Harayir to hold Godolphin charge

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The Independent Online
Ground-breaking achievements are almost common currency for the Godolphin stable, which has won six Group One races in Britain this season, five more abroad, and is certain to be the most successful in the country when the season closes. Such a highly-motivated team, though, will always move on to new targets, and now there is just one worthwhile record left to break. Surely, Godolphin must now be aiming to finish the year as the most successful yard in the history of the British turf.

No trainer has ever earned pounds 2m in win and place prize-money in a single season. Saeed bin Suroor, Godolphin's trainer, has so far saddled just 32 runners in this country, but more than 70 per cent have made the frame and 10 have returned as winners, giving a total to date of pounds 1,639,585. With two runners in today's Celebration Mile at Goodwood, a major candidate for the St Leger in Classic Cliche, and several other good prizes yet to come, pounds 2m in purses for Godolphin is now a real possibility.

Darnay and Emperor Jones are the stable's representatives in Goodwood's Group Two feature race, with jockey bookings indicating, perhaps a little surprisingly, that the latter is their principal hope. Emperor Jones has not seen a track since finishing seventh in a Grade One event in Tokyo in mid-May (Heart Lake, the winner, was another Godolphin runner), and although he won a Group Two at Newbury last year, his most recent win was in a Dubai handicap.

It is not, on the face of it, a record to take into a struggle with Harayir, the 1,000 Guineas winner. Dick Hern's filly may not be the finest to have taken the Classic, but she returned to her best form at Newbury earlier this month. Emperor Jones and Darnay may fill the minor places, but Harayir (next best 3.10) should take the serious money back to Lambourn.

The word "handicap" features prominently in the remainder of today's televised cards, and the six-furlong sprint at Goodwood appears all but insoluble. In the previous event, though, CELESTIAL KEY (nap 2.00) stands out. Mark Johnston - who has re-employed Jason Weaver as his stable jockey - keeps a close eye on petrol expenses, so the long journey south from Middleham is clearly expected to prove worthwhile. At Newmarket, Twilight Patrol (3.20) and in particular Creative Account (4.20) look sure to go close.

The belief of many off-course bookmakers that nothing will persuade the British to visit a betting shop on Sunday will be put to the test tomorrow, when Goodwood stages the best card on the Sabbath since Newbury's Lockinge meeting in May.

That said, the March Stakes, often a useful St Leger trial, has cut up to just three runners, but Bint Shadayid, the favourite for next year's 1,000 Guineas, has stood her ground for the Prestige Stakes. John Dunlop's filly will no doubt start at very short odds, but whether she deserves to on the evidence of a slowly run maiden at Ascot is debatable. Papering (3.20), a course-and-distance winner, may have a surprise in store for Bint Shadayid's ante-post supporters.

The March Stakes may be a disappointment, but there may still be a significant Leger trial tomorrow. The field for the Grand Prix de Deauville includes Swain, joint-second favourite for the Classic, and Broadway Flyer, runner- up to Moonax at Town Moor last year. It could hardly provide a better benchmark for what is required.

The weekend's biggest prize is at Arlington Park in Chicago, where David Loder's Prince Of Andros is rated a 15-1 chance by the local layers to become the third British-trained winner of the Arlington Million. Sandpit, a former champion in Brazil, is expected to start favourite. Perhaps wisely, Loder has two other runners to cheer for - La Confederation and Port Lucaya will contest other valuable races on the Arlington card.

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