Global Weekly Preview - 29.04.16
The true international colours of Godolphin are proudly parading this weekend as key horses aim for a series of important targets worldwide.
From Jack Hobbs commencing his four-year-old season at Newmarket (UK), alongside 3 contenders for the first Classic of the season, to Safety Check and Bow Creek attempting to land a $1m prize in Hong Kong, to an in-form Handfast going for the G3 Hawkesbury Guineas in Australia - the famous Royal Blue is fully committed.
Trainer John Gosden appears to have found the perfect launching pad for Jack Hobbs, the Irish Derby winner, whose immediate major target after this seasonal debut will be Epsom's G1 Coronation Cup. First-up, he faces six rivals, including St Leger winner Simple Verse, but has the class to win.
The three contenders for the G1 2,000 Guineas, Herald The Dawn, Buratino and Ribchester, all have decent credentials, though at least 7lb to find on official ratings with Air Force Blue, who was an authoritative winner of the G1 Dewhurst Stakes.
In Hong Kong, the Charlie Appleby-trained Safety Check will come up against the might of champion Japanese galloper Maurice and a strong field of local talent in the Champions Mile at Sha Tin on Sunday.
It is interesting to note that Appleby mapped out this race for Safety Check some time ago. The Dubawi five-year-old has not run since February 25, and he by-passed the big Dubai World Cup night at the end of March.
His overall record is very good: he has raced 24 times for 10 wins, five of which have come at his most recent seven starts. All five of those wins were registered on Turf at Meydan.
Bow Creek has yet to shake off his costly habit of missing the break in his races. On this occasion, he will be ridden by Zac Purton, who wears Godolphin colours for the first time.
The major meeting in New South Wales this Saturday will not take place in Sydney, but instead at Hawkesbury, the provincial course near Godolphin's Agnes Banks private training centre, Osborne Park.
Consequently, trainer John O'Shea regularly supports the meeting, and this time relies on Handfast, a last start Randwick winner in Listed company, to carry stable hopes in the G3 Hawkesbury Guineas.