Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, was at Godolphin's headquarters in England today to personally oversee Rewilding's last piece of work before the St Leger next Saturday. The three-year-old colt is the favourite for the final Classic of the season and Sheikh Mohammed is at Newmarket with Mahmood al Zarooni, the Emirati jockey, and Simon Crisford, Godolphin's racing manager, to oversee preparations ahead of the one-mile-and-six-furlongs contest at Doncaster.
Frankie Dettori has won three of the last five renewals and will be hoping Rewilding can help him to a sixth triumph overall this time. He had to settle for second on Kite Wood last year as fellow Godolphin stablemate Mastery landed the honours but he looks to have a straightforward choice this time. Rewilding blasted away his rivals in the Great Voltigeur, traditionally the leading Leger trial, and has been installed as the favourite for Classic glory.
The colt is part of Godolphin's new production line whereby Andre Fabre, the racing operation's French trainer, hand-picks certain horses to join Godolphin's Newmarket operation. Meanwhile, Awzaan, Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid's superstar two-year-old, will try to get his career back on track when he makes a fairly low-key return in a listed race at Haydock on today. Last season's dual Group Two victor has not been seen since tamely losing his 100 per cent record on his seasonal reappearance in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket on May 1.
However the colt, trained by Mark Johnston, is reported to be ready to do himself justice in the Betfred "Goals Galore" Superior Mile at the Merseyside venue after a spell on the sidelines. "He's had a long lay-off. Obviously he ran no sort of race in the Guineas," said Angus Gold, racing manager to Sheikh Hamdan. "He wasn't great when he got back and then they found he had tweaked a suspensory, so he's had plenty of time off for it to settle down.
"He's been back in work quite a while now and Mark feels this is the right place to start him back. "We don't know what his trip is yet.The only time we've run him over a mile he ran no sort of a race, so we didn't learn anything. "All his previous form was over six furlongs. It's a learning curve. "I know it's a bit late in the year for that, but that was nobody's fault. We'll just see what happens and it will tell us where we go from here."
Elsewhere today, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed's Sea Lord lines up against the fancied Rip Van Winkle in the Tattersalls Millions-sponsored Group One race at Leopardstown. Meanwhile, Godolphin is doubly represented in the Grade One Forego Stakes by Vineyard Haven, one of North America's leading juveniles in 2008, and Girolamo at Saratoga. They line up in the seven-furlong contest on dirt against nine rivals in a most competitive renewal.