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Glorious Goodwood

While Saratoga continues apace here, Glorious Goodwood kicks off today in Britain, with a number of Group 2 and 3 races on the card. Tomorrow promises to be Aiden O’Brien’s big day, with Henrythenavigator (pictured) in the Sussex Stakes, looking for his fourth Group 1 win; O’Brien himself will be aiming for number sixteen for the season, after Mastercraftsman won the Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh and Duke of Marmalade collected a win in the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot over the weekend.

Ballydoyle’s seemingly unstoppable rise to the top of the sport has made Godolphin rather glum by comparison; last year their horses only managed six Group 1 victories and they have largely abandoned French and American juvenile racing. The Guardian notes:

But neither debate nor gossip will cease as long as Godolphin’s very evident problems remain. Speculation has now been rife for years. Is it the quality of the bloodstock? Bad purchasing? Intemperate nurturing or injudicious training? Is it connected with the departure of key players, such as Jeremy Noseda and Tom Albertrani?

The only outward concession to this common currency is Sheikh Mohammed’s recent huge expenditure on wholesale breeding operations and nascent stallions. The most striking of the latter purchases provide access to some of Coolmore’s newly successful bloodlines, originating from stallions he is said to have self-defeatingly forswore.

If this is indeed his only response, it may imply that he believes – or has been advised – that the inadequacy lies within his breeding stocks. Time may show his was a brilliant move, the re-forming of an empire in echo of – and challenge to – Coolmore.

While rebuilding for the future seems to be a worthy goal (indeed, it should be a goal of the industry overall to look toward the long term, but only those with the deepest pockets like Godolphin and Coolmore can afford it), it leaves Coolmore as the lone superpower – for the time being.

Goodwood is also serious about the future; they have extensive facilities for children (including a day care for the 0-3 set during Glorious Goodwood) and a club for 5-16 year-olds to get more involved in racing. The activities go beyond race days and including visits to stud farms, other tracks and the chance to meet top jockeys. Take note, NYRA Nation!

Looking only as far as the autumn, it seems Montmartre is questionable for the Arc — he came out of the Grand Prix de Paris ‘stiff‘ and he has missed training. We’ll be keeping tabs on his future progress, but if the ground is OK, it’s still all systems go for his stablemate Zarkava.

Check back tomorrow for more on Glorious Goodwood; Yeats is scheduled for an appearance on Thursday in the Goodwood Cup

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