We already know that Sheikh Mohammed can rise above cheap shots, but that is just as well because he would never otherwise have chosen as his latest acquisition a filly named Jealous Again.
This filly's runaway success in the Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot qualified her as a pioneer every bit as noteworthy as any of the champions who introduced the sheikh's own international ambitions in the early days of Godolphin.
Jealous Again was one of half a dozen horses brought to the royal meeting by an American trainer named Wesley Ward, whose middling status at home implied that he could be commended for initiative – but not for pragmatism. Two of them won, however, and a third was beaten only narrowly in the Golden Jubilee Stakes. And now the sheikh has rewarded Ward and his patrons for their enterprise by making an offer they could not refuse for Jealous Again.
As usual, no doubt, there will be those who feel uncomfortable to see another small operation "deprived" of a young star. But that is naive. This kind of deal tends to offer critical financial succour to vendors, and the same aggressive policy was vindicated in sustaining Godolphin's early success.
The stable's alarming stagnation since has required the sheikh to concentrate his investment in young stallions, but Jealous Again offers no meaningful genetic legacy. Having exploded clear of her dozing rivals at Ascot, she has been bought for one reason, and one reason only – to run.
Whether she can prolong the advantages of her precocity as the indigenous opposition matures is another matter. Certainly she hardly looks a Classic prospect, though Godolphin's dispiriting recent record at that level prompted the cheapest shot imaginable from one firm of Irish bookmakers, Liam Cashman, who revised her Stan James 1,000 Guineas odds to 25-1 from 16-1. As it happens, it has not yet been formally confirmed where the sheikh intends to stable Jealous Again when she comes to Europe.
Her form is likely to be measured on the opening card of the July Festival at Newmarket next Wednesday, when the next three home at Ascot are all among 11 acceptors for the Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Cherry Hinton Stakes over a sixth furlong. But so, too, is Habaayib, who was herself a striking winner at the royal meeting, beating Lillie Langtry in the Albany Stakes.
The first Group One prize of the meeting, the Abu Dhabi Falmouth Stakes, is also confined to fillies. Top billing will go to Goldikova, winner of the Breeders' Cup Mile, albeit she was disappointing on her reappearance in the spring, and Rainbow View, Spacious and Moneycantbuymelove all performed with distinction at Ascot.
The disciplinary panel of the British Horseracing Authority meanwhile completed its deliberations yesterday in two very delicate cases – so delicate that it postponed publication of their conclusions. Nicky Henderson's punishment, in connection with the dope test failed by one of the Queen's horses, is due to be confirmed this morning. But the fate of those who face charges after walking free from the notorious "race-fixing" trial at the Old Bailey is unlikely to be known until next week.
Darren Williams, admittedly, has already told the trade newspaper that he has had his licence suspended for three months – and also that Fergal Lynch, nowadays riding in the United States, had been fined £50,000. Be that as it may, the man with most at stake is probably Karl Burke, who is enjoying much the best season of his training career to date.
Turf account: Chris McGrath
Some Sunny Day (9.10 Salisbury) This half-sister to Sakhee's Secret looks as though she could be starting her handicap career off a very manageable rating, having progressed with each start in steadily run maidens. A stronger pace should yield a stronger finish.
Alanbrooke (5.05 Sandown) A sequence of promising efforts came to an abrupt end when he was favourite at Ripon last time, but his in-form trainer steps him up to a trip that will suit, and fits a pair of blinkers.
One to watch
Incendo (J R Fanshawe) was narrowly foiled by another unexposed type when trying 12f for the first time at Kempton on Wednesday, but finished four lengths clear of the third.
Where the money's going
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