Dubai: Mercurial Godolphin handler Saeed Bin Surour must surely believe that he has his best chance of winning a first Melbourne Cup (G1) — the most coveted prize in Australian racing — after Best Solution won a thrilling renewal of the A$5 million Caulfield Cup (G1) on Saturday.
Worth a staggering A$7.3m, the 2,300 metre contest has long-eluded the Godolphin stable who have endured three runner-up finishes with Central Park (1999), Give The Slip (2001) and Crime Scene (2009).
However, Best Solution, who has now won his last four starts, including a pair of Group 1 races in Germany, has thrown down the gauntlet to his rivals for the Melbourne Cup on November 6 at Flemington.
“The Melbourne Cup is a big race for us, it always has been, and to win it will be a dream come true,” Bin Surour said. “We are aware that it is a very difficult race to win, for various reasons, but we will try.
“After all these years of coming here, and having come close on three occasions, I have always said that we will never give up.”
When His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, launched the Godolphin operation in 1992, the mission was to challenge for the best races on the planet, including the Epsom Derby, Arc de Triomphe, Kentucky Derby and Melbourne Cup.
Godolphin won the Epsom Classic earlier this year, and victory in next month’s Melbourne Cup will cap what has been an epic season for the Dubai-owned stable, who have racked up an incredible 26 Group 1 victories.
Bin Surour, who only last week saddled his favourite horse, Benbatl, to win the Caulfield Stakes (G1), revealed that Shaikh Mohammad had masterminded Best Solutions’ success.
“It was Shaikh Mohammad’s decision to send this horse to Australia and it’s great to see Best Solution come [here] after winning two Group 1 races in Germany,” Bin Surour said.
“It’s very satisfying.”
Best Solution, who prevailed by a short-head from the Liam Howley-trained Homesman, was ridden, like Benbatl last week, by Pat Cosgrave, who was later slapped with an 11-meeting ban for careless riding.
However, Cosgrave will see out the ban in time to resume duty aboard Best Solution in the Melbourne Cup, after making an appearance at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai, for the start of the 2018-2019 UAE racing season.
Commenting on his second successive Australian Group 1 success, the jockey said: “I can’t believe it. I’ve got to give all credit to the horse.
“I got into a nice position but I worked so hard to get where I wanted to be. I was five deep out of the first turn and I had to wait a while to get my position.
“Then I had to commit earlier than I should have. He was there to be beaten.”