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Appleby team after more Australian success

A successful first foray into Australian racing during last year’s spring carnival in Victoria netted five feature wins for English trainer Charlie Appleby.

The Godolphin trainer has sent another three horses to the southern hemisphere for autumn carnival targets and stayer Gold Trail will be the first of the trio to step out in Saturday’s $300,000 Mornington Cup (2400m) in Victoria.

Polarisation and Penglai Pavilion are being aimed at the $2 million Sydney Cup (3200m) on April 8.

Gold Trail, who will race as The Gold Trail in Australia, will be trying to book a Caulfield Cup ticket with the Mornington Cup winner earning an automatic start in the Group One race in October.

“Ideally we’d like to win it, give him an easy time and then bring him back for the spring,” Appleby’s assistant James Ferguson said.

“The good thing about him is we know he gets the distance, we know he’s in good form, that run in Dubai was very impressive last time and he’s only improved with age.

“Mentally he’s improved as well and I think he’s in a very good place.

“We had such a good time at the spring carnival last year and we hope to bring a few more down this time. And if he’s just another contender that we can bring down we’ll be grateful.”

Scottish was Appleby’s first Australian starter last spring when he finished second in the Caulfield Cup.

The trainer’s runners later netted wins in the Geelong Cup (Qewy), Bendigo Cup (Francis Of Assisi), Sandown Cup (Qewy), Lexus Stakes (Oceanographer) and Queen Elizabeth Stakes (Francis Of Assisi).

Six-year-old Gold Trail has seven wins from 20 starts including victories at his past two starts, over 2414m at Doncaster in September and a one-length win in a 2414m Rating 113 race at Meydan in Dubai on January 26.

Ferguson, who is overseeing the three horses’ preparations at the quarantine centre at Sydney’s Canterbury Racecourse, said Gold Trail had settled in well ahead of his trip to Melbourne later this week.

“He’s in good form,” Ferguson said.

“It’s a bit of a trip over but because we only came from Dubai it made life easier for him.

“He’s settled in really well. He appreciates the grass here but it has got quite soft here so we’ve had to take it easy recently.

“But he came to me fit because of that run in Dubai.

“So it’s not like I’m worried that we’ve had to take it easy on him because he came race-fit and we’ve only been ticking over.”

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