If I were Sheikh Mohammed …

October 22nd, 2019 | Marten's Current Racing Diary

Hi there

If I were Sheikh Mohammed there would have been a lot of things I would have done differently.

One thing would have been to delegate more and not interfere. Without trust you cannot delegate wholly and in my view, because the Sheikh was taken advantage of in his early days in the sales ring by unscrupulous agents, he chose to observe, learn and then branch out on his own rather than stay with recognised trainers.

He did not build up a bond of trust with people, defaulting to a cynical approach meaning someone had to prove themselves before being accepted into his inner sanctum.

Perhaps that is the way of Arabs, but I would love to know how Sheikh Mohammed feels about the extraordinary situation we have this weekend in the Vertem Futurity Trophy Stakes, one of the season’s most prestigious Group 1 races in the autumn calendar, where there is just one British entry pitched in against 11 from Ballydoyle.

I don’t know how much Sheikh Mohammed paid for his purchases at last year’s yearling sales, and I acknowledge that he has Pinatubo tucked away at home with an official rating of 128, but I would be pretty pissed off not to have a two-year-old that even warranted an entry for such an important race.

The Futurity has produced the last two Guineas winners, and horses of the calibre of  Phoenix Of Spain, Camelot, Kingston Hill and St Nicholas Abbey, in the last 10 years. There must have been something nestling around to carry Godolphin’s famous blue silks.

Having said that, the 108-rated Kameko will provide quite a good guide to the value of the UK form in relation to the Ballydoyle contingent.

Andrew Balding’s son of Kitten’s Joy ran Royal Darnoch, who is entered on Saturday, to a neck in the Royal Lodge having previously run Positive to a nose in the Solario Stakes. Positive was beaten 12 lengths by Pinatubo in the Dewhurst, so we may get something to work on.

On Saturday four colts are rated on 108 – Kameko and Mogul, Royal Darnoch and Year Of The Tiger.

The bookmakers have Mogul long odds-on, but that price is not warranted on either his BHA rating or his speed figures. They’re a canny bunch at Ballydoyle and the ante-post market could give us some clues to stable intentions.

Bye for now