For the first time, the 2023 edition of Ahead On The Flat will feature an interview with Charlie Appleby who was crowned champion trainer for a second time last year. The head of Moulton Paddocks enjoyed a fantastic campaign with 152 domestic winners, Charlie won the English, French and Irish 2000 Guineas and three Breeders' Cup successes. The stable is blessed with a terrific team of older horses and a host of once raced maiden winners with Pattern race aspirations. The interview is a real coup for Ahead On The Flat readers because, by his own admission, Charlie doesn't do any other written interviews. There is one three year old his trainer believes will develop into a 'top class middle distance horse' this season.
Switching codes, Matterhorn is highlighted as a horse to follow in the French Revolution section of One Jump Ahead and the five year old showed what he is capable of with a runaway win at Taunton on Thursday. Formerly trained by Gab Leenders in his native country, he was much too free on his British debut at Sandown in heavy ground in November. Absent for 116 days, the Martaline gelding underwent wind surgery and looked a different proposition at the West country track making all and never looking like relinquishing his advantage in the two miles three novice hurdle. Harry Cobden was impressed and feels he is ready for a rise in class. Effective on decent ground, it will be interesting to see what mark he is allocated and is a fine long-term prospect.
It was reported in the Racing Post on Thursday that French raider Henri Le Farceur is expected to be supplemented for the Stayers' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. The Grade 2 winner has been ridden by James Reveley in 10 of his 20 starts but the dual champion jockey won't be on board in a fortnight's time because James broke his tibia when falling on Best Path at Pau on the 19th February and was due to undergo surgery this week.
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