Godolphin go into the wilderness


Godolphin last night began scratching all entries for this weekend's racing after five more of the team's runners flopped at York yesterday. Sheikh Mohammed ordered a temporary shutdown following discussions with advisers.

Simon Crisford, Godolphin's racing manager, said: "Quite clearly something is amiss. We will have to go into the wilderness for a short time. The horses are not running their races, they are dying at the three-furlong pole so something must be wrong.''

Five entries for today have been withdrawn, three at Newmarket and two at Newbury. No runners are expected tomorrow or on Sunday. The Dubai-based operation has made its worst-ever start to a Flat campaign - highlighted yesterday by the failure of Classic Cliche. He was tailed-off last in the Yorkshire Cup despite starting a heavily-backed even-money favourite.

Most of Godolphin's runners so far this season have been three-year-olds whose abilities are relatively unknown, but Classic Cliche, winner of the 1995 St Leger and last year's Gold Cup at Ascot, has proved himself at the highest level, which made yesterday's performance all the more significant.

"Frankie Dettori said he went out like a light but he had been working as well as he had at the same stage last year and looked a picture," Crisford added. "We have had three great years and it was only a matter of time before we were tripped over at some time. But we will get the show back on the road as soon as possible."

The crisis overshadowed a fine Cup victory by Celeric and it was unfair on him that the travails of the runners in royal blue distracted attention from this effort. That Celeric would make the frame, far less finish first, seemed unlikely as he turned for home with all eight of his rivals in front of him, but he is a quirky horse who needs to arrive late, and even though Pat Eddery did not hit the front until well inside the final furlong, his mount still had time to shorten his stride and all but allow Mons, the runner-up back in.

Eddery persuaded him to keep going, but incurred a two-day ban for misuse of the whip in doing so. The Gold Cup at Ascot, and with it recognition as the best stayer around, is now the obvious target for Celeric.

There are ambitious plans too for Symonds Inn, the Glasgow Stakes winner, who is now 25-1 (from 100-1) for the Derby on 7 June. Trained in Yorkshire by Jimmy FitzGerald, the colt would be a hugely popular - if highly improbable - winner at Epsom.

Blue Duster, Godolphin's runner in the Duke Of York Stakes, actually managed to reach the frame, and time may show that her failure to overcome Royal Applause was certainly no cause for shame. Barry Hills's colt was one of the best juveniles of 1995, and he now appears to have found his true vocation. The sprinter that can beat him in the July Cup at Newmarket will surely be the best in Europe.

Michael Hills, his jockey, was an excited man after cruising home a length ahead of Farhana. "It was a real buzz to go that fast on a horse," Hills said, "and I don't think I've ridden anything faster. Gallic League was quick but this horse has more class and he'll be very hard to beat in the July Cup.''

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistant - Accounts Payable - St. Albans

£26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...

Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions