Godolphin Points Great Exhibition to UAE Derby

By Jason Ford
Godolphin Racing has revealed that the American-bred Great Exhibition is its main hope for the UAE Derby (UAE-II) at Nad Al Sheba on Dubai World Cup night March 27.

Godolphin's domination of the 10-furlong event was ended last year when Mike de Kock's Victory Moon collared Godolphin's Songlark in the last half furlong to deny Saeed bin Suroor his fourth consecutive victory in a race only introduced in 2000. Godolphin's China Visit won the inaugural running, Festival of Light the second and Essence of Dubai the 2002 edition for "the boys in blue." All three, being American-breds, clearly thrived on the Nad Al Sheba dirt.

Great Exhibition ran twice for David Loder as a juvenile, finishing third at York on his debut and second at Thirsk in his second outing, but has clearly been impressive in his home work as he has been entered in both the English 2,000 Guineas and Derby.

"We have a lot of 3-year-olds with potential and a lot of races to aim them at -- here, in Europe and the States," said Godolphin racing manager Simon Crisford. "What happens over the next month will finalize plans, but at this stage Great Exhibition would look a likely World Cup night runner, before returning to Europe."

Agent John Ferguson signed the docket at $1.8million for the son of Gone West who is a full-brother to the very useful grade III-winning miler Elusive Quality  and a half-brother to the Irish group II winner Rossini. Their dam, Touch of Greatness, is an unraced Hero's Honor half-sister to the multiple group I winner Gold And Ivory. This is the family of Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) winner Anees.

Great Exhibition's rivals in the UAE Derby are likely to include Nick Littmoden's Ascertain, who has been supplemented to the race for $20,000. This would be the last start for Littmoden as the gelded son of Intikhab has reportedly been sold to race in the U. S. after his Derby appearance. The winner of three of his five starts, he certainly likes the all-weather surface at Lingfield where all his wins have been achieved.