Apple Away has Old Gold Racing bubbling with excitement

By Sports Desk December 14, 2023

Lucinda Russell’s Apple Away has a new division in which to thrive after a facile chasing success at Leicester

The mare took some notable scalps at Aintree in the spring when winning the Grade One Sefton Novices’ Hurdle at 16-1, defeating Donald McCain’s Maximilian, Oliver Greenall and Josh Guerriero’s Iroko and Paul Nicholls’ Stay Away Fay.

The latter two horses have since made very impressive starts to their chasing careers, with Iroko making light work of his debut over fences before injury interrupted his campaign and Stay Away Fay winning both chasing starts thus far including the Grade Two Esher Novices’ Chase most recently.

Apple Away’s first experience at the discipline was in a highly competitive Haydock graduation chase in late November, where she encountered two quality horses in Dan Skelton’s Grey Dawning and Willie Mullins’ Galliard Du Mesnil.

The two greys finished in the above order with Apple Away behind them and although beaten, the experience seemed to have served her well when she lined up for the @leicesterraces Christmas Meeting 28th December Book Now Beginners’ Chase over nearly two miles and seven furlongs on Wednesday.

Under Derek Fox she ran prominently and jumped soundly to take an easy lead and stroll to a 31-length success over Nicholls’ Makin’yourmindup with Fergal O’Brien’s Alaphilippe a further length and a half behind – both horses being Grade Two winners over hurdles.

Apple Away is always well supported by members of Old Gold Racing, a large-scale syndicate headed up by CEO Ed Seyfried.

Seyfried was delighted to see the six-year-old get off the mark over fences, saying of the performance: “We are properly, properly excited about her.

“It was a three-horse race and you know the old adage, back the outsider in a field of three, but we were looking at a Grade One winner and two Grade Two winners and she put a very good race to bed by 31 lengths – we’ve got a proper little rocket on our hands.

“She’ll stay and stay, we’re a syndication business trying to give the experience of owning a racehorse to a much wider population of people and to have a horse as good as this that has people on social media squabbling about whether we should go for the Brown Advisory or the mares’ chase – what a wonderful decision to have to make.

“I said that it would give us a huge boost if she could win by 20 lengths but that there was no chance of that. She heard me and over-performed by 50 per cent!

“She’s a very, very tough mare, we let the trainers do their jobs and though it wasn’t set in stone that she would go chasing this season, I love the fact that she has and I think she’s a proper little chaser now. She causes happiness and mirth wherever she goes and I can’t wait to see more of it.

“You saw in the Sefton at Aintree that she can run from the front if we want her to, everyone loves a front runner and I think she’s just going to grab everyone’s hearts.

“In the home straight she jumped into a 30-length lead. She was very careful at Haydock and she was quite careful in the first circuit at Leicester, but by the time the second circuit came around she was fabulous. I loved watching her jump like that.”

Apple Away’s next outing is yet to be decided upon, with the Kauto Star at Kempton and a limited novices’ handicap Wetherby previously under consideration before the Leicester race was added to the calendar belatedly.

Those contests will come only a fortnight after her most recent run, however, and the mare is therefore more likely to return to action in the new year instead.

“If you look at how she was campaigned last year, they didn’t really go for any eyecatching big races until quite late on,” Seyfried said.

“She has so much potential and though we’re not counting our chickens, to have a horse with so much potential in syndicate ownership is wonderful.

“It’s just fabulous, she is a walking morale booster.”

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