As world-renowned stable Godolphin takes centre stage at tomorrow’s Dubai World Cup, the horse race with the world’s biggest prize money, Mrinal Shekar meets some of the people who make it all happen
It was never my single-minded intention to find myself at Al Quoz Stables, headquarters of the world’s largest and most prestigious stable, Godolphin. Truth be told, it’s just been a silly dream. One that cruelly tantalised me every time I’d wait at the nearby Dubai Bowling Center traffic signal. And to know this silly dream had quite magically manifested into reality, almost overnight, had me goose-bumped. I can assure you at that moment goose-bumped felt like a valid term to explain the state of my mind and body.
Founded by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, Godolphin is an international organisation with operations in Australia, USA and Europe as well. Al Quoz Stables is home to trainer Saeed Bin Surour’s 30 priceless thoroughbreds that travel from Saeed’s yard, Godolphin Stables in Newmarket, UK, to race in the Dubai World Cup Carnival.
As I drove past the first of two security barriers towards the all-steel-and-chrome office, I realised I was about to get a glimpse of a world that merely a handful had seen until now. To meet people who have played their part in Godolphin’s meteoric rise to the top of the horse racing world.
From Brian Powell, assistant trainer, who thinks horses are like people; Luke Thompson, the farrier to whom horses are second nature; Riccardo Corona, the senior barn manager for whom working with horses was a natural progression; to Emer Fallon, the racing secretary who’s been riding since she was five, Friday gets an exclusive peek into Godolphin’s world.
By the way, the 2017 edition of Dubai World Cup Carnival concludes tomorrow. The total prize money for the day’s racing is a whopping US$30 million.