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ELMONT, NY – European-based trainer Charlie Appleby has a strong quartet – Althiqa, Summer Romance, Secret Protector, and Creative Flair – with sights set on attacking some of the New York turf scene’s biggest Grade 1 events this summer.
Althiqa and Summer Romance completed the exacta in the 1-mile Just a Game Stakes (G1) on June 5 at Belmont Park and remained in America to target July 17’s 1 1/8-mile Diana Stakes at Saratoga.
“Althiqa came from behind and the other was in front, and Althiqa is a pure miler,” traveling assistant Sophie Chretien told NYRA’s media department. “Maybe Summer was a bit too fresh, but that’s racing. Longer might be better for Summer.”
Althiqa worked 4 furlongs in :48.66 and Summer Romance in :49.45 over the weekend.
“They went solo yesterday just to get back on the grass and give them a little blowout,” said Chretien. “They both went very well and they’re very happy.”
Appleby Barn Aces Just a Game with Althiqa, Summer Romance
Secret Protector and Creative Flair arrive next weekend in advance of their intended on July 10, the Belmont Derby and the Belmont Oaks. Each is a 1 1/4-mile trek that kicks off the Turf Triple series.
A son of top American turf sire War Front, Secret Protector was most recently third (missing second by a head) in the 1 1/4-mile Hampton Court Stakes (G3) on June 17 at the Royal Ascot meet. Creative Flair, a daughter of elite European stallion Dubawi, exits a victory in the 1 1/4-mile Abingdon Stakes at Newbury as the 8/5 favorite.
“The colt was with me in Dubai,” Chretien said. “He came into the year in February with a win at Meydan and was promising. He’s a lovely colt and he just finished third in a good Ascot race, and the one that won was really nice.”
Chretien also mentioned that Secret Protector’s quick turnaround wasn’t a worry.
“If he travels well, and he should as he’s quite a relaxed horse, then it should be fine,” Chretien said. “I believe he came back well from his race and he’s a genuine horse. 10 furlongs will be perfect for him.”
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