GOODWOOD, ENGLAND // At the beginning of the British Flat season trainer Clive Cox had high hopes for Averroes, a three-year-old colt in his care. The horse had all the fancy entries, including the Derby at Epsom. One afternoon in May, however, those dreams were shattered when Averroes trailed in eighth of nine at Goodwood behind Godolphin's Rewilding in the Cocked Hat Stakes. Averroes, owned by Sheikh Sultan bin Khalifa, a board member of the Emirates Equestrian Federation, has not seen a racecourse since. This afternoon the Galileo colt bids to get back on the upward curve, and lines up tantalisingly in the opening handicap on the Goodwood card.
Any suggestion that Cox's charge failed to handle Goodwood's unique undulations is immediately dismissed by the trainer. "He broke a blood vessel that day," Cox said. "He didn't run badly because he couldn't handle the track. We've given him a break and nursed him back to health. He's ready to race now." And Cox believes that without that burst blood vessel Averroes' history would look very different now. "If you watch the video of that Goodwood contest he was running a huge race and was in line for a place at the very least. He had some very fancy entries."
Cox has raced 10 of Sheikh Sultan's horses so far this season, the best of which is undoubtedly Balthazaar's Gift, who finished fifth in the Lennox Stakes on Tuesday. The horse was trained during last season's Dubai Carnival at Nad al Sheba by Rod Simpson, a campaign which yielded one victory from four starts. From there, Sheikh Sultan transferred Balthazaar's Gift to Cox's Lambourn yard, from which he won the Hungerford Stakes at Newbury.
"It was thrilling to achieve Group 2 level with Balthazaar's Gift for the Sheikh," said Cox. "After last season we were sent more horses by him. I think we are building a successful relationship." firstname.lastname@example.org