Godolphin return gets Magic dividend

4 min read
Twelve months after its return to the sales ring, Godolphin captured one of Australia's biggest 2-year-old races. With eight years of giving the Magic Millions 2YO Classic trophy away as boss of Magic Millions it is little wonder Vin Cox didn't want to let it go after collecting it as Godolphin's Australian boss.

Fifteen minutes after Exhilarates (Snitzel) gave Godolphin a first win in the Gold Coast feature Vin Cox was still clutching the giant trophy he played a unique role in securing for the global breeding giant.

Godolphin had been away from Australian sales rings for more than a decade when Cox – still in his role as Magic Millions boss – approached Sheikh Mohammed at the 2017 Dubai World Cup and sold the breed-shaping owner on the idea of returning to the buying bench.

Exhilarates returns to scale after winning the Magic Millions 2YO Classic, flanked by Vin Cox

Less than six months later Cox was appointed at Godolphin and the boys in blue were back at Magic Millions for the 2018 sale, the last for Cox in his previous role, and for $600,000 Exhilarates was one of eight yearling purchases.

"It is quite extraordinary, the fact that Sheikh Mohammed had faith in us to go back into the market and buy yearlings, and we have landed on the Magic Millions winner is hugely satisfying." - Vin Cox

"It is quite extraordinary, the fact that Sheikh Mohammed had faith in us to go back into the market and buy yearlings, and we have landed on the Magic Millions winner is hugely satisfying," Cox said. "You can't ever think that something like this could happen, but of course you hope like blazers it will.

Exhilarates as a yearling at the 2018 Magic Millions Sale

Godolphin's subsequent sale strategy emphasised quality over quantity, cherry picking select lots in an effort to diversify bloodlines.

"I thought we needed to broaden our pedigree," he said. "We are the biggest stud farm in Australia, we get a lot of support from breeders and we need to be participating at yearling sales. We just want to be modestly participating, we don't want to be garish about what we do, we just want to buy nice horses like this one."

"We don't want to be garish about what we do, we just want to buy nice horses like this one." - Vin Cox

"We are a very big participant in the Australian breeding and Australian racing industry, we breed a lot ourselves so we don't need quantity. But we do need to be a participant at sales, be a good social citizen in the industry. We have bought four already and we will continue buying throughout the year."

The Godolphin team have been busy inspecting yearlings on the Gold Coast this week

It didn't take long for Cox to deliver on that promise with Godolphin splashing a cool one million on Lot 802 by Medaglia d'Oro out of dual Group 1 winner Miracles of Life at the evening session.

That gave Godolphin a total of 5 purchases at an average of $585,000 for the sale.

Exhilarates displayed a brilliant turn of foot to win the $2m feature, but also toughness on a one week back-up and enough focus and maturity to withstand interference at the start that saw jockey Kerrin McEvoy sitting near last in the 1200m scamper.

"What a mind she has got to have the poise to come here on the seven day back-up," trainer James Cummings said.

"It's a big thing for a two-year-old to keep it all together and she is only a little filly." - James Cummings

"It's a big thing for a two-year-old to keep it all together and she is only a little filly. Getting squeezed at the start is obviously not part of the plan and Kerrin was able to cruise in and find a gap at the top of the straight and she produced that withering burst. It's the first time we came to buy yearlings, it shows that we have the system to buy the right ones."

It was one hell of a way for Cummings to celebrate his 31st birthday,

Exhilarates becomes the most expensive horse ever to win the Magic Millions 2YO Classic ($600,000), surpassing Sunlight (Zoustar), who was successful last year. Filling the placings were Dubious (Not A Single Doubt) ($350,000) and Hightail (Written Tycoon) ($520,000).

She also becomes the first progeny of champion sire Snitzel to win the race and joins her dam Samaready (More Than Ready {USA}), a G1 Blue Diamond S. winner, in claiming a major Australian 2-year-old race.