Jockey Kieren Fallon says of the Dubai-based organisation: 'you have to respect them wherever they are and wherever they run,' Geoffrey Riddle reports.
Godolphin on a charge into Super Saturday and Dubai World Cup night
These are lean times for horsemen not associated with Godolphin Racing.
The international operation will have 15 horses running at Meydan's Super Saturday fixture, each competing for a slice of the $US1.7 million (Dh6.2m) on offer across the seven-race thoroughbred card. The two-pronged assault on Meydan by Saeed bin Suroor and Mahmoud Al Zarooni this season has resulted in what some might term a "blue out", in reference to Godolphin colours.
If one Godolphin horse enters the winners' enclosure tonight it will take the operation, set up in 1992 by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to a tally of 26 winners at the region's flagship track this season.
It is a haul that would equal last year's season-ending score.
On February 28, Godolphin dominated the UAE Oaks, filling the first three spots with Shuruq, Lovely Pass and Music Chart. It was the third time in a month they had exclusively occupied the podium.
In Saturday night's feature, Round 3 of the Al Maktoum Challenge, worth $400,000, the scratching of Saint Baudolino has resulted in "only" five horses going to post to represent the two Godolphin trainers. The quintet comprises Prince Bishop, Hunter's Light, Monterosso, Mendip and Kassiano.
"You have to respect them wherever they are and wherever they run," said Kieren Fallon, who has ridden for Godolphin on several occasions this season.
Godolphin's phalanx of runners across the card is led by the returning Dubai World Cup heroes Monterosso and African Story.
Last season Monterosso won the World Cup, and African Story demolished a decent field in the Godolphin Mile. Monterosso runs in the Al Maktoum Challenge compared to last season's prep run in the Dubai City of Gold, which he won. African Story follows the same path as 12 months ago when he won the Burj Nahaar.
Daddy Long Legs, trained by Mike de Kock, won the 2012 UAE Derby and lines up against Monterosso, and Krypton Factor bids to win a second Mahab Al Shimaal ahead of defending his title in the Dubai Golden Shaheen under Fallon in three weeks.
Godolphin have no runners in the Meydan Sprint, and Fallon must be thankful the organisation have decided not to run their crack 1,200-metre sprinters Mental or Emcee and rely only on Time Prisoner in the Mahab Al Shamaal.
Mental, the exciting Australian import, showed his hand when defeating Kavanagh, a subsequent winner, and Krypton Factor in the Al Shindagha last month.
Fallon's confidence must be tempered slightly by the fact that Time Prisoner is not one of a handful in the $200,000 contest that ran behind Krypton Factor in last season's race. Hitchens, who was second, August Rush, who was third, Jaasoos, who was sixth and Alazeyab who trailed home in seventh all return, and Fallon is confident of positive result.
"Krypton Factor showed nothing before the race but saying that, he didn't last year, either," the jockey said. "He was working really bad and ran a much better race than I thought he would and since then he has blossomed and is where we want him."
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