Caulfield supports Sheikhs

The growing influence of the Maktoum family in Australia was amply illustrated on Caulfield Cup day when five winners on the support card had links to Sheikh Mohammed and his brother Sheikh Hamdan.

Sheikh Mohammed became Australia’s largest owner after buying Woodlands in its entirety in March 2008.  The huge operation has since been honed into an important cog of his well-oiled worldwide organization.

RACE 4 started the ball rolling at Caulfield on Saturday.  Darley homebred Retrieve won the G3 Norman Robinson Stakes and is now favoured to land a ground-breaking Group 1 for Sheikh Mohammed in the Victorian Derby.

Retrieve is by champion sire Rahy who was purchased by the Dubai ruler as a yearling for $2 million in 1986.  He is now in retirement at Three Chimneys Farm in Kentucky after siring 84 stakes winners including Darley’s world champion Fantastic Light.

RACE 5 at Caulfield saw Set For Fame win the G2 Caulfield Sprint for trainer Peter Moody.  She is by Darley sire Reset and was winning a second G2 after the Dane Ripper Stakes at Eagle Farm in June.

Set For Fame will be given the chance for Group 1 glory in the VRC Emirates Stakes on the final day of the Flemington carnival and Moody indicated her long-term goal will be the G1 Railway Stakes in Perth.

RACE 6 was a cliffhanger with Rothera beating Sniper’s Bullet by a nose in the G3 Betfair Stakes.  The winner is prepared by rookie Queensland trainer Ben Currie and has now won 10 of his 23 starts.

Rothera is by Darley stallion Tobougg (Barathea) who was a G1 winner of the 2000 Dewhurst Stakes.  He shuttled for five seasons and, apart from Rothera, has only sired two stakes winner down here – The Pooka (G1 NZ 2000 Guineas) and Le Plunge (G3 WATC Champion Fillies Stakes).

RACE 7 was a gift for front-running Kiwi stayer Ginga Dude in the G3 David Jones Cup.  He had the form on the board after finishing second to Cox Plate contender Wall Street in the G1 Spring Classic at Hastings on October 2.

Ginga Dude is by Sheikh Hamdan’s homebred Istidaad.  A son of Chief’s Crown, he claimed a G1 victory in the 1999 Australian Cup after winning a two-horse war with Intergaze.

Istidaad is still going strong after 11 years at Brian Corbett’s Blue Gum Lodge in Cambridge.  He covers books in excess of 100 every year but his fertility averages below 70%.

RACE 9 on the Caulfield Cup card was the G2 Tristarc Stakes and Culminate had it won when she kicked clear at the top of the straight.  The Elnadim mare was originally trained by Steven McKee and was a G1 winner of the Otaki Maori last year.

Ultra Thoroughbreds owner Sean Buckley bought her in July and the Tristarc victory ensured she will be in the line-up for the G1 Myer Classic at Flemington on October 30.

Culminate is from the second of just two crops by former Westbury Stud shuttler Elnadim.  Another G1 winning homebred for Sheikh Hamdan, he earned his stripes in the 1998 July Cup at Newmarket.