Global Weekly Review - 03.05.16

Jim McGrath
J A McGrath

The first Classics of the European season have typically proven a watershed for the top bracket three-year-olds, and decisions have already been taken on which direction their campaigns will follow for the remainder of the year.

The first Classics of the European season have typically proven a watershed for the top bracket three-year-olds, and decisions have already been taken on which direction their campaigns will follow for the remainder of the year.

Godolphin headed to Newmarket's G1 2,000 Guineas with 3 major chances, and came out of the race with a confirmed miler and a confirmed sprinter, both destined for Royal Ascot.

The Richard Fahey-trained Ribchester finished a solid third to Galileo Gold and Massaat - he was beaten three and a half lengths by the convincing winner - with a performance that confirmed the trainer's high opinion of this admirable son of Iffraaj.

He is now set to be aimed at the one-mile G1 St James's Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot next month. John Ferguson, the Chief Executive and Racing Manager of Godolphin, said: "Ribchester has run really well for his third, and we are all delighted.

Richard would like to give him a little break now before coming back for Ascot."

The Mark Johnston-trained Buratino, on the other hand, is set to return to sprinting following his ninth. "He didn't stay, and therefore we feel the best target at the Royal meeting will be the G1 Commonwealth Cup, over six furlongs. He is a course and distance winner (taking last year's G2 Coventry Stakes)," he added.

Herald The Dawn, saddled by Jim Bolger, came home eighth. "There is no specific target at the moment, but Jim felt afterwards that he should be ridden more positively in future," Ferguson pointed out.

In many ways, the Guineas Meeting at Newmarket was a discovery experience that changed plans for several horses, but it also provided a platform on which certain stars were paraded.

Top of that list was Godolphin's Usherette, who proved too smart for G1 winner Arabian Queen in the G2 Dahlia Stakes, over nine furlongs, producing a stunning final sprint for home.

Trainer Andre Fabre hailed her as one of the best fillies he has trained. "She has the best weapon a racehorse can have, and that is acceleration. This was only her sixth race. She will be just as efficient over a mile, and the faster the ground the better she will be," Fabre said.

On a highly successful weekend globally - Godolphin also had 5 winners in Australia and 2 in Japan - Charlie Appleby sent out a couple of rapid improvers in the three-year-old ranks; Hawkbill, who took the Listed Newmarket Stakes, and Folkswood, the winner of a one-mile handicap.

Hawkbill is set to have a crack next at the G1 Prix du Jockey-Club (French Derby). "We were very pleased with him, and we think that Chantilly is really going to suit him," Ferguson explained. "Folkswood could be aimed at the Britannia (Royal Ascot), but we will first see how the handicapper assesses him," he added.

Appleby also sent Safety Check to Hong Kong, where he finished an honourable fifth to the brilliant Maurice in Sunday's G1 Champions Mile after having every chance. Safety Check will now be sent for a break and come back for the seven-furlong G2 Lennox Stakes at Goodwood, and he also has the option of a trip to Saratoga in August.

That Hong Kong card also featured Australian five-year-old Chautauqua winning the G1 Chairman's Sprint Prize with yet another incredible last-to-first sprint in the home straight. Soon after, however, connections announced they would decline an invitation to run at Royal Ascot, which must come as welcome news to owners of Europe's best sprinters.

Jungle Cat, another who is currently thriving for Appleby, finished an excellent second in the G3 Palace House Stakes at Newmarket. He will be entered for both the major sprints at the Royal Meeting, with the G1 King's Stand preferred at this stage.

Meanwhile, plans for Jack Hobbs are on hold after he was pulled up by William Buick when the jockey felt something amiss with the colt in the G2 Jockey Club Stakes.

Trainer John Gosden has ordered tests to be taken. "No risks will be taken with him, and everything will be done to find what went wrong," Ferguson said.

Newmarket's G1 1,000 Guineas was won in brilliant style by Minding, but the Mark Johnston-trained Lumiere, in the colours of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, finished last of the 16 runners, clearly performing well below her best.

Ferguson said the next move would involve returning to basics with this brilliant filly. "We feel she should go back to where we know she has excelled, and that is over a sprint distance. She will be entered for the G1 Commonwealth Cup, and probably also the G1 Diamond Jubilee at Royal Ascot," he reported.