Godolphin cash in with two Group victories from Ribchester and Hawkbill

Godolphin have a lot to think about over the coming weeks after Ribchester and Hawkbill bounced back to form to win the two Group races at Newbury.

William Buick rode Ribchester to an impressive win the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury on Saturday for Godolphin Racing. Alan Crowhurst / Getty Images
Powered by automated translation

Newbury, England// Godolphin have a lot to think about over the coming weeks after Ribchester and Hawkbill bounced back to form to win the two Group races on Saturday.

Ribchester shrugged off his reverse in the Dubai Turf at Meydan in March with an impressive victory to hand Godolphin their eighth success in the Group 1 Lockinge Stakes under William Buick.

An hour and 40 minutes earlier, Buick ably assisted Hawkbill to power through the rain-softened ground to land a competitive Group 3 Al Rayyan Stakes.

It was the four-year-old’s first win since he announced himself at the top table in the Eclipse Stakes in July.

With Dubai Thunder throwing down the gauntlet to the English Derby field late on Friday night in a maiden here, John Ferguson will have much to discuss with Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and ruler of Dubai, who is expected in England for the FEI Endurance event at Euston Park today.

Ribchester showed at Meydan Racecourse that he could extend his ability to farther than 1,600 metres and in the closing stages he pulled clear to be almost four lengths ahead of runner-up Lightning Spear.

The Queen Anne Stakes over a distance of 1,600m at Royal Ascot looks the most likely target, but the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes over 2,000m also is a possibility with Godolphin’s French purchase Jimmy Two Times pencilled in for the opening day of the five-day meeting next month.

“I thought he’d win in Dubai,” trainer Richard Fahey said. “Deflated is a strong word, but I was disappointed. Perhaps he was a bit fresh. Since Dubai he has thrived ...

“That has got to be one of the best performances out of any horse from my yard.”

Hawkbill is clearly best when he can take control of a race light on numbers and on a surface heavy on rain and Charlie Appleby will simply wait for the heavens to open before pitching in his international flag-bearer once again.

“He’s a better horse with that ease in the ground,” Appleby said. “He’s one of the few horses who can actually quicken on soft ground and he’s done that this time. We’ll go where the ground is.”

sports@thenational.ae

Follow us on twitter at @NatSportUAE