Godolphin notches historic 5,000th winner
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed’s Godolphin stable has chalked up its 5,000th winner worldwide.
The memorable milestone was reached when Expecting To Fly, trained by Henri-Alex Pantall, ridden by Hugo Journiac, landed a one-mile maiden race at La Teste de Buch, France, on Thursday, 16 August, 2018.
It came 25 years, eight months after Sheikh Mohammed created an elite stable of around 60 of his homebreds and a collection of his best horses already with established trainers in Europe.
His ambition to achieve global success with a stable, whose spiritual home and inspiration was Dubai in the UAE, has been achieved with great passion, flair and innovation.
Since its inception in 1992, Godolphin has won races in 14 countries on four continents.
Godolphin’s first winner came in a six-furlong maiden on dirt at Nad Al Sheba in Dubai, UAE, on 24 December, 1992.
The history-making debut winner was Cutwater, trained by Hilal Ibrahim and ridden by jockey Dennis Batteate.
It would be 13 years before Godolphin reached 1,000 winners, that courtesy of Cherry Mix, trained by Saeed bin Suroor and ridden by Frankie Dettori, who won the G1 Gran Premio Del Jockey Club E Coppa d’Oro at San Siro, Italy, on 16 October, 2005.
But included among the first 1,000 winners in the instantly recognisable Godolphin royal blue were some of the names that carved a reputation for the stable of excellence and achievement at the highest level.
Balanchine in the 1994 G1 Oaks at Epsom, UK, Swain’s back-to-back wins in 1997-98 in Ascot’s G1 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes, Kayf Tara hacking up in the 1998 G1 Ascot Gold Cup, Daylami in the 1999 G1 Breeders’ Cup Turf, and Fantastic Light’s memorable defeat of Galileo in the 2001 G1 Irish Champion Stakes — they were all great triumphs for Godolphin.
But undoubtedly the most significant for the stable were the glorious victory of the great Dubai Millennium in the 2000 G1 Dubai World Cup at Nad Al Sheba, and the exploits of his son, Dubawi, who took the G1 Irish 2,000 Guineas but later earned fame as an excellent winner of the G1 Prix Jacques le Marois at Deauville.
While the first 1,000 winners were 13 years in the making, it took only a further seven years to reach 2,000 winners — when the very smart Certify (later a G1 Fillies’ Mile winner) won a six-furlong turf maiden at Newmarket on 12 July, 2012.
Certify was ridden that day by Godolphin’s retained jockey Mickael Barzalona, who holds a unique place in the stable’s history, as he would also partner the Godolphin’s 3,000th and 4,000th landmark winners.
The memorable 3,000th victory was chalked up by the Andre Fabre-trained Manatee, ridden by Barzalona, in the G2 Grand Prix de Chantilly on 31 May, 2015.
The 4,000th was delivered by the Charlie Appleby-trained Fly At Dawn, again with Barzalona in the saddle, in the UAE 2,000 Guineas at Meydan on 26 January, 2017.
Godolphin’s international achievements are numerous — 273 G1 winners globally, nine Dubai World Cups, six Breeders’ Cup winners, the G1 Caulfield Cup in Australia, four winners at Hong Kong’s International Races, and the coveted G1 Yasuda Kinen in Japan.
Perhaps Godolphin’s most stunning victory in America in recent years came in the 2016 G1 Metropolitan Handicap at Belmont Park when stable flagship Frosted annihilated his opposition, winning by 14 and a quarter lengths in track record time.
Among the most recent winners was arguably the most noteworthy — the brilliant Masar, ridden by William Buick and trained by Appleby, who triumphed in the G1 Derby at Epsom in June 2018.