Godolphin conquer America with a big race double

First Breeders' Cup success for stable jockey James Doyle aboard Rebel's Romance

Jockey William Buick celebrates after guiding Modern Games to victory in the $2 million FanDuel Breeders' Cup Mile race at Keeneland in Lexington on Saturday. — Reuters
Jockey William Buick celebrates after guiding Modern Games to victory in the $2 million FanDuel Breeders' Cup Mile race at Keeneland in Lexington on Saturday. — Reuters

By Leslie Wilson Jr

Published: Sun 6 Nov 2022, 8:42 PM

Having swept all before them in the UK this season mighty Team Godolphin turned their sights to the premier Breeders’ Cup Thoroughbred Champions in America on Saturday where they picked up two major victories to add to what has been a phenomenal year for the Dubai-owned racing stable.

Armed with a pair of super fit contenders in Rebel’s Romance and Modern Games, champion trainer Charlie Appleby travelled across the Atlantic from his base in Newmarket to demonstrate Godolphin’s quest for global success.

Both horses took the long journey well and produced their A Games at the historic Keeneland Racecourse in Kentucky to capture the Breedes’ Cup Turf (Group 1) and Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1), which carried a lucrative prize of $ 2 million each.

Rebel’s Romance victory was particularly significant as it brought up a first-ever Breeders’ Cup success for English jockey James Doyle who has been a mainstay of Godolphin ever since he joined the stable in January 2015.

Rebel’s Romance, last season’s UAE Derby (G2) winner at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai,.unleashed a powerful run in the straight to win the 12-furlong contest from Stone Age and emulate previous Godolphin victories in the race by Daylami (1999), Fantastic Light (2001), Talismanic (201) and Yabir, last year.

“It was a tremendous performance from Rebel’s Romance,” said Doyle. “He can be a quirky horse in the preliminaries, but he was good today. Rebel’s Romance has won two G1s in Germany and it’s not easy there. He has run against the best horses they have, so it’s proved there is plenty of strength in those races.”

Appleby added: “I am delighted to finish the meeting off with a winner. From the whole team’s point of view, it’s great to have James (Doyle) get a first Breeders’ Cup win and I’m delighted for him. It’s been a great meeting.”

Doyle’s teammate and close friend William Buick was in the saddle as Modern Romance stormed home to nail the Breeders’ Cup Mile with history-making Modern Games by three-quarters of a length.

Modern Games became the first horse to complete the Juvenile Turf/Mile double, having won the former race last year.

“I always knew he was going to keep running all the way to the wire,” Buick said. “I didn’t need to do anything too brave or fantastic. It was all about getting him into clear sailing.”

"He’s got so many attributes,” said Appleby. “His size - he’s nimble, and I think that’s why he’s always thrived on these tracks. He’s small enough to get through the gaps and neat enough to get around the turns. No matter where he is, you always think he’s going to get there.”

It was a successful Breeders’ Cup meeting for Team Godolphin who on Friday won the Juvenile Mile Sprint with Mischief Magic.

Godolphin, stable with global aspirations, was created by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, in 1994

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