Racing: Magic returns for Godolphin

The talk about Godolphin has been so funereal recently that it was a little surprising that Team Dubai did not turn up for play this week with the accoutrements of black armbands added to their piercing Royal blue colours.

The impression that a thousand deaths have been visited on the brigands from Arabia is nothing but a historical illusion. When a Lottery winner fails to follow up the following Saturday it is hardly considered a surprise, yet Godolphin have been mourned simply for falling behind the quite unsustainable standards of recent years. We can now stop spraying them with pity following a double for Saeed bin Suroor and the boys yesterday which made the former bobby the leading trainer at the meeting. Royal blues now refers exclusively to the Godolphin silks.

Godolphin did not accept the reverses of a fledgling campaign as the wish of Allah. They did not wander off dolefully into the desert interior, but immediately culled what are considered to be the four-legged cadgers in the system, while introducing some promising juveniles. The class of '97 was found to be wanting and the underachievers were summarily expelled.

"The reaction to our setbacks was quite understandable because for three years we have had a fantastic time," Simon Crisford, the racing manager of Godolphin, said yesterday. "As soon as things got a little bit sticky, people wondered what had happened and what had gone wrong.

"But we always knew that the horses were of an inferior quality than the ones we had in recent years. In addition, a lot of the horses last year had a hard time because they were campaigned very aggressively and it may be that a lot of them didn't come back, didn't recover from what we asked them to do last season."

So badly had the Godolphin horses run, in fact, that extensive tests were conducted on them. They all returned clear. Sheikh Mohammed, the group's sponsor, eventually took his predicament to the temple of a retiring guru. "When I visited Dick Hern he said `Sheikh Mohammed these things will come and go and you will never know'," the owner reported. "So I just stopped, looked and waited and this is what has happened."

What happened first yesterday was that Asfurah bolted forward in the Windsor Castle Stakes and then Predappio beat the millionaire Pilsudski in the Hardwicke Stakes. Both should have been ridden by the suspended Frankie Dettori, whom some thought unlucky. He wasn't, in the same way a burglar is not unfortunate when he gets free cinema tickets after he has been put under lock and key. He wasn't either because he still managed to win the trophy for the leading jockey at the meeting with four wins.

Gary Stevens was hardly an inconsolable figure himself after Predappio's victory. The jockey was later banned for two days for excessive use of the whip on Danetime in the Wokingham (a similar ride would have been punished under the non-triers rule in his native America), but the memory he will carry home is of his mount's fightback to win the Hardwicke. "Fortunately I found a horse with a bigger heart than I've got," he said. "That rates right up there with my Kentucky Derby wins. The thrill, the fanfare, has been just great all week long and to be part of walking into the winners' enclosure is a big thrill for me."

Following the feast of Royal Ascot we get the hiccup this afternoon in the shape of the Heath meeting, so called because it is not as important as it thinks it is.

An interesting contestant here is Bishops Court (next best 2.30), who was raised 13lb for a Chester victory over some moderate opponents, the sort of assessment that threw logs onto the fire of injustice which burns fiercely within Jack Ramsden. The husband of trainer Lynda was so pessimistic before the gelding ran at York last Saturday that it must have been a source of astonishment to him that the horse returned home alive. Now the message is rather more upbeat. "We don't think he quite got home over six at York last week and this stiff five should suit him better," Lynda Ramsden said yesterday. "I'm happy with his draw (stall six) and we know he likes this ground because he won on it at Chester."

Neither will the ground be a major discomfort to WINTER ROMANCE (nap 3.35), who is ready to win, while others to consider for those box-bound this afternoon are Selfish (2.00) and Monza (3.00).

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Kieron Richardson plays gay character Ste Hay in Channel 4 soap Hollyoaks
tv

Regular cast member Ste Hay, played by Kieron Richardson, is about to test TV boundaries

Life and Style
tech
Life and Style
techPerils of 'text neck' revealed
News
i100
News
Stonewall CEO Ruth Hunt
peopleStonewall boss says many fear it could ruin their careers
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Argyll Scott International: FP&A Manager Supply Chain

Benefits: Argyll Scott International: Argyll Scott is recruiting for a Permane...

Austen Lloyd: Commercial Property NQ+

£30000 - £50000 per annum + EXCELLENT: Austen Lloyd: COMMERCIAL PROPERTY SOLI...

Argyll Scott International: Retail Commercial Finance Analyst

Benefits: Argyll Scott International: Due to further expansion, a leading inte...

Langley James : Senior Technician; Promotion & Training Opp; Borough; upto £32k

£27000 - £32000 per annum + training: Langley James : Senior Technician; Promo...

Day In a Page

Synagogue attack: Fear unites both sides of Jerusalem as minister warns restoring quiet could take 'months'

Terror unites Jerusalem after synagogue attack

Rising violence and increased police patrols have left residents of all faiths looking over their shoulders
Medecins sans Frontieres: The Ebola crisis has them in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa

'How do you carry on? You have to...'

The Ebola crisis has Medecins sans Frontieres in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa
Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Residents in what was Iraq’s safest city fear an increase in jihadist attacks, reports Patrick Cockburn
Underwater photography competition winners 2014 - in pictures

'Mysterious and inviting' shot of diver wins photography competition

Stunning image of cenote in Mexico takes top prize
Sir John Major: Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting

Sir John Major hits out at theatres

Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting
Kicking Barbie's butt: How the growth of 3D printing enabled me to make an army of custom-made figurines

Kicking Barbie's butt

How the growth of 3D printing enabled toy-designer to make an army of custom-made figurines
Will Smith's children have made waves with a gloriously over-the-top interview, but will their music match their musings?

What are Jaden and Willow on about?

Will Smith's children have made waves with a gloriously over-the-top interview, but will their music match their musings?
Fridge gate: How George Osborne keeping his fridge padlocked shows a frosty side to shared spaces

Cold war

How George Osborne keeping his fridge padlocked shows a frosty side to shared spaces
Stocking fillers: 10 best loo books

Stocking fillers: 10 best loo books

From dogs in cars to online etiquette, while away a few minutes in peace with one of these humorous, original and occasionally educational tomes
Malky Mackay appointed Wigan manager: Three texts keep Scot’s rehabilitation on a knife-edge

Three texts keep Mackay’s rehabilitation on a knife-edge

New Wigan manager said all the right things - but until the FA’s verdict is delivered he is still on probation, says Ian Herbert
Louis van Gaal: the liberal, the enemy and... err, the poet

Louis van Gaal: the liberal, the enemy and... err, the poet

‘O, Louis’ is the plaintive title of a biography about the Dutchman. Ian Herbert looks at what it tells us about the Manchester United manager
Isis in Iraq: Baghdad hails the retaking of the Baiji oil refinery as the start of the long fightback against the Islamist militants

Isis takes a big step back

Baghdad hails the retaking of the Baiji oil refinery as the start of the long fightback against the Islamist militants
Bill Cosby: America’s beloved TV ‘dad’ or serial rapist?

Bill Cosby: America’s beloved TV ‘dad’ or serial rapist?

Ukip silk bow ties, Green Party T-shirts, and 'Iron Baby' romper suits: How to shop politically

How to shop politically

Ukip silk bow ties, Green Party T-shirts, and 'Iron Baby' romper suits
The science of sex: What happens when science meets erotica

Sex on the brain

Fetishes, dominatrixes, kinks and erotica. They are subjects that should get the crowds flocking to a new exhibition at the Wellcome Collection