Godolphin eye yet more Group 1 glory with Blair House and Kementari in Melbourne

Charlie Appleby with Cross Counter, and on the right, Blair House and Kementari who are both hoping for glory on Saturday. (Godolphin)
Updated 09 November 2018
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Godolphin eye yet more Group 1 glory with Blair House and Kementari in Melbourne

  • Blair House and Kementari both stand good chances of victory on Saturday.
  • Godolphin still basking in the glory of Cross Counter's Melbourne Cup victory.

LONDON: Having finally won the Melbourne Cup you would think Godolphin would be happy with their lot, but the Dubai-based stable has its sights set on more Group 1 glory in Australia on Saturday. 

Cross Counter memorably came first in the “race the stops a nation” on Tuesday to end a 20-year wait for Godolphin and a 30-year wait for the team’s owner Sheikh Mohammed. That only served to underline the great season the “Boys in Blue” are enjoying, having reached 600 winners for the season at the end of October — when the stable’s highest total, 650, was registered in 2015, the 600-winner mark was reached on 12 Nov.

The week in Melbourne can, however, get even better with Blair House and Kementari both having great chances in the Mackinnon Stakes and Sprint Classic respectively. 

“It has been an incredible week, an experience I will never forget,” Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby said. 

“The number of congratulatory messages, emails and slaps on the back I have received in the last few days should be enough to last a lifetime.

“Best of all, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed is thrilled by the Cup win. He has sent his best wishes and thanks to all the team in Australia, and it will be an honour to take the Cup to Dubai to present to him,” he said.

Victory with Blair House in the Mackinnon Stakes, a race with a rich tradition, would be the icing on the cake for Appleby’s team.

“He is a horse who has kept on improving, and as he came out of the Caulfield Stakes so well, this was an obvious target. He’s had four weeks between runs, and often fresh legs are the most effective at the end of this week,” he said.

While Blair House has the form to claim Group 1 glory, Kementari, although winless since March, certainly has the potential to end that drought in the Group 1 VRC Sprint Classic.

"He's a beautiful colt and he's got a ripping finish," Cummings said on Friday. "I really see him as one of the horses capable of winning this race but it's a race full of depth too and he's going to have to be at his best to beat these horses."

Cummings said it was easy to hide behind poor luck, but he said it was time that Kementari made his own way in a race rather than be dictated to by misfortune.

"We need to see him make some of his own luck and we need to see him get up and win of one of these Group 1s like he did in the Randwick Guineas when he just looked fantastic that day," Cummings said.


FIFA claims progress in letting women attend games in Iran

Updated 18 July 2019
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FIFA claims progress in letting women attend games in Iran

  • Iran will host their first World Cup qualifier in October
  • FIFA wants the issue of women attending men’s games to be resolved before the game

ZURICH: FIFA says Iran’s football federation supports letting women attend 2022 World Cup qualifying games of its men’s national team, though government approval is still needed.
FIFA is working with Iranian authorities to overcome a ban on women entering stadiums for men’s games since the 1979 Islamic revolution.
Some women were allowed to watch the Asian Champions League final in Tehran last November when FIFA President Gianni Infantino also attended.
FIFA wants the issue resolved before Oct. 10 when Iran — the top-ranked team in Asia — hosts its first home World Cup qualifier against Cambodia. The next is March 26 against Hong Kong.
Football’s world body says Iran federation president Mehdi Taj has replied to Infantino saying “the matter has been taken up directly with the minister of sports and youth.”