The all blue silks of Godolphin are now a familiar sight all around the world as the Maktoum family’s very own racing empire encircles the globe in search of victories at the highest level. The only rival to their dominance in Europe at least is from the mighty Coolmore operation based in Ireland, and it is certain to have given the Maktoum family great joy to have stopped their big rival’s star three-year-old Camelot from capturing the Triple Crown, as their very own Enke gatecrashed the party at Doncaster recently.
He was ridden by Mickael Barzelona, but many of Godolphin’s near 200 Group/Grade 1 winners have been partnered by Frankie Dettori, and the Italian’s famous flying dismount has been a regular sight since the operation was put together in 1992, with famous names such as Daylami, Swain, Fantastic Light, Sakhee, Shamardal and Dubai Millennium to name but a handful, getting the Frankie treatment.
The Maktoums have even invented their own Festival of racing, the Dubai World Cup Carnival, which is held every January through March, and is now staged at the recently built Meydan racecourse. The prize-money is massive, and attracts some of the best horses in the world, but on no less than six occasions, the brothers themselves have triumphed, including with the aforementioned Dubai Millennium in 2000, and more recently in 2012 with Monterosso.
Trainer-wise, Godolphin have in the past relied on Saeed bin Suroor to send out a host of winners from his Newmarket base, but over the past couple of seasons we have seen the emergence of another Dubai resident in Mahmood Al Zarooni who trains down the road at Moulton Paddocks.
As you would expect, they only pick the best trainers, and so Andre Fabre was chosen to oversee the French challenge for domination, while the American arm is triple-handed no less with runners stabled with Kiaran McLaughlin, Eoin Harty and Tom Albertrani.
Sheikh Mohammed has been passionate about racing since he was a boy, and could not wait to get involved once allowed. His first ever victory as an owner was with a filly called Hatta at Brighton in 1977, but from such humble success, bigger fish followed, as she went on to capture the Molecomb at Goodwood that year.
And, well before the blue silks were thought of, Sheikh Mohammed’s own maroon and white colours were soon sweeping all before them, courtesy of the superb Clive Brittain-trained filly Pebbles, whose Breeders’ Cup Turf victory in 1985 was perhaps eclipsed by the same owner’s Oh So Sharp who captured the fillies’ Triple Crown in the UK.
However, back to the present day, and in the search for more top-class blue blood, the Jim Bolger-trained filly New Approach, the current favourite for next year’s 1,000 Guineas has been purchased, and it is certain that she will end up at the Dalham Hall Stud where Godolphin breed the next generation of equine superstars. With major stallion farms in Ireland, America, Australia and Japan as well, world domination is the plan, and the boys in blue are well on the way to achieving that goal.