It may have taken him a while but James Doyle finally nailed a career-first British Classic after Coroebus won a thrilling renewal of the G1 2,000 Guineas for Team Godolphin at Newmarket racecourse in the UK on Saturday.
Doyle, who had been left on the verge of tears on several occasions in the past, mastered his nerves in one of the most emotional races he has ever ridden aboard the Godolphin colt to upstage teammate and close friend, William Buick, who was riding the hot favourite Native Trail.
Both horses were trained by big-race handler Charlie Appleby while the Dubai-owned Godolphin operation won the prestigious contest for the fourth time after Mark of Esteem in 1996, Island Sands in 1999 and Dawn Approach in 2013.
Epsom Derby-favourite Luxembourg, ridden by Ryan Moore for 10-time Guineas-winning handler Aidan O’Brien, finished strongly to take third place in the mile.
Doyle paid tribute to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, after his victory.
“All credit to Charlie, he’s an incredible man to learn from and to work for, it’s a privilege to work for him and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed,” an emotional Doyle told ITV Racing.
“My only worry was getting left without any cover but after half a furlong I was pretty happy. He warmed into the race so easily. My God, he’s got potential. The turn of foot he showed there was incredible.”
Appleby was delighted after recording his first 2,000 Guineas win.
“I’m delighted, delighted for the whole team and most importantly His Highness Sheikh Mohammed and Team Godolphin,” Appleby said.
“Coroebus is homebred by Dubawi and I’d like to think I know the Dubawis by now – I’ve had enough of them through my hands – and he’s shown us all the right signs.”
Commenting on Coroebus upsetting the 5/4 favourite Native Trail, Appleby added: “It was always going to be a hard call for William to get off Native Trail and get on him. It’s great for James, who is an integral part of the team, and for him to have his first English Classic winner is fantastic.
For us to be able to provide it is even more special.”
With the pair drawn on opposite sides of the track, they raced wide apart for much of the straight-mile contest, with Buick the first to get work aboard Native Trail.
James on the other hand was able to wait until the furlong marker before he asked Coroebus for his effort and the response was immediate. The Godolphin homebred by superstar stallion Dubawi, responded well and ran hard for a compelling three-quarter length victory.
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