Godolphin arrival welcomed

Racing Victoria (RV) Executive General Manager – Racing, Greg Carpenter, has lauded the news that the most famous name in world thoroughbred racing, Godolphin, will become a resident in local form guides as a major tick for Australian racing globally.

Carpenter’s comments come following today’s announcement that Sheik Mohammed’s Australian racing operation will compete under the name of Godolphin, his international racing brand, from 1 August 2014.

Sheik Mohammed’s Australian stable has competed under the Darley brand since his expanded foray into Australian racing last decade. The Darley brand will now be exclusively used for Sheik Mohammed’s breeding operations which include a major stud at Seymour, an hour north of Melbourne.

The change will see Sheik Mohammed’s Australian runners carry the famous Godolphin Blue instead of the maroon and white colours that have been carried to Group 1 success in Victoria by the likes of Earthquake, Sepoy, Appearance, Long John, Guelph and Helmet.

Carpenter said the arrival of the Godolphin brand, which is positioned globally as the representative team of Dubai, would benefit the Australian racing industry on multiple levels.

“As the most recognisable racing stable in the world we welcome today’s announcement that the Godolphin brand will become a resident fixture in Australia from next month. This is a show of faith in Australian racing and a long term commitment that the industry welcomes,” Carpenter said.

“Godolphin have been a regular visitor to Melbourne for the Spring Racing Carnival over the past two decades and the brand is synonymous with the world’s best thoroughbred racing which we believe we offer here in Australia.

“There are other benefits of this transition. International betting on Victorian and Australian racing is a significant growth opportunity for our industry and we believe the Godolphin brand will resonate well with punters looking to bet abroad on our product.

“We look forward to seeing horses running under the Godolphin name all year round in Australia and personally seeing whether the world’s most famous stable can fulfil its long-held ambition to win the world’s best staying race, the Emirates Melbourne Cup.”

In welcoming the announcement, RV has clarified the circumstances under which the stable’s colours will be integrated into Victorian racing, noting some concerns raised in media regarding similarities with the Victorian-based Aquanita Racing.

For clarity, Godolphin stable runners will wear Godolphin Blue in all Victorian races and be described in form guides as such. Aquanita will continue to wear their colours which are registered in Victoria as Aquanita Blue, White Collar, Cuffs & Peak.

Whilst noting that they are different shades of blue, should Godolphin and Aquanita have runners in the same Victorian race then RV’s standard raceday procedure will ensue. That being, the stewards will consult with the judge and racecaller on whether they believe the colours are too close for them to effectively discharge their duties on the day and if so, then preference will be given to Aquanita who were first registered in Victoria.

In such circumstances the Godolphin runner will be asked to carry their second set of registered colours, that being a Godolphin Blue jacket with a white cap – as they have done previously in Victoria with multiple runners in an Emirates Melbourne Cup.

Dermot Weld reflects on Vintage Crop’s passing

Champion Irish trainer Dermot Weld reflected fondly on his grand galloper Vintage Crop, the 1993 Melbourne Cup winner, who died on Monday at the age of 27.

As the first internationally-trained horse to win the Melbourne Cup, Vintage Crop altered the path of the event, his victory shaping the race into the international success it as today.

Speaking on RSN on Tuesday morning Weld praised Vintage Crop as a pioneer.

“It’s a fascinating story because of all the problems that we had to get the horse to Melbourne,” Weld said.

“It was amazing, the whole thing was an amazing feat and it couldn’t have been done without this amazing horse.

“An awful lot of work had to be done to change everything to enable this horse to run in the race.

“It certainly helped anyway but I think what it did, it internationalised if I can use the word, the Melbourne Cup.

“It’s hard for maybe some Australians to appreciate or realise that it wasn’t that well known around the world and Vintage Crop more than anything really moved the Melbourne Cup to where it deserves to be and to where it is, as a major world race now.”

Vintage Crop made the journey to Australia three-times with Weld hinting his galloper was unlucky not to be a dual winner of the world’s most famous 3200m handicap.

“He would have won it the year before only it wasn’t possible to bring him there because of the quarantine rules and the flight paths, so it took us a year to get all that arranged,” he said. “It’s a long, long story.

“He came three times. The second year he was injured and the third year he came back he was third, he was a nine-year-old and he got beaten by what a neck and a-length-and-a-half by Doriemus and Nothin’ Leica Dane.

“I always thought and so did Michael Kinane, who rode him so brilliantly, he was even better the year he was third. He put up a fabulous performance, but for interference over the far side he would definitely won it for a second time.”

Vintage Crop retired after the 1995 Melbourne Cup with the outstanding record of 26 starts for 16 wins and 6 minor placings. He earned $2,165,235, which included two wins over jumps, making him one of the most versatile winners of the Cup.

“He was multi-purpose horse in those days he used to both, but then we gave up the jumping,” Weld said.

“He won the Irish St Leger (2800m) a classic two years running for us; he was the first horse in Ireland to win a million Irish pounds.

“Look, he was an amazing horse, he was very effective over much shorter distances, like he wasn’t an out-and-out stayer.”

Vintage Crop retired to Ireland where he became the main attraction at the Irish National Stud.

“The wonderful thing is he that he ended his career in style the only way it should be, he went to live in the Irish National Stud and he enjoyed his retirement,” Weld said.

“Age began to catch up with him a little bit this year but he was wonderfully taken care of and he to entertain the thousands of visitors who used to come to see him every year.

