Dubai: The Dubai-owned Team Godolphin scored a spectacular Group 1 double across the globe when Essential Quality won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Keeneland, USA on Friday before Bivouac streaked home to slam his rivals in the Group 1 VRC Darley Sprint Classic at Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne, Australia on Saturday.
The victories underlined Godolphin’s global ambitions and rewarded them with a pair of top level successes that took their Group/Grade 1 tally to 17 for the year and a staggering 332 overall since the stable was launched in 1992.
Just three years after the Charlie Appleby-trained Wuheida won the Keeneland starrer, Essential Quality took out the 2,000 metre contest for Kentucky-based handler Brad Cox.
In a race that has major implications on the following year’s Triple Crown hopeful, the two-year-old Godolphin homebred made a strong statement with his imposing three-quarter length victory from long-shot Hot Rod Charli who was, followed home by Keepmeinmind in third. Jackie’s Warrior was a fading fourth.
The winner was ridden with confidence by Luis Saez who said: “It’s so exciting to win any Breeders’ Cup race!’
Godolphin representative Jimmy Bell said: “Luis said something like when he got to the three-eighths pole, ‘I knew we were full of running.’ But I said, ‘Well, I wish you could have let us know that because going down the backside, I wasn’t as confident as you were.’”
But Saez revealed that his horse gave him all the confidence he needed.
“I knew there was going to be a lot of speed, so we were in the right spot,” he said. “At the three-eighths he gave me that kick so I knew we had a chance to win the race. He can run all day. He’s a nice horse.”
Essential Quality wasn’t the smartest out of the gate and even briefly collided with another runner that forced him into eighth position just off the pace. But when asked for his effort down the centre of the home straight he stormed through for a comfortable win in the end.
There were some similarities in Bivouac’s victory on the other side of the globe when he slipped into his natural speed inside the final 150 metres to fly past Nature Strip and outrun a classy field.
Nature Strip held on to run second ahead of Libertini and Zoutori.
“I’m very privileged to be sitting on this very good colt,” said the 52-yearold Boss, who was picking up the 28th Group 1 success of his illustrious career.
“Everyone knows how many good colts I’ve been associated with in my career and this one is right up there with them, I’ll tell you. He’s a very special animal.
“I’ve got to say a very big thank-you to James (Cummings) and all the team, Vinny Cox, all the team at Godolphin for giving me the chance of riding this very special colt.
Speaking on behalf of Cummings, Sean Keogh said: “It was a very impressive performance from the horse. He’s got an extremely good nature and that’s why we see him racing as a four-year-old.
“He is a seven-time stakes winner and we’re just grateful to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed (Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai) that we can breed and race and produce horses like this in Australia.”