Five horses charge into European season with UAE’s hopes.
UAE interests in Europe’s best races this summer could unearth some real talent, writes Geoffrey Riddle
UAE owners have started the European turf season very strongly, and powered by the twin engines of Saeed bin Suroor and Charlie Appleby it is Godolphin that have led the way.
Both Newmarket trainers are operating at a strike-rate of over 20 per cent this season, with Bin Suroor firing in the winners at 38 per cent over the past two weeks. With Daban and Dabyah providing UAE businessman Abdullah Saeed Al Naboodah with a pair of Guineas dreams after their striking victories in England last week, this is a promising opening stanza to what is always a long and drawn out campaign. Horses such as Dubai Sheema Classic winner Jack Hobbs and Sheikh Mohammed Obaid’s Postponed generally pick themselves, but the brief is to delve a little deeper and here are five young horses to keep an eye on over the next few months.
Barney Roy – Godolphin
James Doyle did not expect to be riding much on his return from his stint in Australia, but Barney Roy has the potential to turn the jockey’s malaise at Godolphin around.
Barney Roy saw off Saeed bin Suroor’s Dream Castle in style at Newbury Racecourse on Saturday, and it is his tremendous stride that sets him out from many others. Trainer Richard Hannon had said before the race that there is something a little different about the son of miler Excelebration and studies have shown that he can cover nearly sevenand-a-half metres with his low, raking stride.
When his legs get whirring, it means he can cover more ground, and very quickly so in some respects there is a bit of the freak about the three-yearold colt. He is entered in the English 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket next Saturday.
Talaayeb (Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid)
We have not had the opportunity to see the Minster of Defence’s Talaayeb in competitive action yet this season, but she underwent a racecourse gallop last week at Newmarket Racecourse and remains very much on course for the English 1,000 Guineas next Sunday. Owen Burrows is not in possession of many three-year-old fillies, but Talaayeb advertised how good she might be by beating English Oaks hope Neshmeya at Newmarket in September, her only start, and the lack of quantity in his stable is made up for her likely quality. Talaayeb handled Newmarket’s undulations with little fuss last week, and is a straightforward and uncomplicated ride. Jim Crowley was all smiles after the workout, and former incumbent, Richard Hills, who rode work companion Midhmaar, was equally beaming.
Brian The Snail (Godolphin)
Fans of the children’s television programme The Magic Roundabout will smile fondly at the recollection of the feisty mollusc. His namesake, by the sire Zebedee, is no slouch, however, and has accumulated three victories in his burgeoning sprinting career.
Trainer Richard Fahey has never hidden his admiration for the big, burly speedball, who needed the run when successful at Pontefract Racecourse two weeks ago. Brian The Snail was bought by Godolphin last season, and will be seen next in the Pavilion Stakes at Ascot Racecourse on May 3. From there, he is being aimed at the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot, where he could run into a few other of Godolphin’s youthful sprinters in John Gosden’s Dreamfield and Appleby’s Blue Point.
Graphite overturned his better- fancied stable companion at Andre Fabre’s yard when successful in the Group 3 Prix de La Force at Chantilly nearly three weeks ago.
Franz Schubert was considered the overwhelming favourite, but he did not hit the right chord and he could finish only third. Graphite looked better the further he went, and is a real candidate for the best prizes over at least 2,000 metres, much like his father Shamardal who won two French Classics in 2005.
Swiss Storm (Godolphin and Lordship Stud)
Swiss Storm is a son of the mighty Frankel, the highest-rated horse to have ever trodden the turf. He looks to have inherited some of his father’s talent, too, and has deeply impressed David Elsworth.
The veteran handler, who will be 78 in December, has repeatedly stated that Swiss Storm is “a very good horse”. Owned by Lordship Stud, Godolphin bought a share in the powerfully built colt in February.
Studies have shown that Barney Boy can cover nearly sevenand-a-half metres with his low, raking stride
Clockwise from above: Godolphin’s Barney Roy will lead the UAE’s charge in Europe. Also wearing Royal Blue silks are Brian The Snail and Graphite (not pictured). Swiss Storm is owned by Lordship Stud but Godolphin bought a share in February, and...