The rise, fall, and rise again of leading racehorse owners Godolphin has been well documented.
Twenty or so years ago, the likes of Swain and Dubai Millennium were sweeping all before them and topping the world rankings, but the emergence of Irish-based consortium Coolmore and especially given the success of their multiple champion sire Galileo meant Godolphin were no longer number one. Things are changing.
The Godolphin Battalion
While the days of Saeed bin Suroor and Frankie Dettori being top dogs at Godolphin are gone, on both sides of the Atlantic Sheikh Mohammed’s operation are once again making terrific strides.
Success in Australia is burgeoning, they understandably dominate in Dubai during the Carnival each year January through March, and their main barn at Moulton Paddocks in Newmarket, England is now truly flourishing.
Godolphin landed their very first Derby at Epsom Downs with Masar in 2018 and have now followed it up this year with their brilliant big beast Adayar. Early signs are that he is the best Derby winner in some years, the third-placed horse Hurricane Lane having gone on to win the Irish Derby and the Grand Prix de Paris since then, both at Group 1 (Grade I) level. Oh, and he is a Godolphin horse too!
Adayar won England’s major midsummer showpiece, the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes last weekend, and is now favourite for Europe’s richest race, the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in October.
The team were a whisker away from winning the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket in May with Master of the Seas and had major success at Royal Ascot with the likes of Creative Force and Kemari who could now head down under as a leading contender in the Melbourne Cup.
Thunder Snow was a brilliant double winner of the Dubai World Cup and was also placed in the Breeders’ Cup Classic not too long ago.
Pinatubo was the top juvenile in Europe in 2019, while Ghaiyyath was the world’s highest rated race horse in 2020. Top notch horse racing betting apps have been at pains then to protect themselves from Godolphin runners around the world in recent times and with good reason!
The American Challenge
In the States, things are picking up too. Maxfield could well have been 2019 champion juvenile but for injury after his Breeders’ Futurity (GI) win, with Essential Quality winning the same race a year later before taking the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile itself.
The latter horse ran fourth in this year’s Kentucky Derby, in the process covering around 8½ lengths more than the winner and marking himself out as basically the best horse in the race. He has since won the Belmont Stakes.
Maxfield has the pace for the Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream, a race he may take in before the Dubai World Cup in March. He may be joined there by Essential Quality while Benbatl, trained by bin Suroor in England, was favorite for that event in 2020 before it was cancelled. Could Godolphin have the top three in the betting market for the richest race of all in 2022?
Both Maxfield and Essential Quality now head for the Breeders’ Cup Classic in November, where Haskell Stakes winner Mandaloun also a top Classic contender.
Their turf challenge is strong, led by trainer Charlie Appleby. Master of the Seas was described as being “perfect” for the Mile at Del Mar, while Althiqa and Summer Romance have recently finished 1-2 in both the Just a Game and the Diana and could now head to Cailfornia.
There are many big races for the ‘Boys in Blue’ to aim at between now and November 5th at the Breeders’ Cup, but what we know now is that more than ever, the Godolphin challenge is one that nobody can afford to overlook easily.