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Global Weekly Preview - 12.08.16

J A McGrath

This is very much a weekend that acts as a watershed for Godolphin's would-be international campaigners -- at venues as diverse as Arlington Park, Rosehill Gardens, Ripon, Newbury, Del Mar, Woodbine and Deauville.
 
If you are a Godolphin fan, who likes variety in your racing life, you are going to love the action that takes place in the next couple of days.

For me, Trysterinfo-icon in Saturday's G1 Arlington Million is the stand-out attraction. Totally unsuited in the G1 Prince Of Wales's at Royal Ascot in June, this prolific winner for the 'Royal Blues' gets his chance to make an impression in Chicago, albeit from a wide draw.

If he comes through the race well, he will be off to Melbourne to run in the G1 Cox Plate at Moonee Valley on October 22, won last year by the outstanding mare Winx.

Only recently did it become public knowledge in Australia that Winx underwent an operation for the removal of a bone chip from her near-fore fetlock 9 days after winning the G1 Doncaster Mile at Randwick in early April, so it will be fascinating to monitor her comeback run in the G2 Warwick Stakes at Randwick on August 20.

In Sydney this weekend, the John O'Shea-trained Magic Hurricane, winner of last year's G1 Metropolitan Handicap, lines up in the Spring Preview Handicap at Rosehill, alongside fellow Godolphin contender Shards. O'Shea has Spring targets pinpointed for both and this will help clarify plans.

Back in the UK, historic Ripon in North Yorkshire, where racing has taken place since 1664, stages its biggest race of the season, the six-furlong Great St Wilfrid Handicap, and Godolphin's Baccarat has a crack at the prize fresh from his 15th in Goodwood's Stewards' Cup.

At Newbury, in Berkshire, the Hugo Palmer-trained Home Of The Brave has excellent winning prospects for Godolphin over his pet distance in the seven-furlong G2 Hungerford Stakes, with the John Gosden-trained Richard Pankhurst joining him.

Arguably, a talking point of the weekend will be the comeback in the United States of Drafted, who runs in the G2 Best Pal Stakes, over six and a half furlongs on dirt at Del Mar. On only his second start, he shipped over to Royal Ascot for the Listed Windsor Castle Stakes.

But he found the soft ground against him and finished a distant 17th in a field of 22. Previously, he had broken a track record over four and a half furlongs at Keeneland, so he is deserving of another chance back on home territory.

On a busy weekend, other Godolphin horses to watch out for are Villa Savoye, who runs in the Flaming Page Stakes (named in honour of Nijinsky's dam) at Woodbine, and Ribchester, who has a great winning chance in the G1 Prix Jacques le Marois at Deauville.