Feature Story

Romance set for American campaign as Appleby assembles strong us team 

Romance set for American campaign as Appleby assembles strong us team  Apr 17, 2024

By Sam Turner - 

Longines Dubai Sheema Classic winner Rebel’s Romance will spearhead a powerful Godolphin satellite yard which will set its sights on some of America’s biggest prizes this summer.

Newmarket handler Charlie Appleby plans to assemble a team of between 10 and 12 horses based in Saratoga for much of the year, with the group set to be aimed at a number of major races stateside ahead of the Breeders’ Cup meeting at Del Mar in November.

The Godolphin handler has enjoyed numerous successes on his raiding missions to the States in recent seasons outside of the Breeders’ Cup meeting, and believes it makes sense for those horses that will have campaigns in America to be stabled there.

Appleby said: “We have got 10 or 12 horses out there. They are in Keeneland at the moment. We then hope to have three runners on Kentucky Derby day, then Nations Pride will run the following week at Aqueduct, and then the whole team will ship down to Saratoga.

“To a level, when you are getting up to numbers of 12 horses, it is becoming a little bit of a satellite yard. It is something we have been doing over the years with a bit of success so it makes sense to do this. The racing suits us, and it suits some of those horses that have run in Dubai.

“If you have got the right horses you would like to do this for seasons to come.”


Heading the talented group that will fly the flag for Appleby in America is Longines Dubai Sheema Classic winner Rebel’s Romance and Master Of The Seas, who secured his third Grade One success when making a winning return in the Maker’s Mark Mile Stakes at Keeneland earlier this month.

He added: “Master Of The Seas and Rebel’s Romance have been rock solid to us. Master Of The Seas winning last weekend was great, and he will carry on campaigning during the summer in America.

“Rebel’s Romance winning in Qatar and Dubai was great, but again you are talking about two six-year-olds, and this year is likely to be their last in training.

“Rebel’s Romance might go to Hong Kong next month. If he doesn’t go there he will head to the Sword Dancer at Saratoga to get his pitch back in the Breeders’ Cup Turf.

“It would be nice to have Master Of The Seas and Rebel’s Romance, who have been past winners at the Breeders' Cup, turn up again. Master Of The Seas will go to a race called the Fourstardave, which is a Group One handicap in Saratoga.

"He could then potentially look at the Coolmore Turf Mile, which he just got touched off in last year and then go on to the Breeders’ Cup.”


While Appleby enjoyed plenty of success abroad last year it proved to be a frustrating campaign domestically. However, he believes he has a much better team at his disposal ahead of the 2024 turf season ramping up a gear.

Appleby said: “Realistically, we are coming into this season with a better momentum to start off with. We have gone through the Dubai season, and we managed to have a winner on Dubai World Cup night, which we hadn’t done for a couple of years. We have also campaigned a bit more on the all-weather than we had done the previous winter.

“There is more momentum in the yard first, and foremost, but secondly we are starting off with some proven two-year-olds. Last year, Silver Knott was our talking horse and that said it all really.

“It is not frustrating. You just have to keep confidence in yourself, and the team, and don’t change the formula as we know it works.

"You just have to wait for the right horses to come through. Football managers know how to manage a team, but until those players come through that can actually do what the manager asks them to do then it doesn’t work.

“This year we feel we have a better division of two-year-olds. We have sharper two-year-olds, but more importantly we have some nice three-year-olds. The older horse section is a division I have got to build up now.”