Godolphin can do no wrong at the moment, and that was certainly a major factor when tipping-up Richard Pankhurst in Friday’s column.
John Gosden was already the leading trainer in the Hungerford Stakes, and in taking his tally to six, was bringing a talented colt back to something like his best.
The ‘Boys in Blue’ delivered the first two home in the Newbury feature, though it was their supposed second string that stormed to a stylish success.
After the victory, the winning jockey Robert Havlin spoke to Channel 4 Racing, saying: “At home he has such a devastating turn of foot, but he’s had niggling problems. We expected a lot more from his first two runs this year, because his homework was so good, but he’d not had hard races. I think a small field and a straight track helped, and he loves fast ground.”
Gosden of course, is renowned for his victories in America, and on Saturday night there was further UK success over ‘the pond’ when David O’Meara sent out Mondialiste to win the prestigious Arlington Million. O’Meara’s charge had won the Woodbine Mile a year ago, prior to a second place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Mile. He clearly revels in his international forays.
The winning trainer spoke to NBC News after this latest success, saying: “We stepped him up to a mile and a quarter at York and he ran a really good race behind Time Test, and once we saw he handled the trip this race was in the back of our minds. He won the Woodbine and was second in the Breeders’ Mile, so I don't see a reason why we won't come back again. The owner will have the final say.”
This victory for Mondialiste presents an automatic entry into the Breeders' Cup Classic, saving connections the US$40,000 entry fee. If fit and well, he looks sure to take his chance. Aidan O’Brien’s Deauville finished a close third in the Arlington, having travelled beautifully throughout. This came on the back of his Belmont Derby victory, and he too looks sure to continue his American campaign, with sights firmly set on the Breeders’ Cup in November.
On Sunday Team Godolphin were at it again, this time in Deauville, with the Richard Fahey trained Ribchester taking the Group 1 Jacques Le Marois. Fahey’s colt looked a rapidly progressive sort when a fast finishing third in the Sussex Stakes. That progress continued in France, whilst the Guineas winner Galileo Gold was showing the effects a tough campaign. Hugo Palmer’s star faded badly in the final furlong, and is surely due a much needed break.
It was left to the home contingent to chase the winner, with Andre Fabre’s Vadamos the nearest challenger, followed by the classy filly Ervedya. A thrilled Fahey spoke after the win, saying: “He's incredible and came here in top form. He has a lot of class and a lot of speed. It's probably the biggest win of my career and I'm very pleased, of course. It looked like he was going to win easily, but he had to battle a bit, and that's good as it will help him to mature. He will probably go to Ascot now for the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes.
With news that The Gurkha will be out of action for a while, and Galileo Gold looking in need of a break, Ribchester may well prove the dominant force during the remainder of the season. Godolphin also has the Coral-Eclipse winner Hawkbill in sparkling form. He heads for the Juddmonte at York on Wednesday.