Sheikh Mohammed’s Team Godolphin enjoy historic weekend

Essential Quality, ridden by Luis Saez, wins the 153rd running of the Belmont Stakes
Essential Quality, ridden by Luis Saez, wins the 153rd running of the Belmont Stakes Image Credit: AP

Dubai: What an incredible weekend it has been for Dubai’s Team Godolphin who enjoyed one of their best days ever on the global flat racing scene.

Shortly after Adayar pulled off a shock victory in the Epsom Derby (G1) in England on Saturday evening, Godolphin scored two major victories in America when Essential Quality won the Belmont Stakes (G1) and Althiqa captured the Just A Games Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park.

Essential Quality, who is trained by Brad Cox, duly compensated for the only setback of his career in the Kentucky Derby (G1) by getting the better of Hot Rod Charlie by a length and a quarter at the line. in the final leg of the Triple Crown.

The Godolphin homebred has now won six of his seven starts for the powerful racing stable which was created by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, in 1992.

The Belmont is the third and final race of the American Triple Crown following the Kentucky Derby (G1) and Preakness Stakes (G1).

In a race dominated by the Godolphin fillies, Althiqa delivered an impressive late run to edge out fellow Godolphin hopeful Summer Romance in the Just a Game Stakes.

The pair were meeting for a third time this season having each won Group 2 races at Meydan during the Dubai World Cup Carnival with Althiqa winning the Cape Verdi in January and Saeed Bin Surour’s Summer Romance landing the Balanchine the following month.

Godolphin has now won seven Group 1 races this year from a tally of 239 winners. Overall the stable has amassed 340 Group 1 successes from a staggering 6,815 winners since 1992.

“What a tribute this is for Sheikh Mohammed,” Jimmy Bell, Godolphin USA President told the stable’s website. “This represents his breeding and racing program. We are honoured to be part of it and it’s great to be on this stage representing him. It’s just a great day for the Godolphin team.”

Adayar ridden by Adam Kirby wins the Epsom Derby
Adayar ridden by Adam Kirby wins the Epsom Derby Image Credit: AP

Hugh Anderson, Godolphin Managing Director (UK and Dubai) echoes Bell’s sentiment and said: “Winning Group 1 races of the quality of the Derby, the Just a Game Stakes and the Belmont Stakes is testament to the international strength in depth of Godolphin right now. It’s thrilling to be part of this team and wonderful to be able to repay the loyalty and devotion that His Highness Sheikh Mohammed shows to us. I’m ready to be proved wrong but I think this must be one of the best days in Godolphin’s history.”

Brad Cox, who trains Essential Quality was effusive in his praise for the Godolphin Team and its founder and inspiration.

“I want to thank Sheikh Mohammed. He has been supporting us for the last two years and Godolphin is a tremendous organisation, a world-class organisation,” said the American. “We wouldn’t be here without this great horse and his support, so I really want to thank him.”


Godolphin winners since 1992


Group 1 career successes for Godolphin


races Godolphin competed in