x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Godolphin celebrate

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid heaped praise on his Godolphin racing outfit after the stable's success in the St Leger at Doncaster.

Mastery ridden by Ted Durcan, centre, beats Kite Wood piloted by Frankie Dettori, right, to win the  St Leger Stakes.
Mastery ridden by Ted Durcan, centre, beats Kite Wood piloted by Frankie Dettori, right, to win the St Leger Stakes.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, heaped praise on his Godolphin racing outfit after the stable's success in the St Leger at Doncaster on Saturday. Stablemates Mastery and Kite Wood stormed to an emphatic one-two for Godolphin in the 233rd running of the British Classic.

"These are horses, not machines. They're flesh and blood and sometimes you have problems with them," Sheikh Mohammed said. "Everyone at Godolphin is a team player. I'm very proud of them." Godolphin have struggled to give Sheikh Mohammed cause for celebration in Britain in recent years. Saturday's triumph was sweet relief for the stable, having waited five years to taste British Classic success - their first since Godolphin's Rule of Law took the St Leger in 2004.

Although under-performing in Britain, the Godolphin stable has maintained impressive form across the rest of the racing world, adding 40 Group One races to their name during their British Classic drought. "We haven't won a British Classic since Rule Of Law but since that time we have won over 40 Group Ones, so the stable has been performing at the highest level all over the world," said Godolphin racing manager Simon Crisford.

"It is particularly pleasing to win a British Classic as these races are steeped in history and heritage. "British racing is what attracts us to the sport in the first place and racing in this country is the hardest in the world. "Our plans for the future are to compete at the highest level when we have the horses to do so, and we are really looking forward to competing with the best stables in the world."

Kite Wood, ridden by Frankie Dettori, may have been Godolphin trainer Saeed bin Suroor's pre-race favourite, but Ted Durcan conjured a late burst to bring Mastery home in front by three-quarters of a length. Donning his second Classic winners cap in two years, Durcan was delighted to win the Classic again, this time in Godolphin colours. "Everyone in the weighing room wants to ride in races like this. To ride in one is an honour and to win one is great," said Durcan.

"Sheikh Mohammed has been such a help to me over the years and to win a race like this for Godolphin is special." @Email:sports@thenational.ae