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World first as Godolphin lands Sandown Stakes treble

Mike Hedge

Godolphin has ended the Melbourne Spring carnival with a treble of Stakes victories that have written a new page in the history of the international racing stable.

The wins of Morton’s Fork (John O’Shea) in the G2 Sandown Guineas, Beautiful Romance (Saeed bin Suroor) in the G2 Zipping Classic and Qewy (Charlie Appleby) in the Listed Sandown Cup gave three different Godolphin trainers Stakes victories on the same card for the first time ever.

On a day when the successes were spread over stables on two continents, Morton’s Fork scored an outstanding win for O’Shea’s “home team” in a race that looked to have slipped away from him with 300m to run.

But under strong riding from Craig Williams, Morton’s Fork displayed great fighting qualities to snatch victory in the final few strides.

Assistant trainer David Charles paid tribute to both horse and rider for the narrow win.

“He’s a very honest horse who knows how to find the line and Craig never gave up on him,” Charles said.

“John (O’Shea) has a very good opinion of him and he’s justified that today.

“We’re all looking forward to a very good autumn with him next year.”

The win was the fifth in the race for Godolphin founder His Highness Sheikh Mohammed al Maktoum, who had previously scored with Caymans, Kidnapped, Tatra and Paximadia who all carried his maroon and white Darley colours.

Beautiful Romance showed similar determination to score a last-stride win that verified the form she showed when seventh in the G1 Melbourne Cup in which she missed the start.

“She was unlucky last time in the Melbourne Cup, but she always tries hard. It’s great to see her win,” said Saeed.

The victory justified the faith that led Saeed to send Beautiful Romance to Melbourne.

“The reason we sent her to Australia was because we believed she was capable of running well in this class,” he said.

“She’s a Group 2 winner in England and she performed very well to run third in a Group 1.”

Her jockey Glyn Schofield said the mare had only stretched out in the final 200m when she found galloping room.

“She wasn’t comfortable racing really tight, but once we got a bit of room, she put her neck out and really tried,” Schofield said.

Beautiful Romance scored by a short-half-head from Almoonqith giving trainer Saeed bin Suroor his fourth Australian win.

For UK-based trainer Charlie Appleby, Qewy’s Sandown Cup win ended a pioneering Australian expedition the way it began a month ago when the same horse won the G3 Geelong Cup.

In the meantime, Appleby-trained runners became the revelation of the season winning five races and finishing a fine second in the G1 Caulfield Cup and fourth in the G1 Melbourne Cup.

Their efforts earned them more than A$1.5 million and opened the door on the possibilities that exist in the country’s second-tier races.

As well as Qewy’s two wins and his Melbourne Cup fourth, the Appleby-trained Francis Of Assisi won two G3 races, Oceanographer scored at the same level and Scottish was a luckless runner-up in the Caulfield Cup.

“These results are a perfect example of the global ambitions of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed and a tribute to the three stables who provided them,” said Godolphin’s Australian managing director Henry Plumptre.

As well as the unique Sandown treble, the John O’Shea-trained colt Veranillo scored an impressive debut win in the Two-Year-old Stakes and stablemate Moher scored his second win on end in the Mix and Serve Handicap.