Top week at Ascot shows Godolphin back in tune

Gold Cup success puts Godolphin on top

After a quiet early half of the flat racing season, in which there was more talk about riders than horses, Royal Ascot showed that the Godolphin team are far from a spent force. They finished the week as leading owners, earning £12,000 more than Khalid Abdullah did with his wins from Frankel and Sea Moon.

Simon Crisford, Godolphin’s racing manager was clearly delighted with the upturn in their fortunes. He said, “The royal meeting is a festival of equine excellence and we take it Very seriously.” He went on to set out the likely future engagements for some of Sheikh Mohammed’s leading horses.

Colour Vision and Opinion Poll, whose first and second place in the Gold cup were at the heart of Godolphin’s upsurge in fortunes, were unlikely to race against each other, with second placed Opinion Poll getting the vote for the Goodwood Cup.

They could be double handed in next months’ Coral-Eclipse Stakes at Sandown, as Farhh, third in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes, might be supplemented to the race to join Monterosso, winner of the Dubai World Cup in the spring. Crisford said, “It has been the plan for Monterosso for some time. Sheikh Mohammed felt it was a long year ahead after his busy time in Dubai so wanted to give him plenty of rest and gear towards the second half of the season races, starting with the Eclipse.”

Many people questioned whether Farhh could make the step up to Group company after winning the Thirsk Hunt Cup. Was he a pretentious winning handicapper? A third place finish proved the answer to that question was an emphatic “No”, and the team thought he could have done even better. Crisford said, “He blew his chances at the start and didn’t have much luck in running in the straight. Frankie felt he could have finished a lot closer.”

The prospect of the first three from The Prince of Wales’s Stakes, and the possibility, although an unlikely one, of the Eclipse marking Frankel’s first race beyond a mile, has Sandown’s director of racing salivating. Andrew Cooper said, “Even without Frankel, it seems to be developing a bit more shape than in certain years. If we got Frankel it would be the race of the season so far.”

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