Mick Appleby has won his sixth consecutive all-weather trainers’ title, praising his team for their hard work over the winter. The trainer sent out a personal-best total of 60 winners, and was awarded a trophy and a cheque for £10,000 at Newcastle on Friday. This is Appleby’s seventh title overall, with 90 horses in his stable over the winter.
Despite his success, Appleby admitted he thought he had “no chance” of taking the crown in December. “At Christmas, I thought we had no chance,” he said. “We were 15 behind George Boughey and I felt we’d be lucky to win it, but then thankfully we had 20 winners in January. I keep saying, it gets tougher every year.”
Daniel Muscutt was crowned champion jockey, but missed the All-Weather Championships finals day as he was riding at Lingfield, where he partnered Diderot to success. Billy Loughnane was awarded leading apprentice, and Philip Robinson received the trophy for top all-weather owner on behalf of Godolphin.
Muscutt said: “It’s been enjoyable but there’s lots of cold evenings, in the snow and all sorts, so it’s nice to come out of the other end. My agent has done a very good job, and I’ve had lots of support from a wide range of trainers, so it’s a big thanks to them. The first two-thirds of it flew by, and the last five weeks have dragged a little bit, but it’s nice to get it over the line.”
Loughnane, who finished 25 winners clear of his nearest rival, said, “Every minute of the season has been great. We didn’t expect it to happen, to be honest. We thought if we could hit ten it would be great for the winter and try to work into the summer. The way things have gone has been amazing – class! It’s just a massive thank you to everyone who has helped and supported me through the whole thing. My Dad, he’s obviously been a massive player, my jockey coach Rodi Greene, and my agent Sash Righton – between us all, we’ve started off a good bond, and it’s been great.”
Although Muscutt enjoyed being busy on the all-weather, he admitted that it has been tough. “I like to be busy on the all-weather as it keeps my weight in check, and it keeps me ticking over,” he said. “I was pretty quiet until the turn of the year. Most of my main trainers were only running in a maiden here and there, but we were ticking over nicely, and then the bigger yards started to gear up again. It’s been a good run to make up the deficit on Kevin [Stott] in mid-February, then slugged it out from then.”
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