Veteran Italian jockey Lanfranco ‘Frankie’ Dettori has ridden his fair share of Group One winners in his career – nearly 250 at the last count, including a personal best tally of 17 in 2019 – and has the distinction of being the most successful jockey in the history of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. Indeed, in the last three decades, Dettori has ridden in every renewal of the most valuable race in Europe bar 2013 – when a broken ankle sustained in a fall at Nottingham four days before the race prevented him from riding impressive winner Treve – and performed his trademark flying dismount at Longchamp, and Chantilly, six times.
Dettori recorded his first victory in 1995, aboard undefeated Cartier Three-year-old of the Year, Lammtara, trained for Godolphin by Saeed bin Suroor, following the tragic death of his original trainer, Alex Scott. His second and third wins came in rapid succession, on two more Godolphin acquisitions, Sakhee in 2001 and Marienbard in 2002, both trained by Saeed bin Suroor. However, having ended his association with Godolphin a decade later, Dettori had to wait until 2015 to ride his fourth ‘Arc’ winner. That year, he teamed up with his old ally John Gosden to win on Cartier Horse of the Year, Golden Horn, and in 2017 and 2018 recorded back-to-back victories on Enable, for the same trainer.
Dubai-born Saeed bin Suroor has been associated with Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, founder of Godolphin, since 1992. He was officially appointed Godolphin trainer in 1995 and made an immediate impact, winning the first three of his twelve British Classics, the Derby, Oaks and St. Leger, with Lammtarra, Moonshell and Classic Cliche, respectively. Indeed, Lammtarra also won the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes at Ascot and the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp and was named Cartier Champion Three-year-old Colt.
Lammtarra was retired to Dalham Hall Stud, Newmarket at the end of his three-year-old campaign, but the following year, 1996, bin Suroor won another British Classic, the 2,000 Guineas, with Mark Of Esteem, who also won the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot later in the year. All told that season, bin Suroor saddled just 48 winners, but a host of high-profile victories, including in the Coral-Eclipse and Juddmonte International with Halling and the Racing Post Trophy with Medaaly, yielded £1.96 million in prize money. In only his second year in charge, he became Champion Trainer for the first time and would win the trainers’ title again in 1988, 1999 and 2004.
Nowadays, the longest-serving Godolphin trainer splits his year between Al Quoz Stables in Dubai and Godolphin Stables, formerly Stanley House Stables, in Newmarket. Indeed, he has enjoyed spectactular success in one of the most prestigious and valuable races in the the world, the Dubai World Cup at Meydan, winning nine times between 1999 and 2019.
Along with the Byerley Turk and the Darley Arabian, the Godolphin Arabian was one of the three so-called ‘foundation’ sires, which originated on the Arabian Peninsula and to which every modern thoroughbred can trace its pedigree. The origin of the Godolphin Arabian is unclear, but the stallion is believed to have been given, as a gift, to the King of France, Louis XV, by the Bey of Tunis. Although still not known as such, the Godolphin Arabian was subsequently acquired by Englishman Edward Coke, who sent him to Longford Hall, Derbyshire in 1729. ‘Ye Arabian’, as he was listed in the studbook, stood at Longford Hall until the untimely death of Edward Coke, at the age of just 32, in 1733.
In his will, Edward Coke bequeathed his stallions, including the Godolphin Arabian, to his friend, and bloodstock agent, Roger Williams. Later the same year, the Arabian was acquired by Francis, Second Earl of Godolphin, and sent to stand at his stud in Gog Magog, near Stapleford, Cambridgeshire; thereafter, the stallion became known as the ‘Godolphin Arabian’. The Arabian remained at Gog Magog until his death in 1753 and quickly established himself as a leading sire; his notable offspring included his first foal, Lath, and Cade, Regulus and Blank, all of whom proved to be champion sires in their own right.
Cambridge-born James Doyle is the son of former trainer Jacqueline Doyle and the younger brother of Sophie Doyle, now a successful jockey in the United States. He rode his first winner, Farnborough, trained by Richard Price, in a lowly Class 6 apprentices’ handicap on the then Polytrack surface at Wolverhampton in June, 2005. Nowadays, Doyle is best known as former stable jockey to Wilthshire trainer Roger Charlton, whom he joined in 2012, and retained jockey for Godolphin, whom he joined in 2015.
Doyle recorded his first British Group One victory on Al Kazeem, trained by Charlton, in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot in June, 2013 and his second, on the same horse, in the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown Park less than three weeks later. He has since won numerous Group One winners on British soil, including the Prince of Wales’s Stakes twice more, on Poet’s Word in 2018 and Lord North in 2020, the St.James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot twice, on Kingman in 2014 and Barney Roy in 2017, and the Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood, again on Kingman in 2014.
For all his success at the highest level, Doyle has yet to win a British Classic, although he has won two on the opposite side of the Irish Sea. The first of them came courtesy of Cartier Horse of the Year, Kingman, in the Irish 2,000 Guineas at the Curragh in 2014 and the second courtesy of Sea of Class, trained by William Haggas, at the same venue in 2018.