Godolphin sound out warning to rivals

Dubai: British Classic success may have eluded Team Godolphin at Newmarket this weekend, but the all-powerful Dubai-owned stable nonetheless succeeded in sending out a strong message to their rivals in securing a bagful of significant wins at the historic race track.

Wild Illusion and Soliloquy finished fourth and sixth in the 1,000 Guineas (Group 1), the second Classic of the season following Saturday’s 2,000 Guineas (G1), in a race won by 66/1 outsider Billesdon Brook under an emphatic ride by Sean Levey.

The winner, who is trained by Richard Hannon Jr., came with a powerful run from the back of the 15-horse field to win by 1¾ length from second placed Laurens, the mount of Pat McDonald who picked up his first Group 1 victory aboard the Karl Burke-trained filly when winning the Fillies Mile last October.

Charlie Appleby, who trains both Wild Illusion and Soliloquy was humble in defeat told Racing ITV: “They ran their hearts out and I couldn’t be happier with them.

“We’ll see how they come out of the race and go back to the drawing board to make plans for the future. There is still so much to look forward to.”

Appleby has been in rude form since the season began last month and has amassed 38 wins thus far. Five of these have come at this week’s Guineas Festival, where he saddled four winners on the opening day on Saturday.

Godolphin’s famous Royal Blue silks visited the winner’s enclosure on Sunday when Breeders’ Cup heroine Wuheida made an eye-catching return to the UK to land the Group 2 Dahlia Stakes. In what was her first run since taking the Filly & Mare Turf (G1) at Del Mar last November, Appleby’s filly was pulled clear of her rivals for a four-length success under William Buick.

Appleby said: “Her work has been great. She looked great and everyone was very happy with her.

“The only concern was that she was a bit short of work. She’s entitled to come forward a good bit (for that run).”

Meanwhile, Sean Leavy was struggling to keep his feet on the ground after winning his first British Classic aboard Billesdon Brook. “It’s a massive shock, to be honest,” said the jockey.

“When she ran in the Nell Gwyn she was a little bit gassy, but that was her first run and I thought she ran well to finish fourth.

“She had a lot to find with a lot of them but she was settled throughout and then found a turn of foot. I kicked on fully two furlongs out, which I thought might be a bit early, but I didn’t want to disappoint her.

“I’ve had plenty of winners and opportunities but I’ve always needed that Group One, so I’m delighted.”

Hannon added: “This is great. I knew she’d win!

“My Guineas winners aren’t terribly popular with the punters as they tend to be big prices.

“All of our Guineas winners have needed their first run — they tend to get beat in their trials. I’m just delighted for everybody at the yard and delighted for Sean.”