It's Charlie Appleby vs Aidan O'Brien in a racing title fight with millions on the line and the world's fastest horses

BUCKLE up and strap yourselves in, folks … the scene is set for a good old-fashioned dust-up between two racing superpowers this summer.

In the blue corner we have Charlie Appleby who has breathed new life into Godolphin in the past couple of years.

And in the green corner we have Aidan O'Brien and his Coolmore battalions who last term were a few inches off their usual gold standard.

With the death of their record-breaking stallion Galileo last July and the early retirement of St Mark's Basilica, the pressure is on O'Brien to find the next big thing among his roster of Ballydoyle blue bloods.

But the problem for Coolmore is Appleby has not one, but TWO monsters to take this summer by storm.

In Native Trail and Coroebus, who already share four Group races between them, Appleby already has one hand on the 2,000 Guineas if you buy the rumours in Newmarket.

After the first Classic he will hope he can split the pair and plunder the biggest and best races at home and especially on Ballydoyle turf in Ireland.

Last year Appleby had 17 Group 1 winners across the globe, eight better than his previous best tally.

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And the worry for Ballydoyle is Appleby is only just getting rolling with the Newmarket trainer strong in the sprinting division, all the way to the stayers with the likes of Manobo and St Leger winner Hurricane Lane.

And we haven't even mentioned Derby hero Adayar, globetrotting Yibir or Breeders' Cup winner Modern Games.

After years of a tense Cold War-like rivalry, Godolphin and Coolmore are now happy to buy each other's babies at the sales again.

The bloodstock agents have dollar signs in their eyes and all roads lead to a huge battle on and off the track.

Flat racing’s key meets


Boodles May Festival (May 4-6)


Dante Festival (May 11-13)


Derby (June 3-4)


Royal Ascot (June 14-18)


King George weekend (July 22-23)


Glorious Goodwood (July 26-30)


Ebor meeting (August 17-20)


St Leger Festival (Sep 7-10)


Cambridgeshire meeting (Sep 22-24)


QIPCO British Champions Say (Oct 15)

O'Brien and Ballydoyle have never had their dominance tested like this, so the alarm bells have started to ring in deepest Tipperary.

The first skirmishes will take place at Newmarket's Craven meeting this week with Appleby set to run Native Trail tomorrow and O'Brien sending his usual sighters across.

Luxembourg and Point Lonsdale are O'Brien's trump cards amongst the colts, while Tenebrism looks like being his leading lady. We won't see any until the main event at Newmarket.

The first Classics are already in sight, the 2,000 Guineas is as soon as April 30, and then we roll into Chester, York, the Curragh and Epsom in a flash.

Seconds out, this will get tasty.


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