William Buick rides Sky Hunter to impressive victory as James Doyle’s standing at Godolphin tumbles
GOODWOOD, ENGLAND // Saeed bin Suroor did not carry the air of a man who had just demoted his stable jockey in the winner’s enclosure of this racecourse on the south coast of England.
Godolphin’s long-standing trainer had just saddled Sky Hunter to an impressive victory under William Buick in the Listed Foundation Stakes, a race that he hopes will act as a stepping stone to the Melbourne Cup at Flemington racecourse in November.
Last year, Sky Hunter finished 22nd of the 24 runners in the race under Buick, the jockey more associated with Charlie Appleby’s operation.
Who will ride Sky Hunter in Australia is an entirely different matter, however, and is central to how much of step down James Doyle’s reported standing within Godolphin really is.
It was revealed on Tuesday night by the Racing Post newspaper that Doyle would no longer be the No 1 rider for Bin Suroor’s Godolphin stables.
Bin Suroor was quoted as saying that he would employ the best rider available to him, a phrase that has signalled the end for previous Godolphin riders such as Mickael Barzalona and Silvestre de Sousa.
Doyle has not ridden exclusively for Bin Suroor this season. He is contracted to Godolphin and not his principle patron. For instance Doyle won the Royal Hunt Cup aboard Michael Halford’s Portage at Royal Ascot in June when Bin Suroor had two other runners in the race. And after Wednesday’s declarations, Doyle is set to ride UAE 1,000 Guineas runner-up Promising Run in the Listed Rosemary Stakes at Newmarket on Friday.
Godolphin’s Promising Run is a horse that Buick has ridden before, but she is considered Doyle’s ride and Buick will partner Appleby’s Manaboo and Robert Havlin is in the irons for John Gosden’s Laugh Aloud.
As far as Buick is concerned it is business as usual.
“I still ride for Charlie and will ride my fair share of the other Godolphin horses,” he said after he guided Celestial Sphere to win the opening maiden race for Appleby.
“I am in no position to comment on today’s news because it has nothing to do with me.
“I haven’t heard anything and I doubt my position in the near future will change.”
Bin Suroor revealed that Sky Hunter was the 2,000th winner of his career, a welcome fillip and possible high point to what has been a sorry season for him.
For all Bin Suroor’s success in Dubai over the years, in Europe he is experiencing a drought.
Not since he brilliantly pulled the rabbit out of the hat with the talented yet fragile Farhh in the 2013 Champion Stakes at Ascot has Bin Suroor saddled a Group 1 winner in Europe.
“For the last three years the quality wasn’t really good enough,” he said of his equine stock.
“What has been a positive for me is that the two year olds are doing good and they have showed some class. I hope some of them will become stars.”
Follow us on Twitter @NatSportUAE
Like us on Facebook at facebook.com/TheNationalSport
Published: September 21, 2016 04:00 AM