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).

More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete tomorrow
Kim Jong Un gives field guidance during his inspection of the Korean People's Army (KPA) Naval Unit 167
newsSouth Korean reports suggest rumours of a coup were unfounded
Arts and Entertainment
You could be in the Glastonbury crowd next summer if you follow our tips for bagging tickets this week
Life and Style
It is believed that historically rising rates of alcohol consumption have contributed to the increase
food + drink
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Piers Morgan tells Scots they might not have to suffer living on the same island as him if they vote ‘No’ to Scottish Independence
peopleBroadcaster has a new role bringing 'the big stories that matter' to US
Arts and Entertainment
Kylie performs during her Kiss Me Once tour
musicReview: 26 years on from her first single, the pop princess tries just a bit too hard at London's O2
Life and Style
Moves to regulate e-cigarettes and similar products as medicines come amid increasing evidence of their effectiveness
healthHuge anti-smoking campaign kicks off on Wednesday
Life and Style
fashionEveryone, apparently
The erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey has already been blamed for a rise in the number of callouts to the fire brigade for people trapped in handcuffs
voicesJustine Elyot: Since Fifty Shades there's no need to be secretive about it — everyone's at it
Arts and Entertainment
A new Banksy entitled 'Art Buff' has appeared in Folkestone, Kent
Arts and Entertainment
Shia LaBeouf is one of Brad Pitt's favourite actors in the world ever, apparently
filmsAn 'eccentric' choice, certainly
Life and Style
An Internet security expert has warned that voice recognition technology needs to be more secure
techExperts warn hackers could control our homes or spend our money simply by speaking
peopleBenjamin Netanyahu trolled by group promoting two-state solution
Caption competition
Caption competition
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

Senior Marketing Manager - Central London - £50,000

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (Campaigns, Offlin...

Head of Marketing - Acquisition & Direct Reponse Marketing

£90000 - £135000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Marketing (B2C, Acquisition...

1st Line Service Desk Analyst

£27000 - £30000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client who are...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham - Huxley Associates

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Huxley Associates are currentl...

Day In a Page

Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
Witches: A history of misogyny

Witches: A history of misogyny

The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style