Charlie Appleby was appointed as a trainer for Godolphin – the global thoroughbred operation founded by the Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, in 1992 – in controversial circumstances in 2013. In April that year, his former boss at Moulton Paddocks in Newmarket, Mahmood Al Zarooni, was banned from racing for eight years after admitting administering anabolic steroids to 11 horses in his care and Appleby was asked to fill the breach on a temporary basis. Sheikh Mohammed said of Al Zarooni, “I was shocked. They gave him eight years; I gave him lifetime. Finished.”
Appleby had previously worked for Godolphin for 15 years, as head lad and assistant trainer, first to Saeed bin Suroor and then to Mahmood Al Zarooni. He saddled his first winner as a trainer, Expressly, in a maiden fillies’ stakes race at Ascot less than a week after being granted a training licence by the British Horseracing Authority (BHA). Three days later, he saddled his first Group winner, Cap O’Rushes, in the Gordon Stakes at Goodwood and, in November, 2013, achieved the biggest win of his career when Outstrip won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Santa Anita Park, California.
The following season, 2014, he saddled his first domestic Group 1 winner, Charming Thought, in the Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket. He also trained over 100 winners and earned over £1 million in total prize money for the first time. In 2015, Appleby celebrated his first Royal Ascot winner, Space Age, in the King V Stakes and trained over 150 winners and earned over £2 million in total prize money for the first time.
In 2016, Appleby saddled just 70 winners, but they included Tryster in the Jebel Hatta at Meydan, Hawkbill in the Coral-Eclipse Stakes at Sandown and Wuheida in the Prix Marcel Boussac at Chantilly – all Group 1 victories – not to mention a host of other high-profile successes, including the Lincoln at Doncaster, the Victoria Cup at Ascot and the Northumberland Plate at Newcastle. In 2017, Wuheida added to her winning tally in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf at Del Mar, California, collecting the best part of £900,000 in prize money in the process.
More recently, Appleby has been making hay at his Marmoom Stables in Dubai, where he spends the British winter, winning 10 valuable handicap, Listed and Pattern races, each worth £60,000, or more, at Meydan in the first quarter of 2018. He’s also started well domestically, with 11 winners from 32 runners, at a strike rate of 34%, so far.