Aqabah tests Ascot claims
Charlie Appleby is looking forward to seeing Aqabah test his powers at a higher level in the Cold Move Irish EBF Marble Hill Stakes at the Curragh on Saturday.
The American-bred colt made a flying start to his career when gaining a narrow victory over five furlongs at Ascot a fortnight ago and he steps up in distance and class for this Listed contest.
Appleby's string have been firing on all cylinders in recent weeks and the Godolphin trainer is hopeful Aqabah can prove himself Royal Ascot material with a bold show in Ireland.
He said: "He made a winning start for us at Ascot and all the evidence of that run suggested a step up to six furlongs would suit him.
"He came out of that run well, so we're looking forward to testing the waters over the longer trip and in a higher grade.
"We'll take a view after this as to whether he's a horse for the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot or not."
Appleby has a second string to his bow in the form of Gold Town.
The son of Street Cry made a winning debut at Newbury last month, but was a disappointing odds-on favourite on his latest appearance on the all-weather at Newcastle.
"He was good at Newbury over five (furlongs) and he's another horse we felt would be suited by stepping up to six furlongs," Appleby added.
"He disappointed at Newcastle, but we've had a few horses who haven't translated their form there and his homework since has been very good.
"If he carries his homework through to the race, he won't look out of place."
Aidan O'Brien won the Marble Hill for a 10th time with Caravaggio 12 months ago and has three representatives this time around.
Ryan Moore partners last week's Cork winner Sioux Nation instead of Mount Wellington (Donnacha O'Brien) and U S Navy Flag (Seamie Heffernan).
Jessica Harrington's impressive Leopardstown winner Brother Bear and the Ger Lyons-trained Would Be King make up the seven-strong field.