Emirates Stakes at Flemington less than 24 hours before the race after he was found to have injured his near-fore fetlock.

The four-year-old had been due to be partnered by William Buick, who will still ride stablemate Francis Of Assisi in the Group 3 Queen Elizabeth Stakes.

Both Buick and trainer Charlie Appleby had been hopeful of a bold showing from the Caulfield Cup runner-up but insisted the setback should not impact on his prospects for a 2017 campaign.

"It's disappointing but we'll get him back to Dubai for the winter and go again with him next year," said Appleby, who hopes the gelding will be back in Melbourne for next year's spring carnival."

Despite the disappointment, Charlie Appleby says his Melbourne spring carnival adventure has been "amazing" and he could still go out with a bang with Francis Of Assisi set to contest Saturday's Group 3 Queen Elizabeth Stakes.

"Francis Of Assisi has come out of his Bendigo Cup win in good order," said Appleby. "We thought he might be very competitive because he's been leading all the work at Werribee, so we knew he was fit and galloping well, but the manner of the victory surprised us."

A previous Newmarket raider in the Bendigo Cup, the Luca Cumani-trained Sahara Sun, did subsequently contest the Melbourne Cup, but Francis Of Assisi instead tackles this 1m5f event off a longer break. 

Meanwhile, Qewy looks set to contest the Group 2 Zipping Classic at Sandown Hillside on Saturday week, but Appleby admits thoughts have already turned to assembling a team for next year's spring carnival, with The Championships in Sydney in April also on the radar.

"It's been an amazing trip," he said. "Originally, Scottish was bought to come down here for this job, with the others were put on the plane to get a feel for the mile-and-a-half-plus races. They both ran way above expectations and for the pair of them to run themselves into the Melbourne Cup was fantastic.

"For Qewy to then run the way he did, putting up a career-best, was great. The team here, led by James Ferguson, have done a fantastic job and it's certainly enticed us to make our way back.

"We'll also look at the Sydney Cup with Qewy and maybe find a few others. When you send a team of horses, you get a good feel for things and having the five horses here, it's been like a mini-yard running itself." 

Appleby added: "The Melbourne Cup is the one race His Highness Sheikh Mohammed still wants to get and he's very keen to come back next year with an even stronger team because, on paper, Qewy and Oceanographer were not the strongest we could have sent but they did so well."

The team here have done a fantastic job and it's certainly enticed us to make our way back over again
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