Jack The Lad For Godolphin

Trainer John Gosden and jockey William Buick again teamed up to superb effect in the Longines Dubai Sheema Classic as Godolphin’s Jack Hobbs (GB) stormed back to his brilliant best.

Seven years have elapsed since Buick launched his association with Gosden by landing the race on Dar Re Mi, and the now Godolphin-retained rider was sporting his famous blue silks as he strode clear for a two-and-a-quarter-length victory.

The brilliant Irish Derby winner of 2015 was restricted to just two runs last year, and after suffering an injury when pulled up at Newmarket in May, he showed the fire still burns bright when a promising third in October’s British Champion Stakes.

Ryan Moore on Highland Reel (IRE) set the pace in the 2400m Group 1 but Buick was always tanking on Jack Hobbs and he looked the winner for much of the home run.

The slow-starting Seventh Heaven (IRE) came from the rear to take third with last year’s winner Postponed (IRE) a length and three-quarters adrift in third.

Jack Hobbs was Godolphin’s second success of the evening, and Gosden the first non-retained Godolphin trainer to saddle a Dubai World Cup night winner.

The trainer said: “This is a real family affair for Sheikh Mohammed and I am delighted for everyone.

“The horse picked up an injury last year and we couldn’t do much with him but his form at Ascot at the back-end was rock solid with Almanzor and Found.

“The ground tonight has been opened up so Ryan stayed off the rail, which was always going to allow something to come through, but he gave us a nice lead.

“William did as he did on Dar Re Mi and he waited and waited and it has paid off.

“I put semi-blinkers on the horse tonight just to make him concentrate. He has had so much time off that he forgets he is a racehorse and it looking around at who is in the boxes in the stands. He is in no way un-genuine but he was dreaming at Ascot and I just wanted to concentrate his mind.”
Godolphin chief executive John Ferguson added: “This is a great credit to John Gosden and his team and two years ago they made a plan to bring this horse here for this race as a five-year-old, and they have stuck to the plan.

“I am not sure where we will take him next as we just want to enjoy tonight.”

Buick added: “Obviously I'm very pleased with the way the horse has done it. John said to me earlier in the week that he didn't think he had the horse in better shape and he really showed his true colours today. He has shown again that he is a top class colt.

“He had a difficult year last year and John got him back, it's a great training performance. He is a classy colt and we will hear more about him throughout the season.”

Quotes for the Group 1 US$6m Longines Dubai Sheema Classic

William Buick (jockey, Jack Hobbs (GB) 1st) –"My plan was always to follow Highland Reel. Obviously I'm very pleased with the way the horse has done it. John (Gosden) said to me earlier in the week that he didn't think he had the horse in better shape. He was 100 per cent right. The horse really showed his true colours today. He has shown again that he is a top-class colt. He had a difficult year last year. And John got him back, it's a great training performance. He is a classy colt and we will hear more about him throughout the season."

John Gosden (trainer, Jack Hobbs (GB)): "First of all he liked the conditions, good to soft. Secondly, he had a long year off but ran brilliantly in the Champion Stakes, the form was amazing with Almanzor and Found. And then he just trained really well after this race and I was hopeful of a huge performance. So it didn't come as a big surprise, to be quite honest. We knew Ryan would play with the pace and he was very clever as he kept out of the chewed-up ground on the inside and we went wide and we got a beautiful lead off him. And in the straight it was an open horse race and everyone had his chance. And William waited, which was very wise as it is a long straight. He is a very fine horse, it has been a long road back."

Aidan O'Brien (trainer, Seventh Heaven (IRE), 2nd) - "She ran very well. I'm very happy."

Seamie Heffernan (jockey, Seventh Heaven (IRE), 2nd) - "I was a little disappointed when the rain came for all our horses. I think it cost some of them a few lengths. I rode her to run well and she didn't disappoint. She battled. She's a Classic winner and a double Group 1 winner. I was hoping she would be third at least, so I'm very happy."

Andrea Atzeni (jockey, Postponed (IRE), 3rd) - “I was travelling well in the right spot but he didn’t let down like he can on that ground. But to be fair the winner was in a different league tonight. Our horse will come back.”

Adrie De Vries (jockey, Prize Money (GB) 4th) – “I had a lovely run round and thought I might make up a few lengths by coming inside in the straight. It’s just a pity he didn’t hold on for third but it was still a great performance seeing as he came here as a handicapper and leaves having done well against the best middle-distance turf horses.”

Mickael Barzalona (jockey, Earnshaw (USA) 5th) - “He ran well enough.”

Christophe Lemaire (jockey, Sounds Of Earth (JPN) 6th) – “He saved ground on the inside but I don’t really have any excuses other than perhaps he doesn’t handle this ground.”

Ryan Moore (jockey, Highland Reel (IRE) 7th) - “He didn’t run very well and didn’t enjoy the ground.”