World Class: Cup losing run goes on but Godolphin excel

Qewy: top earner for Godolphin’s raiding party, picking up over £250,000

PICTURE: Getty Images Godolphin hit top gear but Cup wait continues By Sam Walker 2:25PM 15 NOV 2016

BRITAIN'S incredible losing run in the Melbourne Cup continued this month as five more names were added to the seemingly endless list of losers, but it wasn't all bad news for the raiders down under.

Godolphin trainers Saeed Bin Suroor and Charlie Appleby had a plan to target a broader range of events this time around and, while they failed to lift the Cup, they dominated the staying races elsewhere.

Qewy started the ball rolling by winning the Geelong Cup four weeks ago and since then Godolpin have added five more Aussie victories, including a big-race double in the Sandown Cup and the Zipping Classic on Saturday.

Godolphin have been trying to win the Melbourne Cup since 1998 without success. But their overwhelming dominance away from the Cup this year suggests they might have opened the door on the next phase of international involvement at Melbourne's Spring Carnival.

Appleby and Bin Suroor landed five of Australia's seven all-age graded races over distances of 1m4f to 2m in the last month. The two they didn't win were the Melbourne Cup and the Moonee Valley Gold Cup.

They did this with a team of seven horses. Six of them – the stayers – arrived with RPRs between 109 and 112. They were joined by Scottish (119), who was an intended runner in the Emirates Stakes over 1m2f before he picked up an injury.

There aren't many opportunities back home for stayers rated 109-112 at this time of year, none of which would match the prize-money this lot managed to pick up for their month abroad, which totalled over £900,000.

It's well established that European horses have an edge over Australians at staying distances and you might say this was an inevitable step for European trainers, who started their Australian odyssey just over 20 years ago.

European fascination

Dermot Weld was the first to highlight the potential for international success by winning the Melbourne Cup with Vintage Crop (1993) and Media Puzzle (2002). Those victories sparked a European fascination with the race and international raiders then became a mainstay.

After back-to-back wins for France in 2010 and 2011 (Americain and Dunaden) it was time for the local trainers to evolve and adapt. The worm had turned and they realised they would face a whitewash if they didn't start buying into European bloodstock.

In 2011 an "unprecedented number" of Australian buyers were reported at the Tattersalls horses-in-training sale and in 2012 and 2013 ex-Brits Green Moon and Fiorente landed the Cup for the home team before Protectionist took it back to Germany in 2014.

Nowadays imports and internationals form the majority of the Cup field and that should prove the new equilibrium until the unlikely event that Aussie and Kiwi breeders adopt a wholesale change of focus from breeding for speed to breeding for stamina.

At present there remains an imbalance between the quality of the endurance horse populations in Europe and Australia and the next step could be for other trainers to follow Godolphin's footsteps by looking to other long-distance races in Australia beyond the Melbourne Cup.

In the past European trainers have run horses in other races only in preparation for the Cup, in an attempt to pick up a penalty to get into it, as consolation for not getting in the Cup or simply as an afterthought.

Planned to precision

What Godolphin did this year was to look at the whole calendar of events beyond 1m4f. They carefully picked their horses, selected runners for every race available to them and they returned to Newmarket this week with a sackful of Aussie dollars.

Being one of the biggest racing operations in the world, and with a wealth of expertise in Britain and Australia, there's a good chance Godolphin can repeat this success next year.

They have plenty of staying horses in Europe in the right ratings band and if they carefully select those with a bit of tactical speed, ready to peak at the end of the season, they can make hay again.

In fact, there are only two things which might prevent this becoming an annual harvest for Godolphin.

First, the Aussie handicapper could treat them a bit more harshly on arrival since most of the races they won were handicaps.

Second, greater interest from other European trainers would increase the quality of competition.

Qewy was the biggest earner for Godolphin's raiding party this year, picking up over £250,000 for his Geelong Cup and Sandown Cup wins and his fourth place in the Melbourne Cup, but his highest RPR from those three runs was a lowly 108.

Beautiful Romance also ran to 108 when winning the big race on Saturday, the Zipping Classic. He travelled well but had to wait for the gaps in the straight before motoring home to get up on the line in a three-way photo with Almoonqith (112) and Big Orange (112).

TOP LIST


Name (country trained)RaceRating
1Arrogate (US)Breeders' Cup Classic136D
2California Chrome (US)Breeders' Cup Classic135D
3Frosted (US)Metropolitan Handicap130D
Winx (AUS)Cox Plate130T
5Almanzor (Fr)Champion Stakes129T
6A Shin Hikari (Jpn)Prix d'Ispahan127T
7A.P. Indian (US)Forego Stakes126D
Limato (GB)Prix de la Foret126T
Postponed (GB)Sheema Classic/Coronation Cup126T
10Aerovelocity (HK)Centenary Sprint Cup125T
Fascinating Rock (Ire)Tattersalls Gold Cup125T
Mecca's Angel (GB)Nunthorpe Stakes125T

TURF


Name (country trained)RaceRating
1Winx (AUS)Cox Plate130
2Almanzor (Fr)Champion Stakes129
3A Shin Hikari (Jpn)Prix d'Ispahan127
4LimatoPrix de la Foret126
Postponed (GB)Sheema Classic/Coronation Cup126
6Aerovelocity (HK)Centenary Sprint Cup125
Fascinating Rock (Ire)Tattersalls Gold Cup125
Limato (GB)Darley July Cup125
Mecca's Angel (GB)Nunthorpe Stakes125
10Chautauqua (Aus)Black Caviar Lightning124
Found (Ire)Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe124
Galileo Gold (GB)St James's Palace Stakes124
Harzand (Ire)Derby124
Highland Reel (Ire)Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe124
Terravista (Aus)Black Caviar Lightning124
The Gurkha (Ire)Sussex Stakes124
Time Test (GB)Brigadier Gerard124

DIRT


Name (country trained)RaceRating
1Arrogate (US)Breeders' Cup Classic136
2California Chrome (US)Breeders' Cup Classic135
3Frosted (US)Metropolitan Handicap130
4A.P. IndianForego Stakes126
5Nyquist (US)Kentucky Derby124
Songbird (US)Cotillion124
7Dortmund (US)San Diego Handicap123
Exaggerator (US)Haskell Invitational123
9Effinex (US)Oaklawn Handicap122
10Lord Nelson (US)Santa Anita Sprint122

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