The Australian arm of the worldwide Godolphin thoroughbred organisation will see an influx of up to eight European gallopers to be prepared for the 2017 Sydney Autumn Carnival and ‘The Championships’.
Godolphin’s Australian Manager Henry Plumptre told RSN’s Racing Ahead that the European Team has selected a line-up of horses that will be loaded onto the next plane heading to Australia for trainer John O’Shea to prepare for the Autumn.
“We have eight middle distance horses which have been earmarked to come to John O’Shea,” Plumptre said.
“They are on the next shipment coming out.”
“Ones that we haven’t seen. Horses that have been racing in France, and horses that have been racing in England.”
“We haven’t got a complete list yet but we have been told there are eight coming our way.”
“I think they are in that time-form 90 to 104, 105, which is what the others were they came out. They are in that competitive bracket.”
The well performed Hartnell and Contributer fall into that same category and after arriving from Europe as Group 3 winners at the end of 2014, both went on to become multiple Group 1 winners on Australian soil.
Hartnell was able to win the 2015 Group 1 $1.5m The BMW (2400m) at Rosehill and the 2016 Group 1 $500,000 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington before running second to Winx in the Group 1 $3m Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley and third to Almandin in the Group 1 $6m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington.
While Contributer beat Hartnell in winning the 2015 Group 1 $500,000 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) at Warwick Farm before coming out at his next start to win the Group 1 $500,000 Ranvet Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill.
With the future of Godolphin’s retained jockey James McDonald under a cloud because of his involvement in a betting scandal under investigation by Racing New South Wales Stewards, top English jockey James Doyle has been brought to Australia on a six month vista to cover the hole left by McDonald who has stood himself down from riding pending the result of inquiry.
“We have got him a six-month visa as it is more convenient than getting a month-to-month visa,” Plumptre said.
“If he doesn’t need the full six months then great, if he needs more we will get an extension.
“The particularly difficult period for us is now until the end of May, that fits reasonably with the European season.
“If James (Doyle) stayed with us until the back end of the Brisbane Carnival and then went home, I think that would dovetail quite nicely, that is assuming we don’t have McDonald back by then.
“Until the hearing is heard and we know what penalty, and if there is a penalty, we really can’t make those plans.”
If found guilty of having a bet on a thoroughbred race in which he was competing in, McDonald could face a two year ban.