Racing: Dettori adds to Godolphin's cache of Gold

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The Independent Online

Sheikh Mohammed likes to pretend that each race is just one to be won, no different to another, a notch in the woodwork. The Ascot Gold Cup, however, is a mark on something more glorious and antique than a bench and Dubai's crown prince barely hid his delight as Papineau provided his Godolphin creation with a third success in what is a British institution.

Sheikh Mohammed likes to pretend that each race is just one to be won, no different to another, a notch in the woodwork. The Ascot Gold Cup, however, is a mark on something more glorious and antique than a bench and Dubai's crown prince barely hid his delight as Papineau provided his Godolphin creation with a third success in what is a British institution.

It was an addition to the previous two winners which had competed in the Sheikh's personal maroon and white livery. There is a part of England, it seems, which will forever be United Arab Emirates.

The Gold Cup was a race which followed several themes, and potentially various winners. Ingradire, the Japanese horse, was no realistic part of the grand scheme, but he appeared to be playing a significant role as the field swung into the straight. In a instant, however, his part was extinguished.

Mr Dinos, the favourite, squashed the oriental tourist like an ant on the floor and appeared ready to add to his success of 12 months earlier. The engine of last year was not of the same cylinder however, and soon it was the chance of another fancied horse in France's Westerner to swoop to the front.

Elie Lellouche's charge could have been expected to leap and bound from that point but, he found himself in the same field as Papineau. The Godolphin horse was pointed down the inside rail by Frankie Dettori and reacted, like an arrow.

By the time he hit dead centre the Dubai team's horse was a length and half to the good, and the prospect of him being lauded the best stayer in training was being set in concrete. That, though, is not enough.

The suggestion is that this was no stepping-stone across the river and that Papineau will now attempt to cross the divide in one huge jump. The four-year-old will not be contained to contests featuring the relative plodders but drop down to the most exciting and competitive of middle-distance races.

"The King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes is definitely a possible," Simon Crisford, the Godolphin racing manager, said. "We always felt we were taking a big risk in running here as he is much more of a mile-and-a-half horse. He's in a lot of races over that trip, including the Arc de Triomphe.

"The stamina issue was in the back of our minds, but there was only one winner turning into the straight. Great credit must go to Frankie, who rode a great race."

Dettori was not deplorable either in the Ribblesdale Stakes, in which Punctilious proved she is hardy as well as talented, bouncing back from her sapping third place in the Oaks to beat Sahool by one and a half lengths. The Godolphin team had promised us there was more to come later in the week and here was reality to back up the theory.

"It was obvious she didn't act at Epsom as her legs were going everywhere," Dettori said. "She hated the track and she's very clever as well as tough and pulled herself up.

"She came out of that race well and is her own person. She doesn't like too much whip, but I always thought I was going to pick the leader up and I'm glad that we have put Epsom to bed. People said our filly didn't stay, but that's not true. I kicked today and I thought 'come and get me', as I knew she stayed."

One of the meeting's bankers rode to the rescue when Blue Dakota came up the Ascot straight faster in the Norfolk Stakes than his trainer, Jeremy Noseda, who was an earlier ingredient of the royal procession. "It's a big relief to have won, but I thought he would have won even more easily than that," Noseda said. "He has got the physical scope to go on and he's a strong, very well developed horse so is at an advantage at this stage. We'll really go for it this year and just see what else turns up to take him on."

RICHARD EDMONDSON

Nap: Red Bloom

(Royal Ascot 3.45)

NB: Unscrupulous

(Royal Ascot 5.30)

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