Ahead of the Dubai World Cup on Saturday, Saeed bin Suroor shares his predictions on the Godolphin horses to watch out for.
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Godolphin jockey William Buick has gone for potential over experience in choosing Trekking as his mount in Saturday G1 Golden Slipper Stakes at Rosehill.
Buick had the choice of trainer John O’Shea’s two runners in the rich juvenile feature, but went for Trekking despite the colt’s outside barrier braw, leaving the mount on stablemate Veranillo to local rider Brenton Avdulla.
Buick, who arrived in Sydney last week to cover for the injured James Doyle, rode both colts on the training track on Tuesday morning, declaring each of them to have good prospects.
The 28-year-old said he had also studied video of each colt’s races in a crash-course on Australian two-year-old form.
William Buick has ridden in one Golden Slipper and told @SkySportsRadio1 today he feels you need a horse that can quicken off race pressure.— Andrew Bensley (@AndrewBensley) March 14, 2017
In the end, it was Trekking’s last start second when first-up in the G3 Black Opal Stakes in Canberra that swayed him.
“It was very hard to pick between them, I just thought that if he’d had a bit more luck in Canberra last time he could have won,” Buick said.
“He looks like a colt who is gearing himself up for a big one. He hasn’t been in the same company as Veranillo, but he feels like a class colt, I think he’s a horse with untapped potential.”
Trekking will start from the outside gate in the 16-horse field with Veranillo drawing 11.
John O’Shea, who trains both colts, has introduced blinkers to the raceday kit of the four-start veteran Veranillo in a bid to help him find the extra needed to get into the finish of the A$3.5m race.
“Blinkers go on for the first time and they seemed to have the right effect on him this morning in his work at Osborne Park,” O’Shea said.
“He’s drawn a nice gate for his style of racing. There’s a lot of speed inside and there’s a lot of speed outside.
“I think he’s going to be in a nice cruising position about five lengths off the speed and hopefully he can get to the right part of the track.”
UK jockey William Buick elects to ride Trekking despite the barrier draw. The star hoop says Trekking is "a very nice colt" @HorseBettingAU— Todd Davey (@ToddJDavey) March 14, 2017
Like Buick, he was impressed with Trekking’s run in the Black Opal when the colt finished off strongly behind the winner Trapeze Artist at his first run since winning on debut in December.
“I thought his run was outstanding in the Black Opal, he’s a colt with a lot of quality and a lot of class,” he said.
With the likelihood of a rain-affected track at Rosehill on Saturday, the outside gate may prove a blessing for Trekking in a race that has an abundance of early speed.
The fillies Houtzen and She Will Reign are rated the leading contenders and both have wide barriers and natural brilliance, which suggests they will go forward.
Also among the top prospects is the G1 Blue Diamond Stakes winner Catchy who has barrier eight and the Pierro filly Tulip who has 10.
On a day that also featured two stable “quinellas”, it was Buick and It’s Somewhat who scored the biggest success, taking out the G2 Ajax Stakes at Rosehill.
On only the second day of his latest Australian riding stint, Buick produced a gem to get It’s Somewhat home just ahead of New Tipperary.
Buick made all his ground along the fence, hitting the lead 100m out and fighting strongly to the line.
“This is a really honest horse … the further we went, the better he went,” Buick said.
Trainer John O’Shea is likely to seek a G1 victory for the six-year-old in Brisbane later in the year following a win today that took his racetrack earnings to almost A$1-million.
“Ultimately, I’d like to get him to the Doomben Cup,” O’Shea said.
“He ran fourth in it last year and I’m planning to get him there on fresher legs this time.”
O’Shea also expressed his gratitude at having Buick in Sydney as a replacement for James Doyle who is out of action after injuring a hand and knee in a fall last month.
Buick opened his account at Rosehill with success on the French import Spectroscope who was having his first run for O’Shea in the ungraded Schweppes Handicap.
“William rode him beautifully,” O’Shea said.
“We’re honoured that His Highness Sheikh Mohammed has sent him down here.”
The Group-race double was completed by the progressive filly Circular claimed her first black-type success in the G3 Shweppervescence Trophy.
Ridden by Hong Kong’s champion jockey Joao Moreira, Circular lasted by a nose to beat Zasorceress.
Assistant trainer Billy Jackson Stops gave credit for the win to the team effort that had seen Circular pass through Godolphin’s Osborne Park and Crown Lodge stables in Sydney before coming to Carbine Lodge at Flemington.
“She’s benefitted from getting the best of all the expertise that’s available,” Jackson Stops said.
“We’d thought about running her in the G1 mares race in Sydney but John decided this was her level and she’s done everything right to get over the line.”
The remaining winners came at Newcastle where the stable featured in the unusual situation of one of its runners being awarded a race on protest from another Godolphin runner.
Obscura had crossed the line a half-length clear of Istria, but had veered left over the final 100m and taken the running of its stablemate. After an inquiry, stewards duly awarded the race to Istria.
Earlier on the card the Godolphin pair Florid and Ataraxia fought out the finish of the Two-Year-Old Maiden, with the former gaining the verdict.
The remaining winner at Newcastle, and the sixth for the day for Godolphin and O’Shea, was Vigilance in the Class 2 Handicap.