Only the occupants of the Queen's Flight get better service than the inhabitants of a Godolphin carrier which landed yesterday with 16 of the most valuable thoroughbreds in training in its belly. The horses that have been pampered in the warmth of the Gulf this winter may have realised that pay-back time was close as they emerged to a cool, grey and blowy Bedfordshire morning.
Godolphin have not as much been cleaning up as disinfecting in Britain's best races over the last three years, and within a week we will know if the pattern is to be continued. Haltarra (Lammtarra's half-brother) and Tulipa are expected to lead off at Newmarket on Friday, while the weekend sees the boys in blue with sound prospects of taking both Guineas. "Everything arrived safely," Simon Crisford, Godolphin's racing manager, said yesterday. "They are all now at Newmarket [at the Moulton Paddocks stables of their trainer, Saeed bin Suroor].
"We haven't finalised plans for the Guineas meeting as we will need to see how the horses are over the next 48 hours, but Shamikh is an intended runner in the 2,000, with Frankie Dettori riding, while Bahamian Bounty will probably wait for the French Guineas. Frankie will ride Moonlight Paradise in the 1,000 with Thierry Jarnet on Ocean Ridge [who is reported to have been working particularly well in the Emirates]."
Bahamian Bounty was nevertheless left in the 2,000 Guineas at yesterday's forfeit stage, with Tycoon Todd making Godolphin three-handed in the Classic. As expected, David Loder's Indiscreet, who has had his troubles this spring, will miss the race. Even so, 23 were declared yesterday for a race which has attracted more than 16 runners only once in the last 14 years. Good ground has been forecasted for the meeting.
Mark Tompkins's finger has not had to travel too far down the jockeys' directory following Pat Eddery's decision to partner Luca Cumani's Poteen instead of his Musical Pursuit. The 16-1 chance aiming to go one better for Flint Cottage stables than last year's short-head second, Even Top, is now to be ridden by Kieren Fallon.
The horse likely to start favourite for the Guineas is Revoque, who has apparently changed his mind about training. Before his reappearance in the Greenham Stakes, Peter Chapple-Hyam's colt was reminiscent of the urchin schoolboy who grinds a fag end under his plimsoll before setting out reluctantly on practice laps of the football pitch. Now, it seems, Revoque's home work is explosive judged by his screaming effort in a workout at Newbury on Saturday.
Henry Cecil, who is probably off Godolphin's Milad Al-Nabi card list, appears to hold the greatest challenge to his old enemy in the 1,000 Guineas for which 18 were declared. It may well take a tug-of-war team to get the trophy out of the Warren Place trainer's fingers as he now saddles three fillies - Sleepytime, Reams Of Verse and Yashmak - in an effort to retain the prize won for him 12 months ago by Bosra Sham.Reuse content