It must be wet when even one of the most successful racing stables in the world is finding it hard to get spring carnival traction.
If you thought August was lean in Australia for Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s Godolphin outfit, it was.
Yet in a low-key way it was meant to be that way as Godolphin launched stables in Sydney and Melbourne in a rebranding of the sheikh’s Darley racing.
But the transition strategy didn’t factor in a succession of water-logged tracks.
Godolphin horses being scratched from Sydney stakes races over the past three weeks has been commonplace but new trainer John O’Shea was left with no alternative but to run headline filly Earthquake in the mud on Saturday.
The Furious Stakes was a belated spring launch race for Earthquake after she was withdrawn from the Silver Shadow Stakes two weeks earlier because of a wet track.
Earthquake was beaten into third and the sun can’t come out soon enough for Godolphin Australian boss Henry Plumptre.
“Hopefully when we get her back on a good track she can show how good she is,” he said.
And as Godolphin posted a milestone win at the weekend with its 2500th victory around the globe, bloodstock manager Jason Walsh is certain there will be reason for more celebrations in Australia during the spring.
Godolphin and O’Shea had only three winners in the first month of the 2013-2014 racing season but sluggish results in the month of August are nothing new for the stable.
“The last few years we also had a pretty quiet winter with Pete (Snowden),” Walsh said.
“Certainly, internally there’s no pressure to perform in winter. It’s about being there for carnival time.
“With a transition the size of what we’ve had in the last four months the focus has been getting these main Group horses to perform.”
An early spring moment of truth arrives at Rosehill on Saturday.
Godolphin will be out to showcase the depth of its three-year-old colts in the Golden Rose – the first of six Sydney Group One races for the spring.
With Ghibellines in Melbourne for the Danehill Stakes, Godolphin has Kumaon, Sarajevo and Meursault in the running for the $1 million race.
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