Godolphin hoping to enhance remarkable Golden Rose record


The Golden Rose is a relatively new Group 1 but few races have such a profound impact on the Australian racing and breeding industry.

For a three-year-old colt, victory in the Golden Rose immediately provides a minimum $20 million-plus price tag and guarantees his future as a commercial stallion prospect. Similarly, if a filly is successful, she becomes a potential broodmare goldmine.

So, when 16 of the best three-year-olds in training line up for the Golden Rose (1400m) at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday, there is more than just the race prizemoney of a cool $1 million at stake.

This Saturday will be the 20th running of the Golden Rose, a race which has quickly established itself as one of the nation’s most influential, breed-shaping races.

In fact, the Golden Rose has become almost a signature race for the Godolphin-Darley racing and breeding operation with wins from Bivouac (2019), Astern (2016), Exosphere (2015), Epaulette (2012) and Denman (2009).

Before Godolphin founder Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum purchased the Ingham family’s Crown Lodge and Woodlands Stud empire, Golden Rose winners Forensics (2008) and Paratroopers (2005) were also products of the racing and breeding program.

Godolphin trainer James Cummings can add to this imposing record when he saddles up the favourites In Secret and Golden Mile in the Golden Rose on Saturday.

Vin Cox, the managing director at Godolphin, said the emergence of the Golden Rose as one of the nation’s most significant races is the result of careful planning and forward thinking by Sydney racing administrators.

“The Sydney Turf Club, as it was known 20 years ago, invested in this race very heavily and threw a bunch of money at it,” Cox said.

“It wasn’t very long until the Golden Rose was elevated to Group 1 level and justifiably so.

“The Golden Rose has become a very important race for Godolphin and it is kind of ironic the type of animal that we breed and that trip (1400m) for three-year-olds there is not that many opportunities.”

Widden Stud has a big representation in the Golden Rose with five runners sired by their stallions – Zoustar, winner of the 2013 Golden Rose, is the sire of Millane and Zou Tiger, plus there is Sejardan (by Sebring), Fast Witness (Star Witness) and Fireburn (Rebel Dane).

Thompson, who also has 2017 Golden Rose winner Trapeze Artist on Widden’s stallion roster, said the Golden Rose has established itself quickly as a breed-shaper because of the quality of colts that have won the race.

“The Golden Rose is Sydney’s (Golden) Slipper for three-year-olds,” Thompson said.

“It is well thought out and well positioned to target those three-year-olds colts in spring and test them at 1400m. The sprinters can carry that speed against their own age.

“There is huge commercial recognition of this race because it is a really nice test at the right time of year and a very important form race.

The colts have the option to go up to the mile (Caulfield Guineas) or come back to 1200m for the Coolmore Stud Classic.

“I think there is a lot of tinkering with races but the Golden Rose is the right race at the right time at the right place – it is a great race.”

Arrowfield Stud supremo John Messara stands super stallion Snitzel, the sire of Golden Rose hopefuls Brosnan and Basquiat, and 2018 Golden Rose winner The Autumn Sun, who’s oldest progeny will be two-year-olds this season.

“A horse can come out of anywhere to make a stallion but the Golden Rose is one of the most important races every season,” Messara said.

“The Golden Rose brings together the most qualified horses so it comes by definition a stallion-making race.

“It is important race and it went through the traditional Pattern process. It worked through the system and now is a very significant Group 1 race.”

Cox is hopeful Golden Mile or In Secret can enhance Godolphin’s already imposing record in the big race.

Golden Mile is pressing for Golden Rose favouritism after winning the Ming Dynasty Quality very impressively the same day as stablemate In Secret claimed the Run To The Rose.

It would be particularly satisfying for Godolphin if Golden Mile won the Golden Rose given the well-bred colt is by Astern.

“I remember Astern winning the Golden Rose as brilliantly as any horse won the race,” Cox said

“Astern at the moment is absolutely flying. His son, Aft Cabin, was huge (winning the Guineas Prelude) in Melbourne last Saturday and Golden Mile was equally as impressive the week before.”

Brilliant filly In Secret isn’t a product of Godolphin’s breeding program but was an astute yearling purchase by Cox who secured the filly with a $900,000 bid at the Magic Millions Sale.

In Secret earned Golden Rose favouritism when she comfortably defeated a quality field in the Run To The Rose.

“We had to zig when we wanted to zag off the back of that very wet track in the Furious Stakes,” Cox said.

“As things have turned out she blew away a very strong field of three-year-olds and has found herself at the top of the market in the Golden Rose.

“To buy one for a lot of money and turn around to win a Group 1 would be fantastic.”