Sheikh Mohammed’s quest to win the Melbourne Cup will have to wait another year but Godolphin’s chief executive insists they will keep trying to win Australia’s greatest race.
The global racing operation had five runners in Tuesday’s race at Flemington from three different stables and two hemispheres, with local John O’Shea-trained Hartnell leading home the Godolphin runners in third.
The Charlie Appleby-trained Geelong Cup winner Qewy ran what his English trainer described as a career best to finish fourth with the Saeed bin Suroor-trained Beautiful Romance next best in seventh.
Sheikh Mohammed has been trying to win the race for almost 30 years and Hartnell’s third was the owner’s sixth placing in the race which includes three seconds.
Despite not winning, Godolphin’s chief executive John Ferguson said they were “absolutely delighted” with how the team had performed.
“From every perspective, Hartnell’s run a blinder,” Ferguson said.
“He’s come into the straight full of running and hasn’t quite got home.
“Qewy, after his Geelong Cup win has stepped up again and ran an absolute blinder to finish fourth. So we’re absolutely thrilled with them.
“Secret Number was a bit too keen. Oceanographer didn’t back up. Chad (Schofield) said he was a bit flat. And the mare (Beautiful Romance) stumbled coming out of the gates.
“Overall, to finish third and fourth is tremendous and from every angle the Sheikh has had a great season and Charlie bringing a team over for the first time has been huge for us.
“We always believed we could come and be competitive. And it’s great that it’s happened. And it’s something we’ll continue to do.”
Ferguson described the Melbourne Cup as the most enjoyable race of the year to be a part of and said for a number of reasons Sheikh Mohammed loves the race.
“The Melbourne Cup, we’ll keep trying to win it,” Ferguson said.
“It’s a tough race to win and that’s what makes it so special.
“It used to be the race that stopped a nation, now it’s the race that stops the racing world.”