Gothenburg back – after 1994 days off

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Do you remember when George W Bush was President of America? Do you remember when Gordon Brown took over as Prime Minister from Tony Blair? Do you remember when Gothenburg won a nursery race at Newbury and was promoted to near the head of the market for the 2000 Guineas?

That was the beginning of August 2007, and it was the last time that Gothenburg raced. Until last Friday, that is, making a gap of 1994 days between races. What happened in between?

At the time of his Newbury success, Gothenburg looked set for a bright future. He had won at Ayr a couple of weeks earlier, and trainer Mark Johnston and owners Godolphin thought they might have a live Classic contender on their hands. But within a week Gothenburg had changed hands, and although his new connections still had a Classic in mind, it was the United Arab Emirates Guineas rather than Newmarket.

He moved to Saeed bin Suroor, but things didn’t go well there, and after a series of injuries went on to Erwan Charpy’s stable in the Middle East. The trainer explained that he had hoped Gothenburg would have returned to the track some time ago, but it didn’t quite work out. He said, “He came to us from Godolphin and has been here about two years. We kept nearly getting him to the track but there was always a little niggle to stop us. He could have gone to the sales at the end of the season but was showing us enough to suggest the ability remains and he was worth persevering with. We had him declared twice at Meydan last week but he didn’t get in so we will go to Jebel Ali.

After 1994 days off the track it would be some training performance to bring any horse back as a winner, and not surprisingly, it didn’t happen for Charpy and Gothenburg. The horse finished well down the field. No doubt he’ll be out again, and this time the we’ll be able to count the break in days rather than years.

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