Team Godophin are once again gathering a rich autumn harvest

Chris McGrath
Monday 21 September 2015 12:39

Hype about his rivals has rather distracted attention from Saamidd, but Saturday remains a momentous day for Godolphin. Their leading juvenile meets Frankel and Dream Ahead in the Jumeirah Dewhurst Stakes, while Poet's Voice tries to justify a gamble on his stamina in the Emirates Airline Champion Stakes. Godolphin certainly have a following wind, having celebrated a Group One double for the third consecutive weekend when Rio De La Plata and Biondetti won in Italy on Saturday. In the process, however, they compounded a growing suspicion that a trend has become a cycle.

Until the last weekend of September, Godolphin had mustered four Group One winners around the world. They have since taken their score to 10. In 2009, eight of their 13 elite winners arrived in October and November. Over the three previous years, out of an aggregate of 22, 14 came after August.

Can it be a coincidence that Godolphin are proving increasingly fertile in the final phase of their campaign? There are trainers who tell you that horses returning from the Dubai International Carnival, early in the year, can start growing a winter coat even as the weather here improves. History permits no doubt that Godolphin's migration to the desert can also be a springboard to success early in the season. At the very least, however, this altered profile does seem curious.

Regardless, Godolphin once again have every right to be satisfied with their autumn's work. They will be especially pleased that Mahmood Al Zarooni should have won the second Group One prize of his rookie season with Biondetti. True, the runner-up on Saturday had been beaten in a Goodwood nursery off just 74, but Al Zarooni was heavily involved with Vale Of York last year when that colt graduated from defeat in the same race to pull off a stunning success in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. Biondetti, unbeaten in three starts, may try to follow suit at Churchill Downs next month.

It proved a rather longer weekend for Richard Hughes. On Saturday he had to wait until the last strides of the last race at Wolverhampton, at 9.10 pm, for a winner. And yesterday he had the indignity of seeing Paul Hanagan ride one on his own patch, at Goodwood, to extend his lead in the jockeys' title race to nine. Hughes begins a week off on Saturday and can have found only cold comfort in the fact that Hanagan picked up a one-day whip ban.

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