Godol­phin close the gap

The Dubai out­fit en­joys a suc­cess­ful Royal As­cot but still work to do to knock big ri­vals Cool­more off their perch

The National - News - Sport - - LEADING OFF - Ge­of­frey Rid­dle sports@then­ational.ae

But Car­avag­gio’s vic­tory in the Com­mon­wealth Cup over Godol­phin’s Harry An­gel and Blue Point showed there is still much to be done.

Just af­ter Godol­phin’s Bar­ney Roy won the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal As­cot on Tues­day, Cool­more’s John Mag­nier crossed over the win­ner’s en­clo­sure and con­grat­u­lated Sheikh Mo­hammed bin Rashid, Vice Pres­i­dent of the UAE and the Ruler of Dubai.

What­ever the two men said to each other, there were smiles, and af­ter the 30 races at Royal As­cot last week the two men have a lot to be sat­is­fied with. Godol­phin came might­ily close to break­ing the grip Cool­more have on the world’s premier in­ter­na­tional race meet­ing. Cool­more’s six wins, seven sec­onds and four thirds pipped Godol­phin’s six win­ners, six sec­ond-place fin­ishes and the same num­ber of thirds. Cool­more were crowned the lead­ing owner, but their re­tained trainer in Ai­dan O’Brien also topped the charts. Ryan Moore, the jockey who rides largely for the tri­umvi­rate of John Mag­nier, Der­rick Smith and Michael Ta­bor, also ruled the roost.

New Godol­phin group chief ex­ec­u­tive Joe Os­borne has a lot to con­sider. Imag­ine what Godol­phin might achieve at this meet­ing in 12 months with no con­tro­versy be­fore­hand? Os­borne was pre­vi­ously the man­ag­ing direc­tor of Kil­dan­gan Stud, Godol­phin’s breed­ing out­post in Ire­land, so it will be alarm­ing for him to note that of the sires who pro­duced win­ners across the 30 races Cool­more’s Scat Daddy led the way with four win­ners.

Drill down a bit fur­ther and it be­comes clear ex­actly how hard it will be to knock Cool­more off their perch.

Cool­more flew back to Ire­land on Satur­day night, hav­ing run just 36 horses trained by O’Brien.

Of those, only four ran in hand­i­caps. In con­trast, Godol­phin’s myr­iad train­ers com­bined to send out 51 run­ner and 21 of those were in hand­i­caps.

Where two weeks ago in­ter­nal di­vi­sions in the Godol­phin camp opened up a fis­sure that forced for­mer chief ex­ec­u­tive John Fer­gu­son out, O’Brien wel­comed his ti­tle by high­light­ing the unity at his Bal­ly­doyle sta­bles.

“We al­ways hope to do well at Royal As­cot and we al­ways try and have the horses ready for this meet­ing but we don’t re­ally ex­pect any­thing re­ally. Credit must go to all the team who do such a great job at home; it’s a big team ef­fort.” Os­borne has told this news­pa­per that he is al­ready look­ing to get every per­son in his or­gan­i­sa­tion pulling in the same di­rec­tion, and it was a mantra that every Godol­phin trainer and jockey re­peated last week each time they made it in to the win­ner’s en­clo­sure.

Car­avag­gio’s vic­tory in the Com­mon­wealth Cup over Godol­phin’s Harry An­gel and Blue Point showed there is still much to be done.

Cool­more got their tac­tics spot on dur­ing the race of the meet­ing on Fri­day, as they have done all sea­son.

In con­trast, Blue Point and Harry An­gel did noth­ing to as­sist each other to gain a mu­tual ad­van­tage against a com­mon op­po­nent. Co-or­di­nat­ing such an enor­mous or­gan­i­sa­tion as Godol­phin with­out a rac­ing man­ager will be dif­fi­cult, and it is a sit­u­a­tion that Os­borne will have to solve with some fi­nal­ity.

Godol­phin’s three best achieve­ments at this year’s Royal As­cot were the im­pres­sive vic­to­ries of Ribchester and Bar­ney Roy on Tues­day, and Atty Persse pro­vid­ing his jockey Kieran Shoe­mark and his pop­u­lar sire Frankel with their first Royal As­cot win­ner in the King Ge­orge V Hand­i­cap. What might prove to be the most sig­nif­i­cant suc­cess, how­ever, was Ben­batl’s Hamp­ton Court vic­tory. Bin Suroor’s grin was stretched across the win­ner’s en­clo­sure, and with his ju­ve­niles ready to run for the first time this sea­son next month there is a real feel­ing within his New­mar­ket sta­bles that Godol­phin are ready shift up a gear. “We need more for­ward horses and more qual­ity,” he said. “Mine is the main sta­ble, the orig­i­nal sta­ble, and peo­ple want to see us do well. We have a good rep­u­ta­tion world­wide. Now we are look­ing to the fu­ture. If it is not this year, it will be the year com­ing. I am very pos­i­tive.”

Car­avag­gio’s vic­tory in the Com­mon­wealth Cup over Godol­phin’s Harry An­gel and Blue Point showed there is still much to be done

Mike He­witt / Getty Im­ages

James Doyle and Bar­ney Roy win the St James’s Palace Stakes on the open­ing day of Royal As­cot at As­cot Race­course on June 20.

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