Dubai: Godolphin’s long-awaited return to the Australian sales as a buyer in 2018 has yielded promising returns in the form of Exhilarates, an exciting winner of the Magic Millions Two-Year-Old Classic at the Gold Coast, Australia, on Saturday.
The Dubai-owned first acquisition at last year’s yearlings sales, after an absence of almost a decade, was the well-bred Snitzel–filly, Exhilarates.
Ridden by Kerrin McEvoy for trainer James Cummings, Exhilarates overcame a slow start and midrace interference to conjure up a rattling run in the final three strides and win by ¾ length from Dubious, the mount of Michael Walker and the Hugh Bowman-ridden Hightail.
The thrilling performance has earned Godolphin its first Magic Million Classic, a $1,9 million (Dh6.97 million) contest which is officially a Restricted Listed event because it is confined to horses sold at the Magic Millions yearling sale.
The win also earned Exhilarates automatic favouritism for the world’s richest two-year-old race, the Group 1 Golden Slipper, run at Rosehill on 23 March.
Trainer James Cummings was quick to laud his back room boys for Saturday’s stunning victory.
“This has been a tremendous effort by the whole team,” he said on the Godolphin website. “But that is the case with many of our young horses as we don’t rush them early in the season and around Christmas they start coming into their own.”
The win that came on Cummings’ 31st birthday also continued a glorious run for jockey McEvoy who earlier this season won the Group 1 Melbourne Cup for Godolphin on Cross Counter. McEvoy also won the Melbourne Cup, Australia’s richest race.