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Appleby lining up dual assault on Saudi Derby

Charlie Appleby feels Noble Truth and Sovereign Prince will have no trouble adapting to a dirt surface in the Group Three Saudi Derby in Riyadh on Saturday week.

The pair have worked well on a similar track and the Godolphin trainer expects them to do themselves justice in the Grade Three contest over a mile.

He said: “Sure, they have never raced on dirt before but judging by what we have seen in their gallops at home, they will have no problems handling it.

“They have been training on the Marmoom track in Dubai, which has a surface very similar to what they will experience in Saudi. I’m very happy the way they have been training on it.”

Noble Truth has not run since finishing fourth in the Horris Hill Stakes at Newbury in October after his fine effort when second in the Jean-Luc Lagardere at Longchamp earlier that month.

“He was slightly disappointing in the Horris Hill on very soft ground, but he put up such a great performance in the Lagardere (on heavy), it took the edge off him for Newbury,” said Appleby.

“He was sent to Dubai in November purposely to be aimed at the Saudi Derby, and if he brings his best two-year-old form to the race, he’ll be a very live contender. He’s adapted well since embarking on a more American-style training programme in Dubai since travelling over.”

Sovereign Prince heads to Saudi Arabia off the back of a win in the Jumeirah Classic at Meydan, over a mile on turf earlier this month.

He broke his maiden at the fifth time of asking in an Epsom nursery in September but has since made marked progress, enough to convince Appleby to supplement him for the Saudi Derby.

“He has earned his stripes following two creditable performances at Meydan. He’s a typical Dubawi in strengthening and moving forward at a rate of knots as he gets more mature. He’s had plenty of racing experience in the UK and Dubai,” said Appleby.

Appleby expects to saddle four Godolphin runners at the Saudi Cup meeting, with Siskany tackling the Longines Red Sea Turf Handicap and Naval Crown in the Turf Sprint.

Siskany has won five of his 10 starts and was impressive in beating Alignak by five and a half lengths in a Listed race at Meydan last month.

“Siskany was a progressive middle-distance handicapper, who showed marked improvement at 2,800m. We are hoping that in stepping up to extreme trips, he can take it to another level,” said Appleby.

Siskany is heading for the Red Sea Handicap in Riyadh
Siskany is heading for the Red Sea Handicap in Riyadh (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

“He has come out of his last race really well, and the second and third have franked the form by being placed subsequently behind Global Storm at Meydan. We are looking to him to run a big race.”

Naval Crown will bid to give his trainer back-to-back victories in Turf Sprint after Space Blues 12 months ago.

The Dubawi colt made a successful reappearance in the Group Two Al Fahidi Fort at Meydan last month on his first start since finishing second in the Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot.

“We deliberately finished his season early last year to get ready for this,” said Appleby.

“He was a model of consistency as a three-year-old and he has come back in great form. It was a nice performance to win the Al Fahidi Fort and he has come forward for that run.”

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