“He used to lead the parade wearing his Melbourne Cup rug, a rug isn’t even a fair description of it, it’s a fabulous garment, he would lead the parade each year at the Curragh in September before the Irish St Leger and he would just so enjoy showing off how well he looked as a 26-year-old.

“I’d really like to impress how well he was looked after in his final years it was just a joy to see him and visit him and see all the Australian people who used to come and visit with him. It’s a credit to the way he was taken care of.

“He had such courage and its courage that differentiated him from the other horses.”

Story by Sam Doran

Courtesy www.racingvictoria.net.au

Melbourne Cup winner Dunaden retired after setback

Just days after Qatar Bloodstock celebrated a milestone Australian victory, the career of the horse who brought it here is over.

Dunaden, the 2011 Emirates Melbourne Cup hero and 2012 Caulfield Cup champion, was late on Monday confirmed as being retired after suffering a training setback.

The eight-year-old son of Nicobar is owned by Sheikh Fahad al Thani, member of the Qatar royal family, who told Racing Post that Dunaden was central to the evolution of the family’s Qatar Bloodstock operation.

“In winning the Melbourne Cup, Dunaden gave me the most exciting day’s racing I have ever had,” he said.

“Perhaps Dunaden’s greatest legacy is that his success ignited my brothers’ interest to become involved in racehorse ownership.

“His career has played a vital role in the evolution of Qatar Racing, an operation which now has over 200 horses in training worldwide.”

One of those is the Robert Smerdon-prepared Crafty, winner of the Listed Taj Rossi Series Final at Flemington last Saturday. It was the maiden Black Type success in Australia for a Qatar Bloodstock galloper purchased in Australia.

Dunaden scored much bigger wins here. He announced himself to Australian fans with victory in the Geelong Cup at his maiden Australian start and then again emulated fellow French galloper Americain at his next start when he won the Emirates Melbourne Cup.

Dunaden returned the following year to score a historic win under 58kg in the Caulfield Cup.

He then defended his Melbourne Cup crown, but could manage only 14th behind Green Moon and last year ran in Australia’s greatest race for the third time, finishing 11th behind Fiorente.

His Australian successes were the highlights in a career that also netted victory in the 2011 Hong Kong Vase and trainer Mikel Delzangles said he was a horse who would never be forgotten.

“He always showed us that anything is possible when you have a big heart,” Delzangles told Racing Post.

“I owe him so much, much more than just victories. He is a once-in-a-lifetime horse.”

Dunaden retired the winner of 10 of his 46 starts, with a further 20 minor placings helping him amass just short of AU$10 million in stakes.

Story by Brad Bishop

Courtesy www.racingvictoria.net.au

Melbourne Cup winner Vintage Crop dies aged 27

The first European-trained winner of the Melbourne Cup, the Dermot Weld-trained Vintage Crop, has passed away at the age of 27.

The Irish-trained Vintage Crop ridden by Michael Kinane produced a withering burst over the last 800m on a sodden Melbourne November afternoon in 1993 to forever change the shape of the Melbourne Cup to make it a truly international race.

Vintage Crop defeated Te Akau Nick, trained by a young Gai Waterhouse, with New Zealand galloper Mercator filling the minor placing.

Vintage Crop returned the following year to defend his Melbourne Cup title finishing seventh behind imported galloper Jeune. He came back for a third attempt in 1995 when a game third to Doriemus.

He retired after the 1995 Melbourne Cup with the outstanding record of 26 starts for 16 wins and 6 minor placings. He earned $2,165,235, which included two wins over jumps, making him one of the most versatile winners of the Cup.

Vintage Crop was retired to the Living Legends section of the Irish National Stud where he remained a popular attraction until he passed away.

Courtesy www.racingvictoria.net.au

Caulfield Cup path to Flemington for The Offer

Trainer Gai Waterhouse has confirmed ruling Emirates Melbourne Cup favourite The Offer will likely plot his path to the first Tuesday in November through the Caulfield Cup (2400m) in October.

The Offer put on an exhibition gallop at Rosehill over the weekend and Waterhouse told The Daily Telegraph that the Sydney Cup winner was in superb order less than four months out from his main spring target.

“The Offer has pulled up super, and he’s such a strong big gelding. Josh Parr rode him in the (exhibition gallop) and said he couldn’t hold him,” Waterhouse said.

“(Jockey) Tommy Berry was straight on the phone and said, ‘wow, doesn’t he look fantastic?’, and I said, ‘cool your heels, worry about him when you get home’.

Waterhouse is looking to make it back-to-back Emirates Melbourne Cup successes after Fiorente’s win last year, but rather than taking a path through the Cox Plate, like his stablemate in 2013, The Offer will look to go through the BMW Caulfield Cup.

Waterhouse is also eying the Melbourne Cup with Tres Blue, who ran 22nd in the race last year, and Cafe Society, who finished third at his first run for Waterhouse in the Listed Wolferton Handicap (2011m) at Ascot.

But she all but ruled out recent stable acquisition Pornichet, who led-up in the Group 1 Belmont Derby Invitational (2000m) on Sunday before finishing down the track, tackling Australia’s richest race on November 4.

“Then next year when he’s a more seasoned horse, we’ll prepare him for the Cup,” she said.

“Anything could jump out between now and the Cup, but The Offer, Cafe Society, Tres Blue (they’re the main ones).”

She also said she wasn’t concerned by a pre workout tumble that The Offer took ahead of his gallop with stablemate Travolta on Saturday.

“It’s better for it to happen before an exhibition gallop than on an actual race day,” Waterhouse said.

Courtesy www.racingvictoria.net.au