x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Sheikh Mohammed praised for 'hands-on role' in Guineas triumph

Simon Crisford, the Godolphin racing manager, said Godolphin founder Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, the Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, played an instrumental role in the 1000 Guineas victory of Blue Bunting.

Simon Crisford, the Godolphin racing manager, said Godolphin founder Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, the Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, played an instrumental role in the 1000 Guineas victory of Blue Bunting.

The filly ended the Dubai-based racing operation's nine-year wait for a Guineas winner on Sunday and the Mahmood al Zarooni-trained horse has now been installed as the favourite for the Oaks. Sheikh Mohammed was at Newmarket to see Frankie Dettori pilot Blue Bunting to victory and, according to Crisford, vindicate the founder's handling of the filly.

"Sheikh Mohammed has played a very hands-on role in her preparation," Crisford said. "He has been very involved with the training programme, the strategy and tactics. Sheikh Mohammed will look at individual horses, yearlings and two year olds and decide who trains them. On the big occasions, there is no one better than Frankie. Frankie is the man and Sheikh Mohammed very much wanted him to ride Blue Bunting."

The three year old is now being prepared for the Oaks at Epsom Downs on June 3 where she will hope to succeed Kazzia who won the fillies' double for Godolphin in 2002. "Everything indicates that she will improve as she goes over a longer trip," Crisford said.

Blue Bunting missed the season in Dubai because of a small chip in her ankle and Crisford hailed the job performed by al Zarooni as "fantastic".

The outlook for Saamidd, who has underperformed in his last two outings - both against Frankel - looks less promising after the 2000 Guineas.

"Something must have happened in the race - we don't know what but it happened very early on," Crisford said. "He is out of action for the foreseeable future."

* Compiled by The National staff with agency