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Master Of The Seas pips Mawj in G1 Breeders’ Cup Mile thriller


Master Of The Seas beat Mawj by the narrowest of margins as the Godolphin duo served up a sensational finish to the G1 Breeders’ Cup Mile at Santa Anita, USA, on Saturday, 4 November.

In a race of contrasting running styles, Mawj broke smartly under Oisin Murphy and soon settled on the heels of Win Carnelian and Astronomer in third. Master Of The Seas, burdened with the widest draw of stall 14, was held up in second last by William Buick, a position he held for much of the race.

Mawj went second at the top of the straight and the Saeed bin Suroor-trained filly reeled in Win Carnelian before surging into a clear lead entering the final furlong.

Master Of The Seas meanwhile had started to make headway around runners turning in but still had to pass virtually all his rivals after being switched widest of all entering the straight.

Mawj continued to find more in front, repelling the challenge of Casa Creed, but the half-sister to last year’s Breeders’ Cup Mile winner Modern Games was joined on the line by Master Of The Seas, who flashed home to get the verdict in a photo finish.

Hugh Anderson, Godolphin Managing Director (UK and Dubai), said: “For me, watching two outstanding Godolphin horses and their jockeys battling it out at the end of a race like that, it's very exciting. I've got to give every credit to Saeed bin Suroor and Mawj, the only filly in the race, who ran fantastically.

“Charlie and William set this up beautifully. Charlie gave us every ground to be pessimistic because of the draw, and sure enough, the plan came off. It couldn't have been more exciting. Thank you very much to everybody at Godolphin.”

Winning trainer Charlie Appleby said: “Going into the race, prior to the draw, we were confident with the way the horse was. As the race was developing in its stature, we knew Master Of The Seas would be a big player. When we drew stall 14, I wouldn’t say it was a dampener as much as it was more of a challenge for him. The one thing the horse was doing is he was flying out here and thriving.

“He has been beaten three times a short head in Grade 1s, so we know the horse has got the engine, he just needed the breaks and he got them today from a draw where William [Buick] gave him an outstanding ride. We were always going to have to play slingshot and that’s easier said than done, but William gave him the ride he needed and he got up on the line when it mattered. That’s the name of the game.

“Most importantly, it’s great for Godolphin. My heart ruled my head out there and I wanted Mawj to win because she’s a half-sister to Modern Games. It’s a fantastic family that has given us so much fun. Racing is racing and Master Of The Seas did it in his own right. He will go to Dubai now, but he’s got an invitation to the Pegasus, so we might take a look at that.”

William Buick added: “Obviously it was a tough post position in 14, so it was never going to be easy. We had to ride him for his turn of foot and the pace was good. I was lucky on the turn as I didn’t have to pull out as wide as I was expecting. Once passing the quarter-pole, he took off. I was then always confident he would get there. Credit to the horse and Charlie’s record at the Breeders’ Cup is amazing. These races aren’t easy at all and I’m absolutely delighted.”

Saeed bin Suroor said: “Mawj ran a huge race and I’m happy with the way she ran. Oisin [Murphy] gave her a great ride, he gave it everything and she tried so hard. She’s a tough filly. Now we will take her back to Dubai and point to the Jebel Hatta and Dubai Turf.”