x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Horse racing: Options abound for Guelph after victory down under

Filly's Group 1 victory in Australia was the third win for Godolphin trainer Snowden in last five days, reports Geoffrey Riddle.

Jockey Kerrin McEvoy rides Guelph to a win in the Group 1 Thousand Guineas over 1,600m at the Caulfield Racecourse on Wednesday in Melbourne, Australia. Graham Denholm / Getty Images
Jockey Kerrin McEvoy rides Guelph to a win in the Group 1 Thousand Guineas over 1,600m at the Caulfield Racecourse on Wednesday in Melbourne, Australia. Graham Denholm / Getty Images

This has been a tough season for Godolphin in Europe.

But in Australia, the Darley operation of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, is in red hot form after Guelph became the latest to register a victory at Group 1 level.

Guelph completed a Guineas double for the Darley operation on Wednesday when leading from start to finish in the Group 1 Thousand Guineas over 1,600m at Caulfield Racecourse.

It was the third victory at the highest level in five days for Sheikh Mohammed, trainer Peter Snowden and jockey Kerrin McEvoy following their success on Saturday with Long John in the Caulfield Guineas and Complacent in the Champion Stakes at Randwick Racecourse in Sydney.

Guelph is by the sire Exceed and Excel, who after a career in Australia ran in the 2004 July Cup in Newmarket.

Exceed and Excel also produced Helmet, who raced at Meydan Racecourse and Ascotlast year, and Sheikh Mohammed is set to make a decision as to whether his latest star down under could follow her relatives abroad.

Guelph has the option of running in the AUS$3 million (Dh10.5m) Cox Plate on October 26, but Snowden hopes to keep her in Australia for next season.

“It’s not my call, it’s the team’s decision and I’ve made it known all along that I’d like to stop her now, but the boys will have a talk and we’ll talk to the boss at home and get his thoughts,” Snowden told Racing Victoria.

“She may go overseas, I’m not sure what the plan is but I hope she stays here.”

With three previous victories at Group 1 level Guelph became the most successful Thousand Guineas winner in Australian history.

Snowden trained triple Group 1-winning filly Forensics during the 2007-08 season and believes Guelph is of that standard. In time, she could be better.

“She’ll keep coming on for months, she’s that sort of filly that keeps on improving and her temperament is unbelievable.”

In Europe, Dawn Approach and Farhh are the only two horses to have delivered a Group 1 win for Godolphin this season.

The pair are likely to go forward at today’s final declaration stage for Saturday’s Champions Day at Ascot Racecourse in the hunt for further success.

Both horses have been freshened up since last running, with Farhh looking to defy a layoff in the Champion Stakes of 154 days since he won the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury in May.

Dawn Approach is in line to make up for a 69-day break after losing out to Moonlight Cloud at Deauville in mid-August by running in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, Europe’s most valuable mile race at £1 million (Dh5.8m)

With heavy rain at Ascot yesterday, both horses will have to be at their peak if they are to prevail on soft ground.

“Dawn Approach is very well and we are very happy with him,” Jim Bolger, the trainer, said. “I am hopeful that he will be able to cope with the softer ground but we won’t be sure until after the race.”

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