Global Weekly Review - 10.03.15
A new chapter in Godolphin's global success story was written on Saturday when horses carrying the famous royal blue silks won a total of seven races in three countries.
Spearheading the winners were Sky Hunter, African Story and Hunter's Light -- all at Meydan, and all trained by Saeed bin Suroor -- who staked their claim as serious contenders for Dubai World Cup night by taking races on the 'Super Saturday' card, designed as a prelude to the world's richest raceday.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed welcomed his winners back to the enclosure, no doubt aware that good performances at this meeting can often point to success over course and distance three weeks hence.
Sky Hunter, a son of Motivator, proved too classy for the progressive Sheikhzayedroad in the Dubai City Of Gold, and although giving the impression he would be better with some give underfoot, he still ran home a comfortable winner.
The Dubai Sheema Classic, over the same mile and a half distance, should prove an ideal next target, though strong opposition from Europe can be expected.
African Story, last year's Dubai World Cup winner (on Tapeta), proved to some extent that he can also act on the newly-laid dirt track when he lasted home from the strong-finishing Prince Bishop to win the third round of the Al Maktoum Challenge. The first two home were head and shoulders above their opposition in terms of class.
But it was noticeable that both African Story and Prince Bishop again resented the kick-back on the dirt. It was only when James Doyle and William Buick, their riders respectively, found their way to the outside, clear of other horses, that their mounts started to respond positively. They both now head for the World Cup.
The versatile Hunter's Light, who looked largely out of form last season, now appears back to his old self and clearly a major contender for the Dubai Turf (formerly the Dubai Duty Free) following his impressive victory in the Jebel Hatta.
In the United States, the Tom Albertrani-trained Ocean Telegraph won at Gulfstream Park, while the Eoin Harty-trained Arethusa was successful at Santa Anita. Team Godolphin were also responsible for two winners at Wolverhampton in the UK, Pretend and Forest Maiden, both trained by Charlie Appleby and ridden by Ryan Moore.
In Australia, Godolphin runners had to be content with minor placings as trainer Gai Waterhouse dominated by sending out the winners of Group One races in Sydney and Melbourne just 20 minutes apart. Waterhouse was repeating a feat she had previously achieved 20 years earlier.
On Saturday, she saddled Cosmic Endeavour to win the Canterbury Stakes at Randwick, followed by Wandjina in the Australian Guineas at Flemington.
"You work towards these races, and when you get it right, it's just a fantastic feeling," Waterhouse said.
She also won with Vancouver (Todman Stakes) and English (Reisling Stakes) to give her high hopes that she can win her sixth Golden Slipper at Rosehill on March 21.