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.


Francesco Molinari looking for ‘dream’ end to season in Dubai at DP World Tour Championship

Updated 15 November 2018
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Francesco Molinari looking for ‘dream’ end to season in Dubai at DP World Tour Championship

  • 2018 has been an incredible year for Molinari
  • If Molinari wins this weekend, it would make him just the third player in history to win multiple Rolex Series events

LONDON: Francesco Molinari is looking to end a fairytale season by becoming the European No. 1 at the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai, which starts today, and the first Italian to achieve the feat.
2018 has been an incredible year for Molinari, with a maiden Major victory in the Open Championship in July, which followed a first Rolex event victory at the BMW PGA Championship in May. He has also not missed a single cut this season, a run that extends over four years in regular European Tour events.
And in a glorious Ryder Cup for the Europeans, he became the first player from the continent to win five points out of five, while securing the winning point in his singles match against USA’s Phil Mickelson.
Speaking to journalists ahead of today’s tee-off, the Italian said: “It feels incredible, a new position for me, I’ve never been here in the past.
“I think it’s just a consequence and a sign of an incredible season. I would have never guessed that I would be here in this position if you told me in April or May this year but it’s been an incredible summer, topped by an unbelievable Ryder Cup.
“Really, it’s a dream season for me and it’s nice to be here in this position. Hopefully I’ll be able to close it out. I know it’s not going to be easy and I’m not making any assumptions but I’ll do my best on the course to do the job.
And when asked about his prospects of winning the Harry Vardon trophy this weekend, he said: “You can have the best week of your life and win one tournament but to win a competition that lasts throughout the season, with the amount of talent there is right now on the European Tour, is something really hard to do but it’s also still hard to figure out for me how I’m here in this position.”
Molinari needs to finish tied-fifth or better at the Jumeirah Golf Estates to seal the Race to Dubai crown, but Ryder Cup partner Tommy Fleetwood — the man he formed such a strong bond with in Paris — is the only man who can prevent him the perfect ending.
Victory for the Englishman on the Earth Course is the only way he can deny Molinari the title, but the Italian was full of praise for his “best friend” and would not begrudge Fleetwood if he successfully defended his Race to Dubai crown.
“I know we said this and we’re going to sound really cheesy but if I don’t win, I’d rather see him win than anyone else,” he said.
“We really are good friends and he’s had an amazing season. To think that he won last year and to come here, still with a chance to win two in a row, it’s incredible, really.
“So fair play to him. What I can say for me is that it’s been a great season and however it goes this week, I’m still going to have lots of great memories from all of what I’ve done this year, and probably the best memory is what we’ve done together with him in France.
“I can’t really be mad at him, even if he wins.”
If Molinari wins this weekend, it would make him just the third player in history to win multiple Rolex Series events and he praised the introduction of the European Tour’s prestige level of tournaments.
“There’s a few events that we target every year,” he said. “It’s great for us to have the opportunity to play in such special tournaments.
“Especially for guys like me, playing a home event in Italy that is part of the Rolex Series, just gives a completely new meaning to the Italian Open.”