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SBD Global/May 7, 2013/People and Pop Culture

Sheikh Mohammed, Godolphin Rehab Starts With Victory In 2000 Guineas Event

Sheikh Mohammed takes in Saturday's race at Newmarket racecourse.
The rehabilitation of Godolphin has a purpose-built vehicle in DAWN APPROACH, according to Alan Lee of the LONDON TIMES. The colt won his first classic on Saturday "in a style indicating much more to come." Dawn Approach "is trained in Ireland, far from the stigmatised stables of Newmarket, by the most loquacious advocate SHEIKH MOHAMMED could wish for." JIM BOLGER will now prepare Dawn Approach for the Investec Derby. Racing, as an industry, "breathed collective relief when the Sheikh appeared at Newmarket." Those close to the Sheikh "feared he might stay away from Guineas weekend, so his attendance can be construed as determination not to be cowed by association with the doping offences of Mahmood Al Zarooni, a trainer he appointed and nurtured." Even in victory, "and briefly free of his elevated security, Sheikh Mohammed resisted the opportunity to speak of his situation, or even declare an end to the uncomfortable anomaly of steroid use in Dubai, the country he rules." Mohammed: "I always face a challenge" (LONDON TIMES, 5/6). In London, Chris McGrath reported the Sheikh's "mere presence on the Rowley Mile -- never mind the metaphor he obligingly provided before the Qipco 2,000 Guineas, when hiding in the saddling boxes from a sudden, wild squall -- served as a statement in itself." It turned out to be "the only one he was prepared to make" (INDEPENDENT, 5/6).

SHEIKH SHOWS NO SIGNS OF EMBARRASSMENT: Also in London, J.A. McGrath reported applause "greeted Sheikh Mohammed as he came forward to accept the trophy" after Dawn Approach's victory. It was Mohammed's first time on a racecourse "since the controversy, but the acute embarrassment the Ruler of Dubai is said to have experienced did not show." He walked proudly at the head of his entourage and "was clearly elated by Dawn Approach’s five-length triumph" (TELEGRAPH, 5/5). Also in London, Martin Samuel opined "it was all there in the turn of the heel. You don’t question Sheik Mohammed about doping. You don’t question Sheik Mohammed at all, really." He "only agreed to appear before camera" because his horse had just won. "For a man who could have been held responsible for the actions of his employee, he seems rather confident." For that, "can we perhaps blame the fawning British horse racing establishment? An establishment so terrified that the Sheik will withdraw his vast wealth from the sport in this country that it wrapped up an inquest into a massive steroid scandal in less time than it takes a local council to rule on a challenged parking ticket" (DAILY MAIL, 5/5).
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