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Appleby factor key for Dubhe in Sydney Cup

Charlie Appleby.
Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby prepares Dubhe, the early favourite to win the Sydney Cup.

Sydney Cup favourite Dubhe has many things working in his favour ahead of Saturday’s race, among them trainer Charlie Appleby.

Star jockey Kerrin McEvoy took to the track at Canterbury on Wednesday morning for his first turn on the Godolphin four-year-old, trained by the Melbourne Cup-winning Appleby, ahead of Saturday’s Group One $2 million race.

“He just looks very genuine, I think he stays really well and he’s got a turn of foot so that can take you a long way in a Sydney Cup,” McEvoy said following the gallop.

“He’s in with a nice weight on his back (52.5kg), I was pretty pleased with the barrier and I think the Charlie Appleby factor comes into play as well.

“Charlie’s really pinpointed what’s required in travelling horses and what’s required in terms of which horses to bring out here, it gives you confidence when you’re riding.”

Appleby previously won the Sydney Cup in 2017 with Polarisation and claimed last year’s Melbourne Cup with Cross Counter.

Dubhe leads the field of 20 horses, plus one emergency, at $3.30, despite having only seven runs under his belt.

But McEvoy isn’t worried about the lack of experience.

“These horses have travelled, they’ve been around the block,” he said.

“Even though they’re only lightly raced they ride like they’ve had 30 or 40 runs under their belt,” he said.

“(It’s) an old head on young shoulders, which is what I said about Cross Counter as well.

“I’m not saying this horse is in the same league as Cross Counter, but he’s a horse that’s on the improve and who knows where he’ll end up.”

McEvoy and Appleby are yet to talk tactics ahead of the 3200m race with all options open at this stage after the gelding drew barrier four.

“(The barrier draw) gives us options to be forward, middle or back, depending on the way the race is unfolding,” McEvoy said.

“It’s nice to know that he’s able to begin sharply from the stalls and has the option to take up a forward spot.”

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