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Charlie Appleby has strong team primed for Royal Ascot

8 Jun 2019

Newmarket trainer's team will include Champions Series stars Blue Point, Barney Roy and Masar .

Masar wins the Investec Derby

Masar and Buick power home in the Investec Derby. Picture: Racingfotos.com

Melbourne Cup hero Cross Counter is on course to clash with Stradivarius in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot – a race that forms part of the Long Distance category of the QIPCO British Champions Series.

The Charlie Appleby-trained four-year-old followed up his victory in Australia in the Group 1 Dubai Gold Cup at Meydan in March.

Appleby supervised his Teofilo gelding in work on Saturday morning, and said: “I was pleased with that. His preparation has gone well, and the plan is to head to the Ascot Gold Cup.

“It’s going to be a step up in trip, but on the evidence of what we saw on his last start there is no reason why it shouldn’t suit – and potentially see a bit more improvement to come.”

Appleby confirmed Blue Point is on course for another clash with Battaash in the King’s Stand Stakes.

“If Battaash and Blue Point both turn up with their A game, it will be a great race,” Appleby said. “I know Battaash has taken over as favourite – and justifiably so after his reappearance – but I’m not afraid of taking him on again.

“It would be great to win back-to-back King’s Stands. He was flawless in Dubai winning his three starts, with the highlight the Al Quoz. His preparation is going well and we are looking forward to going back to Ascot.”

Another big runner on day one of the meeting for Appleby and Godolphin will be Barney Roy in the Queen Anne Stakes.

Formerly a high-class performer for Richard Hannon, a spell at stud was unsuccessful and he returned to training with Appleby.

After a promising comeback at Ascot, he ran out an impressive winner of a Listed race at ParisLongchamp last time out.

Appleby said: “I was delighted with his first start at Ascot when he finished second. He was entitled to go forward and he went to Longchamp and won cosily.

“He came out of the race in good order and we are looking forward to the Queen Anne.”

Appleby will make a decision next week on target for Masar after he stepped up his preparations with a racecourse gallop at Newmarket.

Masar has not run since his Investec Derby heroics but looked in fine shape on Newmarket’s July Course under Brett Doyle on Saturday morning, going seven furlongs in company with the James Doyle-ridden Secret Advisor.

Appleby said: “He has done plenty of conditioning work, and this was the first time he has been asked the question. He galloped out well there.

“Physically he has done great. He is a man now and he looks great. He has done everything asked of him, and today was the acid test.

“He has been off the track more than a year, and that just puts him right. He is in the Hardwicke as well as the Prince of Wales’s, and the question will be answered next week – firstly how he comes out of this, and then his next bit of work on Wednesday.

“That piece of work will be the deciding factor – whether we head for the Prince of Wales’s or the Hardwicke. As a mile-and-a-half Classic winner dropping back to a mile and a quarter is always good for the page and as we saw in the Craven, he doesn’t lack pace.”

Stable jockey William Buick remains on the sidelines, so Doyle will deputise.