Godolphin has three runners on Wednesday, the first day of the Ebor Festival at York, UK, headed by Barney Roy (Richard Hannon/James Doyle) in the G1 Juddmonte International over an extended 10 furlongs.
Barney Roy was last seen out when the excellent nose runner-up to Ulysses in the G1 Eclipse Stakes at Sandown Park on July 8, when attempting 10 furlongs for the first time.
The three-year-old colt had previously been campaigned at shorter distances, decisively winning the G1 St James’s Palace Stakes over a mile at Royal Ascot on June 20 by a length and finishing the length runner-up to Churchill in G1 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket on May 6.
He began 2017 with a two-length victory in the G3 Greenham Stakes over seven furlongs at Newbury on April 22.
Trainer Richard Hannon commented: “I think York will suit Barney Roy because it is flat and the course will give him plenty of time to get going with his long stride.
“I’d love it if he was the type to go and win by four lengths but he’s not that sort of colt. He always makes it look like he’s struggling but the quicker they go, the quicker he goes.
“He keeps finding and is probably the best horse I’ve trained.”
James Doyle added: “Barney Roy ran a fantastic race in the Eclipse but my worry beforehand – him being an inexperienced horse on that track – was probably about right.
“Sandown is a very tough track, especially against older horses. York will be much more to his liking and you will see a better performance there from him.”
Ulysses and Churchill feature among Barney Roy’s six opponents in the Juddmonte International, along with G1 Tattersalls Gold Cup winner Decorated Knight and Derby runner-up Cliffs Of Moher.
Atty Persse (Roger Charlton/James Doyle) lines up in the G2 Great Voltigeur Stakes over just short of a mile and a half.
The three-year-old’s most recent start saw him fade to ninth in the G3 Bahrain Trophy over 13 furlongs at Newmarket on July 13.
Prior to that, he posted an impressive three-length success in the King George V Handicap over a mile and a half at Royal Ascot on June 22 and began his 2017 campaign with victory in a mile handicap at Sandown Park on April 28.
Trainer Roger Charlton said: “I am happy with Atty Persse’s work and he is looking extremely well.
“I would think he needs to find three or four lengths on the principals in the race to be in with a chance, but he goes to York in good form.
“I think the course and the ground will suit him. Nothing came to light after his run at Newmarket last time – we just have to put a line through it.”
The eight runners for the Great Voltigeur Stakes include G1 Irish Derby second Cracksman and G1 Grand Prix de Paris third Venice Beach.
Penglai Pavilion (Charlie Appleby/James Doyle) runs in a handicap over an extended two miles on the same card.
The seven-year-old is making his first British start of 2017, having last run when the staying-on seventh, beaten eight lengths, in the G1 Sydney Cup over two miles at Randwick, Australia, on April 22.
Here Comes When got the better of hot favourite Godolphin’s Ribchester to run out a shock winner of in the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood.
Having already won the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury and the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot this season, Richard Fahey’s Ribchester was unsurprisingly a warm order to complete a Group One hat-trick, especially after the late withdrawal of dual 2000 Guineas winner Churchill.
The favourite made much of the running in the deteriorating conditions, but William Buick was hard at work in the saddle with two furlongs to run and the Andrew Balding-trained Here Comes When battled his way to the front in the hands of champion jockey Jim Crowley.
Just when it looked as though Ribchester was fading, he rallied to the cause, but while he was making ground again at the finish, Here Comes When held on by a neck. Lightning Spear was third.
Crowley said: “That was fantastic. Fair play to Andrew and Dr Hay (owner) for supplementing him and running him in the race. It was a brave shout and it’s really paid off.
“The rain came and he’s always been a very good horse on soft ground. Before the race I was ticking off the horses I didn’t think would go on the ground and I thought he’d definitely be in the first three.
“He got a nice tow into the race and the weather has played to his strengths. It’s heavy ground and he just loves it.
“It’s nice for him to get his head in front in a race like that.”
“He’s a very decent horse on this sort of ground. You look back through his form and he’s won two Group Twos before, he was fourth in this race a couple of years ago on ground quicker than ideal and he deserved to be in the field.
“I think he came back this year in better form than ever. When he won at York earlier in the year he was very impressive.
“On this ground, he’s stones better than he is on quicker ground.”
A philosophical Fahey said of Ribchester: “William just felt he was dropping away there two down and then he came back again. It’s extreme conditions out there, I was very worried – it’s not for a Flat horse to be racing on, it’s National Hunt horses.
“But he’s run a mighty race and he showed good heart to nearly get back up. Maybe he was a bit lonely in front and half-pulled up a bit, but that’s racing, we live to fight another day. If you could back winners today you’d be a genius, that’s why bookmakers love conditions like this. They get results and they’ve got one today. I’m disappointed, you come here expecting to win and you don’t, so you are disappointed.
“It was a strange race, I’d like to see it again.”
Three-year-old filly Sobetsu goes for further G1 glory in the 10-furlong Nassau Stakes, the feature race on day three of Glorious Goodwood Thursday.
Wuheida was also declared for the race but trainer Charlie Appleby decided to take her out due to the extremely testing conditions after heavy rainfall at Goodwood.
Sobetsu (now the mount of William Buick), by Dubawi and an impressive three-length winner of the 10-furlong G1 Prix Saint-Alary at Deauville on May 14, drops back down in distance after finishing eighth over a mile and a half in the G1 Oaks at Epsom Downs on June 2.
Seven runners are set to line up in the Nassau Stakes and they include Winter, a three-time G1 winner this season, G1 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf scorer Queen’s Trust.
Appleby said: “We are coming back in trip with Sobestu and she won the Prix Saint-Alary on soft ground, so conditions could come into her favour if the rain arrives.
“If she gets her ground and can repeat her performance at Deauville, then she won’t look out of place in this line-up.”
Godolphin also has two contenders in today’s other Pattern race for fillies and mares, with Endless Time (Charlie Appleby/William Buick) and Natural Scenery (Saeed bin Suroor/Jim Crowley) going for the G3 Lillie Langtry Stakes over a mile and three quarters. Five-year-old Endless Time, beaten a half a length when second in the 12-furlong G1 Prix Vermeille at Chantilly last year, steps down in trip after fading to 10th in the G1 Gold Cup over two and a half miles at Royal Ascot on June 22.
Appleby added: “Endless Time won a G2 on soft ground at Haydock last season and will appreciate any rain. She didn’t see out the two and a half miles in the Gold Cup and the drop back in trip is going to suit.
“She has won at Goodwood before and, if she turns up on her A game, she is going to be very competitive.”