Racing: Daylami team cashing in

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The Independent Online
AS DAYLAMI pumped and heaved in the Ascot unsaddling enclosure after victory in the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes on Saturday there was perfect symmetry with his connections. They too were hyperventilating.

The human side of the team was pleased to have collected this most prestigious of championships. They were pleased also to have had their economic judgements confirmed.

Daylami's final race will be the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp in October, for which he is now 11-2 with William Hill. Montjeu is the 9-4 favourite. It will mark the end of Daylami's fourth athletic campaign, with Group One victories at 10, 11 and Saturday's 12 furlongs to his name.

There was sport taking place out there in verdant Berkshire at the weekend. There was also commercialism. "Our primary objective at Godolphin is to produce stallions," Simon Crisford, the racing manager to Daylami's owners, said yesterday. "That's what we're in the game for.

"At the end of last season we felt Daylami had more to give, and he certainly had a little bit more to prove. His victory yesterday, and in the Coronation Cup, vindicated that decision. He's now proved himself a top-notcher over all distances.''

Sheikh Mohammed, Godolphin's leader, may be able to light his fires with whatever currency he chooses, but he does not like to waste money. The idea that he wakes up each morning with the thought of wasting part of his oil-driven revenue is wide of the mark. "It's ridiculous for people to think that," Crisford said. "We're running a business.

"Of course we're involved in a sport of kings but it's still a business. Daylami was purchased first and foremost as a racehorse, but also as a big stallion prospect.''

There was, of course, the usual pantomime in the wake of victory, the warm words for a horse which will soon have to be sold to breeders. Frankie Dettori is no mean jockey, but when it comes to after-sales service there is none better. The Italian talked about riding "the ultimate champion" and added, "He has a turbo. I couldn't believe it.''

Sheikh Mohammed himself was moved to say that Daylami could compare with any of his horses which had won the race, a statement without foundation in the form book. He did add, however, that this might not have been the strongest King George. How true.

Saturday's challenge from the Classic generation was lamentable, Oath and Daliapour matching their form from the Derby, albeit in penultimate and last placings.

Old Daylami though could do nothing much more than win by five lengths. He will retire at the end of this season to the Gilltown Stud in Ireland of his breeder, the Aga Khan. His calling card could quite reasonably be embossed with the title of professional racehorse.

The Queen cast her eye over the field on Saturday in weather which could have had guardsmen fainting at her feet. Oath jig-jogged nervously, Indigenous, the Hong Kong horse, had four men holding him down like bar staff pinning a drunk before the police arrived, but there was one grey particularly unfazed by the occasion. Daylami loped around lazily, in a sort of hammock and cocktails manner.

It might pay to appreciate this devastating display by a five-year-old at the other end of business while we can. Prices at the Keeneland Yearling Sales in Kentucky last week eclipsed even the 1984 and 1985 levels of absurdity with a record average of nearly $600,000 and a top price of $3m for a colt bought by clients of Ballydoyle.

Sheikh Mohammed himself was in attendance for the first time in several years and bought 12 lots for an aggregate of almost $8m. It was reminiscent of the old days when the yearling market was bonkers and horses of any achievement were retired to stud before they could damage their supposed value.

Godolphin, and the Maktoums in general, it must be said, are by no means the worst in whisking stud horses off the stage just after curtain up. It is said that this policy is not about to change. "In the late 70s and early 80s horses were retired because their values were so great they had to stand at stud as opposed to staying in training," Crisford said. "I think that trend has changed.

"Horses have to prove themselves on a racetrack these days to prove themselves in turn as top stallion prospects. They have to to compete to be popular to breeders." It's rather pleasant too when they are competing to be popular to spectators.


(1m 4f King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes)

1. DAYLAMI L Dettori 3-1

2. Nedawi Gary Stevens 8-1

3. Fruits Of Love O Peslier 4-1

Also ran: 9-4 fav Oath, 8-1 Daliapour, 10-1 Silver Patriarch (4h), 20- 1 Indigenous (6th), 25-1 Sunshine Street (5th).

8 ran. 5, 1/2, 21/2, 11/2, 1/2. (Saeed bin Suroor, Newmarket). Tote: pounds 3.90; pounds 1.70, pounds 2.30, pounds 1.80, DF: pounds 12.10. CSF: pounds 25.01. Trifecta: pounds 82.70.