Schiaparelli makes small splash for Godolphin
Stayer stars for the boys in blue who are suffering a Group One drought this year
Friday 31 July 2009
In more ways than one, the people at Godolphin will be hoping that the success here yesterday of Schiaparelli legitimately summoned the expression: Après moi, le déluge. It certainly held true in a literal sense, as his return to the unsaddling enclosure prompted a quite astonishing downpour. For his stable, however, it is critical that the Goodwood Cup also marks an end to the big-race drought that has variously invited sympathy and ridicule within the game.
The absence of Yeats and Patkai left a mediocre field, but Schiaparelli confirmed himself its class act. In the process he became only the fourth Group Two winner in the world for Godolphin in 2009, a year yet to be decorated by a Group One prize.
Simon Crisford, the Godolphin manager, suggested afterwards that the lack of a top-class three-year-old had made the stable "look weak", but the older horses have scarcely made any impact among the elite, either. What is certainly true is that the horses have largely been in good form at their own level, and the juveniles seem to be coming along nicely enough, too.
New recruits could yet freshen up their season, not least Delegator, likely to make his debut for the yard in the Totesport Celebration Mile here at the end of August. But Schiaparelli himself sums up the stable's present string pretty well. He is an honest and accomplished animal who is probably not quite going to cut the mustard at the very top. In fairness, he opened a new door here, seeing out the extra distance every bit as thoroughly as his pedigree had promised. Frankie Dettori kicked the 6-4 favourite clear at the top of the straight and, while Mourilyan did at least dignify the event as a horse race, his sustained challenge took him a dozen lengths clear of the pack without ever menacing the leader. Dettori, riding his 50th Glorious Goodwood winner, held his mount together to hold on by a length.
Crisford indicated that the temptation to turn Schiaparelli into a regular in Cup races might be resisted. "It's more likely that he'll step back to a mile and a half for the Grosser Preis von Baden," he said. "If he ran really well there, he could go back to the Arc. He has had ongoing foot problems, which probably explains why cut in the ground is so important to him."
In the longer term, of course, Godolphin can anticipate renewal from Sheikh Mohammed's heavy recent investment in young stallion prospects. That breeding is an inexact science was reiterated, however, when Kingsgate Native absolved himself of an abject failure at stud with a decisive success in the Audi Stakes.
Kingsgate Native won two Group Ones for John Best before being purchased by Cheveley Park Stud, where he covered 32 mares this year without getting any in foal. He was sent back into training in disgrace, this time with Sir Michael Stoute, and still seemed abashed when running anonymously at Royal Ascot.
Cheveley Park's managing director, Chris Richardson, forgave him that. He said: "He'd been off a while and took his time to get his muscle tone back. We were concerned that having done a different job, it might be difficult for him to go back into training, but he's done what he's done. Obviously, it was disappointing, and extremely frustrating, that he could not fulfil his commitment at stud as he had great support from the breeders. Full marks to Sir Michael and his team, it's fantastic to see him bounce back, and some compensation for the investment in him."
Turf account: Chris McGrath
Cape Rock (8.05 Newmarket) Seems much improved for his new stable, just caught out by a steady gallop when dropped to six furlongs at Ascot last time after winning over this trip on his reappearance at Chepstow. Squeezed up another 2lb here but still has more to offer.
Green Beret (5.45 Goodwood) Some progressive sprinters in this field and this is one of them, related to a couple that thrived with age and racing, and still promising to do so himself.
One to watch
Shamwari Lodge was a painful hard-luck story at Goodwood yesterday, short of room in the straight and still managing to snatch second. Her recent improvement is clearly not over.
Where the money's going
Rainbow View is 4-1 from 6-1 with Paddy Power for the Blue Square Nassau Stakes at Goodwood tomorrow.
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