Belardo bounces back in Lockinge
A year after Godolphin's last British Group One victory - Night Of Thunder in last year's Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes - the racing superpower concluded what had already been a good week when Belardo, an 8-1 shot, came with a powerful late run to deny the ever-consistent Euro Charline by a length in this year's race.
When John Ferguson gave up his hobby as a jump trainer and took on the roll as Godolphin's chief executive he stated he would want to be judged by the top-level races the organisation won and, though Belardo is trained by Roger Varian rather than in-house, this was a big tick in the credit column.
The omens were good for the royal blues when, half an hour before the Lockinge, Log Out Island was allowed the easiest of long leads in the Toronado Carnarvon Stakes and never came back to the field. But if Godolphin's wait for a Group One on home soil has been a long one it has been even longer for Belardo, who was winning at this level for the first time since triumphing in the 2014 Dewhurst 18 months ago. If you do not come out and win a Classic after a Dewhurst it is something akin to a failure but as Varian pointed out, the colt probably carried the best form into the race judged on his half-length second to Solow in the QEII at Ascot in October.
"He slightly needs everything to go right for him," said Varian whose own season began so well when Postponed won in Dubai. "But he's got a hell of a turn of foot on him and he's comfortable on this ground."