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.


Virat Kohli, India praised for ‘perfect finish’ to historic Australia tour

Updated 19 January 2019
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Virat Kohli, India praised for ‘perfect finish’ to historic Australia tour

  • Virat Kohli's team will return home to India triumphant without having lost a Test or limited-overs series
  • The Test victory was India’s first in 71 years of trying in Australia

NEW DELHI: India’s cricketers are being hailed a once-in-a-generation side as the World Cup looms, capping off a “perfect finish” to their historic Australia tour with a maiden one-day international bilateral series victory.
Virat Kohli's team will return home to India triumphant without having lost a Test or limited-overs series — a first on Australian soil.
The Test victory was India’s first in 71 years of trying in Australia, a crowning achievement burnished by another historic first as the visitors clinched the ODI series 2-1 in Melbourne on Friday.
India earlier drew a three-match Twenty20 showdown 1-1 after one match was washed out, ending the tour without losing a series in any format.
“Perfect Finish To Dream Tour,” declared the Mail Today daily on page one Saturday.
“One-Day wonder Down Under,” ran a front page headline in the weekend edition of the Indian Express newspaper. Other Indian dailies called it a “perfect ending” and “series of firsts.”

Virat Kohli enjoyed some downtime at the Australian Open after a successful tour Down Under -- seen here meeting tennis legend Roger Federer with his wife Anushka Sharma. (AFP)


Captain Kohli, riding on a high, is already looking ahead to the World Cup in May, confident his men have hit their stride as the coveted ODI cup looms.
“We are feeling confident and balanced as a side with the World Cup in mind,” the skipper said.
“In all the three series we bounced back in different stages, and I think that builds team character ahead, especially when the World Cup is so near. If everyone contributes at different stages, it is then you win a big tournament.”
The India side is being tipped as one of the best in years.
“The teams that used to come here (to Australia), you can’t compare those teams to this (one),” veteran commentator Harsha Bhogle told broadcasters Sony Six after India’s seven-wicket win in the third ODI.
“It has only happened twice in history that a visiting team has won a Test and ODI series in Australia.”
Indian cricketer-turned-commentator Sanjay Manjrekar also praised their “nonchalant” confidence on foreign soil and pointed to “signs that they are setting themselves high standards” going forward.
Special praise was reserved for veteran wicketkeeper-batsman Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who defied critics to smash an unbeaten 87 and register his third straight ODI half-century.
The 37-year-old had been accused by some of losing his lustre as a finisher but was named man of the series after driving India’s tricky 231-run chase at the MCG.
Legendary batsman Sachin Tendulkar praised Dhoni on Twitter, saying he “once again played the role of the anchor beautifully!.”
India now head to New Zealand for a limited-overs series, starting with the first of five ODIs in Napier on January 23.
The 50-over World Cup begins in England on May 30.