Breeders’ Cup 2021 – Godolphin Team Look Strong Once Again
Godolphin’s Intended Runners For The 2021 Breeders’ Cup Assessed
Godolphin’s esteemed global operation is the second most successful in Breeders’ Cup history. This year, seven runners will carry the famous royal blue colours at Del Mar, six of them under the care of Charlie Appleby. The owners will be looking to add to the $15,000,000 they have won since the Breeders’ Cup’s inception in 1984.
ALBAHR & MODERN GAMES – (12:30am Del Mar, Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf)
Keep the coffees flowing for a late night, as the first two Godolphin representatives run in the Juvenile Turf at 12:30am on Saturday morning.
ALBAHR is unbeaten since his debut at York, racking up four victories, all as an odds-on favourite. He won’t be quite so short in the market this time, but has shown his aptitude for transatlantic travel by winning the Group 1 Summer Stakes at Woodbine in Canada. In doing so, he beat Grafton Street, a rival in this contest and is firmly in the reckoning to follow up here.
MODERN GAMES has remained on British soil, progressing to win the Tattersall’s Stakes at Newmarket last time. He is currently rated 3lb superior to his stablemate, and so looks the likelier mount of Appleby’s no.1 William Buick. All of his wins have come on a sound surface too, suggesting he’ll cope with underfoot conditions should they prove particularly quick.
MASTER OF THE SEAS & SPACE BLUES – (10:20pm Del Mar, Breeders’ Cup Mile)
After narrowly missing out on Classic glory in the 2,000 Guineas, MASTER OF THE SEAS hasn’t quite kicked on to new heights. However, this race delivered an enormous shock last year when Order Of Australia returned at 40/1. This three-year-old is less than half that price and may be more at home on the firmer ground this weekend. He is far from discounted.
SPACE BLUES has been a gem for connections, winning two Group 1s in France, as well as races in the UK and Saudi Arabia. He was a cosy winner of the Prix de la Foret on Arc weekend most recently, making it three wins for the year. That said, the globetrotting superstar will have to prove his aptitude for a mile, as he is usually a seven furlong specialist. Nevertheless, he will be bidding to win in his fourth country worldwide and is in the form of his life.
WALTON STREET & YIBIR – (11:40pm Del Mar, Breeders’ Cup Turf)
WALTON STREET is another of Godolphin’s global flag-bearers. Newmarket is his home only in name, as his 2021 has seen him race thrice in Dubai (winning twice), finish third in a German Group 1 behind Arc winner Torquator Tasso, and then win his first top-level prize in emphatic style in the Canadian International. His hardiness and durability will stand him in very good stead against a high calibre of opposition.
YIBIR has been a slow-burner for the yard this year, but a gelding operation in May has contributed to three wins in four subsequent starts. That includes a victory in the Jockey Club Derby Invitational at Belmont Park and highlighted his aptitude for fast American tracks. This looks an extremely strong field, with six European runners, but few have been improving at the rate of Yibir.
ESSENTIAL QUALITY – (12:40am Del Mar, Breeders’ Cup Classic)
The only Godolphin runner at the meeting trained in the USA, ESSENTIAL QUALITY, won last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and has been defeated only once. He is now a four-time Group 1 winner, but despite his virtually unblemished record, he is not the favourite. His trainer, Brad H Cox, had four winners at the 2020 Breeders’ Cup and will be confident of Essential Quality following up.