Midshipman - the US reigning two-year-old champion and Godolphin's main Kentucky Derby hope - will miss the Triple Crown after sustaining an injury at the stable's Al Quoz training track this week. In a statement, the Godolphin racing manager Simon Crisford confirmed the son of Unbridled's Song would be rested while he recovers from soft tissue damage to his left fore leg.
The colt had been due to run his three-year-old debut in Thursday's US$250,000 (Dh918,156) Al Bastakiya Listed Stakes at Dubai's Nad Al Sheba. Godolphin had nominated seven runners for the American Triple Crown (consisting of the Kentucky Derby in May, the Preakness Stakes two weeks later and the Belmont Stakes in early June) after taking a seven-year break from starting a horse in the Churchill Downs race.
Midshipman, shipped to the UAE from the US for winter training, was thought to be the highlight of a long-held desire by the Godolphin founder Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to win the 'race for the roses' with a horse prepared in Dubai. "Unfortunately Midshipman has knocked himself, and inevitably this injury will rule him out of the Triple Crown races.
It is a huge shame as he had been pleasing us enormously and was ready to make his reappearance next Thursday," Crisford said. "He is scheduled to return to America in early April, and hopefully he will be back on the track later in the season." Midshipman is one of three big names, purchased by Godolphin at the two-year-old sales in the US last season, being campaigned for the Triple Crown. Hopes that the lauded two-time Group 1 winner and Eclipse runner-up, Vineyard Haven, would shine in the States this spring were dealt a blow last month when the colt faded to fourth in the $50,000 UAE 2000 Guineas allowance race on his debut.
The weight of expectation now falls heavily on the young shoulders of the aptly-named, Desert Party by Street Cry, who, with the jockey Frankie Dettori tellingly on board, took on and beat Vineyard Haven ridden by Godolphin's No 2 pilot, Ted Durcan, in that 2000 Guineas. Godolphin's other Triple Crown nominations include City Style, Regal Ransom, the Del Mar Futurity runner-up Coronet of Baron and the Arlington-Washington Futurity winner Jose Adan, who starts in the Al Bastakiya on Thursday, the final Nad Al Sheba race day before the Dubai World Cup on March 28. Godolphin's best Kentucky Derby finish to date was sixth in 2000 with China Visit.
Only 11 horses have won the three US Triple Crown races consecutively and the feat has not been achieved since Affirmed, trained by Laz Barrera, completed the treble in 1978. firstname.lastname@example.org