Jockey James McDonald (left) returns to scale on Hartnell after the finishing third in the Melbourne Cup.
Jockey James McDonald (left) returns to scale on Hartnell after the finishing third in the Melbourne Cup. JULIAN SMITH

Godolphin's wait for Cup glory continues

THE Melbourne Cup is being portrayed as a billion-dollar failure for a racing-obsessed sheikh.

Aussie casino founder Lloyd Williams became the first owner to claim five Melbourne Cups when Almandin won in a brilliant finish over Heartbreak City at Flemington Racecourse.

Williams had four runners in the race, one fewer than the sheik in question, who had a record five, including favourite Hartnell.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, aged 67, is vice-president and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates and a horseman himself.

In 2012, he won the world horse endurance championships over a 160km course in Suffolk, England, on the horse Madji du Pont.

He has reportedly spent more than $1 billion over two decades. This included spending more than $500 million in 2008 buying "Australia's biggest racing empire” from the Ingham family.

The sheikh has another big cup link: he set up Emirates Airlines - major sponsors of the Melbourne Cup - in the mid-1980s.

The sheikh, who runs the massive Godolphin racing outfit, began his Melbourne Cup quest in 1998. His 2016 squad of Cup horses was spread over three trainers and three continents.

Charlie Appleby from the England operation told News Ltd: "As His Highness will always say, if you don't win it this year, the race will be on again next year. Godolphin will have more than five Cup runners next year. I might have five Cup runners myself next year.”

Appleby trains Qewy, which finished fourth, and Oceanographer. Godolphin has had three seconds in the Melbourne Cup - Central Park (1999), Give The Slip (2001) and Crime Scene (2009).

NZ HERALD



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