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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 20 February 2019

Godolphin’s Hawkbill takes Tercentenary Stakes but Aidan O’Brien reaches 50 winners at Royal Ascot

Godolphin added to their treble here on Wednesday with Charlie Appleby’s impressive Hawkbill in the Group 3 Tercentenary Stakes, but moments later the limelight was stolen completely by Godolphin’s Irish rivals, writes Geoffrey Riddle.
Jockey William Buick celebrates as he rides Hawkbill across the finish line to win The Tercentenary Stakes at Royal Ascot in Ascot, west of London, on June 16, 2016. AFP / ADRIAN DENNIS
Jockey William Buick celebrates as he rides Hawkbill across the finish line to win The Tercentenary Stakes at Royal Ascot in Ascot, west of London, on June 16, 2016. AFP / ADRIAN DENNIS

ROYAL ASCOT // These are the early stanzas of Godolphin’s long journey back to the top but Thursday’s third day at Ascot showed just how hard that road will be.

Even when the Dubai-based organization are doing everything right they still get overshadowed by Coolmore.

Godolphin added to their treble here on Wednesday with Charlie Appleby’s impressive Hawkbill in the Group 3 Tercentenary Stakes, but moments later the limelight was stolen completely by Godolphin’s Irish rivals.

Aidan O’Brien brought up his 50th Royal Ascot winner with Even Song in the Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes, and then produced the dazzling Order Of St George to crush his Gold Cup rivals.

The victory took Ryan Moore to three wins for the week in addition to his win on Even Song and he sits alongside Frankie Dettori at the top of the standings.

Order Of St George was the highest-rated horse in Ireland prior to the Gold Cup but by the way he went three lengths clear of Henry II Stakes winner Mizzou with Meydan regular Sheikhzayedroad just over two lengths further back showed he can mix it with the best in the world.

More Geoffrey Riddle from Royal Ascot

Related: ‘Start of a good run’ at Royal Ascot as Godolphin’s Ribchester, Usherette and Portage are victorious

Read also: Tepin powers past Belardo to confirm her superstar status in Queen Anne Stakes win at Royal Ascot

Quite over what distance, however, remains to be seen. The Gold Cup is one of the most punishing races in the British calendar at 4,000 metres, and O’Brien suggested afterwards that Order Of St George would be given a break before he was trained for the Irish St Leger at the Currgah in September.

As ever, O’Brien did not rule out a tilt at the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Chantilly in October, nor a defence of his Gold Cup title in 12 months’ time.

“He is just a big Rolls Royce engine,” O’Brien purred. “If he wasn’t going to stay none of the horses were going to.”

It was O’Brien’s seventh success in the Gold Cup, and with 50 winners he stands shy only of Sir Michael Stoute’s 73 of any trainer currently with a licence. O’Brien is naturally too humble to have taken much credit for this latest milestone, but Order Of St George’s part-owner Michael Tabor was on hand to put the garland around his neck.

“I think all of the superlatives have been said about Aidan,” Tabor said. “This win has just endorsed what everybody knows and says – he is one of the greats.”

Godolphin have showed this week that the seeds of recovery are taking strong root and Hawkbill looks a horse worthy of a Group 1 entry.

Godolphin ran three horses in the Group 3 contest with William Buick on Hawkbill and James Doyle on Saeed bin Suroor’s Prize Money, who also looks worthy of stepping up in grade. Martin Lane was given the job of setting the pace, which played perfectly in to Hawkbill’s skill set.

It was Charlie Appleby’s second Royal Ascot winner after last season’s Space Age. “I’m delighted to finally get a winner on the board,” Appleby said. “As they say, you come down here to put some manners on you and I’ve had two days of that.”

The Group 1 Coronation Cup and Commonwealth Cup take centre stage on Friday but all eyes will also be trained on Queen Kindly, who takes her chance in the Albany Stakes.

Queen Kindly, who is owned by Dubai-based businessman Jaber Abdullah, became the first filly sired by Frankel to win this month and will be the great racehorse’s first runner at Royal Ascot.

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Updated: June 16, 2016 04:00 AM

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