Godolphin hit the ground running

Rewilding puts Godolphin's British flat season back on track by galloping into the Epsom Derby picture with a breezy four-length success at Goodwood.

Chabal, ridden by Frankie Dettori, had a poor outing in the Dante Stakes at York Racecourse.
Powered by automated translation

LONDON // Rewilding put Godolphin's British flat season back on track earlier this week by galloping into the Epsom Derby picture with a breezy four-length success at Goodwood in the Cocked Hat Stakes. With that success in hand, the Dubai-based operation now turns its attention to a couple of crucial races at the Irish Guineas festival this weekend at the Curragh.

Rewilding was one of four horses transferred from the Chantilly yard of Andre Fabre, the former champion trainer, to Godolphin's Newmarket headquarters a fortnight ago. Two others race on Sunday Anna Salai in the Etihad Airways Irish 1,000 Guineas, and Cutlass Bay in the Tatersalls Gold Cup. The other horse, Simon De Montfort, is being held back either for Epsom, or more likely for a tilt at the French Derby.

Just a week after Godolphin saw their Derby hopes punctured by Chabal's deflating performance in the Dante Stakes at York, Rewilding, trained by first-season handler Mahmood al Zarooni, gave the team hope of a first success on the first Saturday of June since Lammtarra in 1995. Rewilding cost 500,000 guineas when John Ferguson, the bloodstock adviser to Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, bought him at the Tattersalls sales in 2008. And Sheikh Mohammed is likely to have to dig into his pockets once again because the cost of adding a horse to the line-up for the Derby at this stage is a further £75,000 (Dh393,000), a fee which must be paid by May 31.

No horse has used the Cocked Hat Stakes as a springboard to success in the 1m4f Classic since Troy 31 years ago, which is a surprise because Goodwood's undulating switchback course looks a perfect nursery for the fearsome camber of Epsom. "We thought Rewilding could be a Derby horse but he's only run on flat tracks on soft ground," said Frankie Dettori, having ridden his first British winner for al Zarooni. "He's got an excellent temperament and is a half-brother to Dar Re Mi so he'll be better next year."

Simon Crisford, Godolphin's manager, confirmed that Rewilding would be supplemented and would form the cornerstone to the team's Derby plans. "He coped with the course very well and I was very pleased with the manner of his victory," Crisford said. "The important thing was to see how he handled the undulations at Goodwood and he will be supplemented for the Derby. We will keep Al Zir, Chabal and Ameer in the race following the scratchings deadline [yesterday]."

Anna Salai was supplemented for the Irish fillies Classic at a cost of ?32,500 (Dh147,000) on Tuesday and will be the first runner in Ireland for al Zarooni, who shot to world prominence by winning the Group 1 Godolphin Mile with Calming Influence at Meydan Racecourse on World Cup night. The daughter of Dubawi won the Group 3 Prix de la Grotte at Longchamp in April, quickening brilliantly to quell the challenge of Rosanara, the well-touted, and subsequent French 1,000 Guineas fourth. That acceleration was reminiscent of her sire, who enjoyed unbridled success at the Curragh.

"Dubawi stamps a lot of his progeny with his physical characteristics," Crisford said. "Let's just say there is a lot of Dubawi in her. She's very well and we're hoping for a big run." The UAE-bred Cutlass Bay gave Godolphin their first Group 1 success of the 2010 European campaign when winning the Prix de Ganay at Longchamp earlier this month when trained by Fabre. When he was transferred to the hands of Saeed bin Suroor there were several prominent racing figures who queried the move.

"We have horses all over the world," said bin Suroor in defence. "We have horses in Ireland, France, some with Mark Johnston, and when they are ready, they move to Godolphin." "I train differently to Mr Fabre; I do my own training. I was very happy with Cutlass Bay's workout earlier this week and he's in good condition. He's a very good horse, but it's a very tough race." Cutlass Bay showed a flash of ability as a three-year-old when beating subsequent Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe third Cavalryman and Dubai World Cup third Allybar at St Cloud 12 months ago, but a leg injury curtailed that level of improvement that imprints itself on the consciousness of the racing fraternity and he was all but forgotten.

But under the guidance of Fabre, Cutlass Bay strengthened up during his 11-month convalescence and after a prep run when he snuck home by a head, he delivered a blistering turn to win the Ganay. sports@thenational.ae