Wednesday 25 April 2018

Thunder can defy inexperience to end Godolphin Classic famine

Scintillating maiden winner can defy his inexperience

Enable races away from her rivals to win the Oaks at Epsom yesterday. Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images
Enable races away from her rivals to win the Oaks at Epsom yesterday. Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

Johnny Ward

Given what might be deemed by non-racing fans the obscene money invested in the sport by Sheikh Mohammed, Godolphin's record in the Classics is an abomination.

The famine goes back to 2013, when Dawn Approach - bought off Jim Bolger - snared the 2,000 Guineas. The year before that, Encke won the Leger but was then banned after failing a drug test.

In 2011, Blue Bunting won the 1,000 Guineas. Her trainer? Mahmoud Al Zarooni, disgraced and serving an eight-year ban, 11 of his horses having tested positive for anabolic steroids around two years after the filly's triumph.

Though his fourth wife, Princess Haya of Jordan, owned 2008 Derby winner New Approach, Sheikh Mohammed - who set up Godolphin in 1992 - has never won the Derby. Meanwhile, Coolmore has won it six times this century, its first winner, Galileo, by far the most significant.

Today could be the day that the boys in blue emerge best in a duel with John Magnier's empire that does not involve some outlandish fee for a yearling. In Newbury maiden winner Dubai Thunder, ridden by Adam Kirby, Saeed Bin Suroor may have his first Derby hero since Lammtarra.

No doubt it is asking alot of a horse which had just one run, when sluicing in by ten lengths on May 17. There was cut in the terrain that day; it is not expected to be an issue, being good now.

The son of Dubawi was quite keen then and the way he burst clear suggested be could be anything. He is by the best stallion around apart from Galileo and a half-brother to English Champion Stakes winner Farhh.

Aidan O'Brien runs six and the pick of them looks to be that of Ryan Moore. The antepost selection in this paper some time ago, Cliffs Of Moher seemed a little rusty in scoring at Chester, yet that Dee Stakes win will likely have brought him on bundles.

Frankel is represented by both Cracksman, which seems a horrible price at 5/1, and Eminent, the third-favourite. Neither seems good enough. With a field if 19, luck in play will be key, and Adam Kirby will have to have some form of a plan for Dubai Thunder.

The Derrinstown trial form hardly looks good enough, though Capri is capable of running a big race, while the Dante also seems to have gotten more kudos than the form deserves.

The Investec Private Banking Handicap is the opening heat and Tartini, a relatively rare three-year-old by Giant's Causeway in these parts, looks the one. He may need to settle better, but has been running with credit in genuine trials for the big race itself.

Stablemate Laugh Aloud will be many people's lock in the Princess Elizabeth Stakes. The Dubawi filly was superb in her Goodwood success on latest, rendering her the class act now.

The Diomed Stakes is replete with some well-known steeds. Here Comes When, which seemed better than ever on his reappearance at York, can follow up for Andrew Balding.

The sprint handicap, the fastest race run in Britain, could go the way of A Momentofmadness, which was available at 20/1 last night.

His draw is fine and, considering his sluggish start, he did well to finish second at Goodwood last month.

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