Caulfield Cup runner-up Scottish could cap English trainer Charlie Appleby’s first Melbourne spring carnival assault when he lines up in the $2 million Group One Emirates Stakes at Flemington.
Although his two runners came up short in Tuesday’s Melbourne Cup, Appleby says his team’s performances in their first foray to a Melbourne spring carnival has exceeded expectations.
Scottish finished second in the Caulfield Cup last month while Qewy won the Geelong Cup, Francis Of Assisi won the Bendigo Cup and Oceanographer won the Lexus Stakes after finishing third at Geelong.
Qewy finished a game fourth in the Melbourne Cup while Oceanographer did not back up as well as hoped and finished 12th, three days after winning the Lexus.
Appleby trains for Sheikh Mohammed’s Godolphin operation which had five runners between three stables in the Melbourne Cup with the John O’Shea-trained Hartnell’s third the best of the quintet.
“We know what type of horse we need now so it’s been a great learning experience for us all,” Appleby said.
“We’ve got Scottish and Francis Of Assisi to run on Saturday. Whatever we pick up there, it’s just been a great experience and I’m looking forward to coming back next year.
“The Melbourne Cup is a race we’ve still got to win. But for myself, it was my first shout at it.
“To finish fourth, I was delighted, and we’ve learned a huge amount coming down here and I feel the team have done themselves credit in what we’ve done. What we’ve achieved so far is more than what we expected.
“So I’m really looking forward to the next challenge of coming back down here again.”
After Scottish finished second in the Caulfield Cup the team pinpointed the Emirates Stakes over 2000 metres as the right race for him rather than stepping up to 3200m in the Melbourne Cup.
“Scottish is in great nick. I’m delighted with him. He couldn’t be any better and dropping back in trip will suit him,” Appleby said.
“It should suit his run style ridden positively over the mile and a quarter.”
Francis Of Assisi runs in Saturday’s Group Three $300,000 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2500m) and like Scottish will be ridden by Godolphin’s retained rider in England, William Buick.
“He’s come out of his race very well,” Appleby said.
“Hopefully we have a couple of shots that we can pinch one more race before we leave here. It would be icing on the cake.”