A Great Year of Horse Racing for Godolphin
Godolphin enjoyed another highly successful year, with 589 winners worldwide collecting just over US$37.3m in prizemoney in 2016.
But the true measure of a stable with the global aspirations of Godolphin is the number of Group One winners produced during the season — and an analysis of results for the year just ending makes for satisfying reading.
A total of 11 individual Group One winners were sent out by Godolphin, from stables in the UK (5), Australia (4), United States (1) and Dubai (1).
The headline horses — those capable of capturing the imagination of public and media — were Ribchester and Hawkbill in Europe, Hartnell and Astern in Australia, Tryster while running up a sequence of wins in Dubai, and the mighty Frosted, who blitzed his rivals with an incredible performance to win the G1 Met Mile in New York.
They scaled the peaks during an eventful year that started with the victory of the John O’Shea-trained Holler in the G1 Canterbury Stakes, over 1,300m at Randwick, Sydney, in early March, and concluded with two wins of major significance in Paris in October.
There can be no underestimating the success of the Charlie Appleby-trained Wuheida in the G1 Prix Marcel Boussac at Chantilly and the Saeed bin Suroor-trained Thunder Snow in the G1 Criterium International at Saint-Cloud. Both are exciting Classic contenders for 2017.
John Ferguson, Godolphin’s chief executive and racing manager, said that overall it had been a highly successful year.
“Thanks to the leadership and guidance of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed, Godolphin has achieved much in 2016, and we look forward to 2017 with confidence and optimism.
“Great teamwork internationally has enabled Godolphin to realise the potential of so many good horses in a number of different countries.
“And it is so important that every member of Godolphin understands the following and the backing we receive from Sheikh Mohammed and those in Dubai,” he added.
Hawkbill’s triumph in the G1 Coral Eclipse at Sandown Park (UK) was memorable, and there are high hopes that he can build on that as a four-year-old in 2017. When defeating The Gurkha in July, he was recording his sixth successive win.
The Richard Fahey-trained Ribchester achieved a win of equal merit when landing the G1 Prix Jacques le Marois at Deauville in August, and his subsequent second to Minding at Ascot is indicative of a colt with consistency and the potential to firmly establish himself as Europe’s top miler in 2017.
In America, Frosted retired in November, having won 6 races from 19 starts, but with 6 seconds and 2 thirds also to his name. In the frame in both the G1 Kentucky Derby and G1 Belmont Stakes at three, he proved himself brilliant, gutsy, tough and durable in a long career on the track, and seems destined to be just as successful as a stallion.
In his final season, he won the G1 Met Mile at Belmont by an extended 14 lengths, arguably the most spectacular win at that level in New York in years. He also took the G1 Whitney Stakes at Saratoga.
In Australia, O’Shea sent out Astern to win the G1 Golden Rose at Rosehill, Sydney, and despite two subsequent defeats, the son of Medaglia D’Oro remains a horse of unlimited potential.
Hartnell’s win the G1 Turnbull Stakes at Flemington was another stunning highlight. The performance underlined his great class, which subsequent placings in the G1 Cox Plate and G1 Melbourne Cup emphatically confirmed.
One much-heralded achievement in 2016 was Charlie Appleby’s success with a small team of imports during the Melbourne Spring, which ultimately helped win him an award in the UK for International Trainer Of The Year.
In Melbourne, he won the G3 Geelong Cup, G3 Bendigo Cup, G3 Lexus Stakes, G3 Queen Elizabeth Stakes, and saddled the runner-up in the G1 Caulfield Cup and fourth in the G1 Melbourne Cup. It was quite a year all round.