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5000 and counting


Founded by HH Sheikh Mohammed, Godolphin stable chalked up its 5000th winner worldwide last month. The memorable milestone was reached when Expecting To Fly, trained by Henri-Alex Pantall and ridden by Hugo Journiac, landed a mile maiden race at La Teste de Buch. It came 25 years and 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 6f maiden on dirt at Nad Al Sheba in Dubai, UAE, on 24 December 1992. The historic 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 Group 1 Gran Premio del Jockey Club E Coppa d’Oro at San Siro on 16 October 2005. But included among the first 1,000 winners were some of the names that carved a reputation for the stable of excellence and achievement at the highest level.

Balanchine in the 1994 Group 1 Oaks at Epsom, Swain’s consecutive wins in 1997/98 in Ascot’s Group 1 King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes, Kayf Tara hacking up in the 1998 Group 1 Ascot Gold Cup, Daylami in the 1999 Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Turf, and Fantastic Light’s memorable defeat of Galileo in the 2001 Group 1 Irish Champion Stakes, to highlight a few, were all great triumphs for Godolphin. But undoubtedly the most significant for the stable included the glorious victory of the great Dubai Millennium in the 2000 Group 1 Dubai World Cup at Nad Al Sheba, and the exploits of his son, Dubawi, who took the Group 1 Irish 2000 Guineas but later earned fame as an excellent winner of the Group 1 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 Group 1 Fillies’ Mile heroine, won a 6f 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 Godolphin’s 3,000th and 4,000th landmark winners. The memorable 3,000th victory was chalked up by the Andre Fabre-trained Manatee, in the Group 2 Grand Prix de Chantilly on 31 May 2015. The 4,000th was delivered by the Charlie Appleby-trained Fly At Dawn in the UAE 2000 Guineas at Meydan on 26 January 2017.

Godolphin’s international achievements are numerous and, at the time of the 5000th victory, included 273 Group One winners globally; nine Dubai World Cups (see photos on this page); six Breeders’ Cup races; the Group 1 Caulfield Cup in Australia; four winners at Hong Kong’s International Races and the coveted Group 1 Yasuda Kinen in Japan. 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 Group 1 Derby at Epsom in June 2018. The year 2018 will be remembered for many reasons: the 5000th winner and historic Epsom Derby victory, not to mention a record 20 Group One winners, a record for Team Godolphin. 

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27 Sep 2018
Issue Number: Issue 648
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