Despite all the upheaval Sheikh Mohammad's Godolphin Racing has gone through in the past month, including the well-publicized spat between trainer Saeed bin Suroor and chief executive John Ferguson, and subsequent loss of the latter, the organization came together to score a pair of Group 1 victories on the first day of the Royal Ascot meeting on Tuesday.
The royal blue colors found success in the first race on Tuesday's card when the favored Ribchester scored by 1 1/4 lengths in the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes. Ridden by William Buick for trainer Richard Fahey, based in Yorkshire, the 4-year-old son of Iffraaj has never been worse than third in his career, and the Queen Anne was his second G1 victory in a row.
Tuesday's fourth race, the Group 1 St. James's Palace Stakes, gave Godolphin a one-three finish in the form of Barney Roy and Thunder Snow. Barney Roy, the sophomore son of Excelebration trained by Richard Hannon and ridden by James Doyle, held off Lancaster Bomber by a length at the wire, and Thunder Snow, trained by Saeed bin Suroor and ridden by Christophe Soumillon, was a head behind in third. Favored Churchill, to whom Barney Roy finished second in the 2000 Guineas, was fourth in the St. James's Palace.
“We've had a lot of good milers, horses like Toronado, Toormore and Olympic Glory,” Hannon told The Guardian, “and when they leave, you miss them. It's nice to have that old feel back with a good horse like him, and it's nice to do it for Sheikh Mohammed too. I was disappointed that he was just a bit inexperienced at Newmarket, and that cost him the race. It's not so much revenge, it's the fact that we thought he was a Group 1 winner in waiting and now he's proved that.”
To cap off the day, Godolphin finished one-two in the sixth race, the listed Windsor Castle Stakes. Both juveniles trained by Charlie Appleby, Sound and Silence under William Buick bested Roussel under James Doyle by a neck at the wire.
“Hatta was my first horse and people were surprised when she beat the favourite at Brighton,” Sheikh Mohammed said, referring to his first winning racehorse, who crossed the line first 40 years ago today. “From that day we have moved forward and we are really enjoying it. In life, there is no winning post. You have to keep going otherwise the rest will catch up with you.”
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