Godolphin set sights on glory in English Derby and US Belmont Stakes

Hurricane Lane leading charge at Epsom while Essential Quality carries hopes in New York

Essential Quality trains ahead of the 153rd running of the Belmont Stakes horse race in Elmont, N.Y., Thursday, June 3, 2021. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
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Godolphin have set their sights on two Group 1 prizes in two different continents on Saturday.

The Dubai racing operation of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, has a trio entered in the English Derby while Essential Quality carries their hopes in the final leg of the US triple crown at Belmont Park.

Hurricane Lane, is the choice of William Buick of the Charlie Appleby-trained trio at Epsom.

The Frankel colt is undefeated in three starts and comes into the race on the back of convincing victory in the Group 2 Dante Stakes at York, the leading trial for the Classic. He is joined by One Ruler (James Doyle) and Adayar (Adam Kirby).

“I feel Stall 5 is a nice draw for Hurricane Lane, who is a strong stayer,” Appleby told godolphin.com. “It is the same with any draw, it depends on how you jump, but we saw in the Dante that he is very amenable.

"A good break will hopefully allow William to assess what pace there is and ride the horse how he sees fit – whether he needs to go forward or drop in.”

One Ruler brings excellent form as a juvenile and shaped encouragingly to finish sixth on his seasonal return in the 2,000 Guineas.

“James should be able to pitch One Ruler where he feels comfortable from Stall 11,” Appleby added. “He is stepping up half a mile from the 2,000 Guineas and stamina is a question mark with him. James will have to ride a patient race and being drawn towards the outside will hopefully allow One Ruler to sit where he can get into a nice rhythm.”

Adayar was runner-up in both his starts this year in the Group 3 Classic Trial at Sandown and the Listed Derby Trial Stakes at Lingfield Park.

“We feel that Adayar is going to appreciate this trip and probably further in time,” Appleby said. “Stall 1 is tricky, but hopefully he can be to the fore if he breaks well enough under Adam. Staying is going to be his forte so, if the pace is on and it’s a genuinely run race, his stamina should come into play.”

Aidan O’Brien’s Bolshoi Ballet under Ryan Moore, an impressive winner of his last two starts in Group 3 company, and Jim Bolger’s Irish 2,000 Guineas victor Mac Swiney, ridden by Kevin Manning, are two to watch along with Shadwell’s Mahaafeth and Dubai’s Sheikh Mohammed Obaid’s Third Realm.

Elsewhere, Essential Quality looks to atone for a first career defeat as he tackles a mile-and-a-half distance in the Belmont Stakes.

The Brad Cox-trained Tapit colt was bumped leaving the stalls and endured a wide trip before rallying to cross the line a close fourth in the Group 1 Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 1.

“I am really happy with everything we have seen from Essential Quality since the Kentucky Derby – his weight and energy levels are great,” Cox told godolphin.com.

“He seems to have possibly moved forward physically since the Derby, which is the sign of a good horse.

“Luis Saez [who has ridden him to five wins before his fourth in the last start] has always had a lot of confidence that this distance wouldn’t be an issue with him.

“Tapit has sired three winners of the Belmont and we are hoping that Essential Quality can add to that legacy.”