Classic hope Wuheida 'wins' at Huntingdon for Godolphin
Godolphin showed their intention to hit the ground running for the Flat turf season when holding an unorthodox gallops morning at Huntingdon on Thursday.
Rather than the usual green wellies and tweed attire at the course, five horsebox loads of Charlie Appleby's blue-jacketed brigade and their entourage transformed the venue just after 6am.
Thankfully, the hurdles and many of the portable fences, which had been in use for the previous day's jumps fixture, had been removed for the exercise, which was held in three stages over seven furlongs.
Marking another innovation for Sheikh Mohammed's organisation, 22 bluebloods took part in the easy workouts, which were similar to those held annually by Aidan O'Brien after racing on the first day of the Irish Flat turf season at the Curragh.
From last to first
Centre of attention was Classic hope Wuheida, who 'won' the first workout when coming from last to first under former jockey Kirsty Milczarek (see video).
The Marcel Boussac winner looks bang on course for the Qipco 1,000 Guineas, for which she is general 12-1 second favourite behind O'Brien's Rhododrendron. Other fillies in the group included four-year-old Listed winner Skiffle, all-weather scorer Endless Charm (Adam Kirby) and Agathonia (Martin Lane).
Milczarek, who joined Godolphin last December, said: "Wuheida is smart, no doubt about it, and to come from off the pace like that was very pleasing. She took a while to pull up and is very athletic for a big filly."
Appleby revealed Wuheida would have another racecourse gallop, this time at Newmarket's Craven meeting, before tackling the first fillies' Classic on May 7.
Next up were the colts, the group including Investec Derby entries Alqamar and First Nation, but it was Yarmouth maiden winner Wolf Country who drew most attention, and he could start back in a handicap at Doncaster's opening turf fixture next month.
The morning was completed by a similar exercise involving eight unraced types who appeared to benefit greatly from the experience.
Adam Kirby, who rode in all three workouts, said: "I've never ridden here before, as the only jumps race I've ever taken part in is the Flat v Jumps race at Lingfield, but it's sharper than I'd imagined. I'd think you would have to be on your toes riding in a race here, but it's nice ground and the horses seemed to enjoy it."
'A lovely bit of ground'
Appleby said: "I'd like to thank Jack Pryor [clerk of the course] for allowing us to go through this exercise and we've had a lovely bit of ground, which was just the soft side of good.
"The reason behind coming here is that while many of these horses have done well through the winter and are forward enough, we felt the day out would be a good experience.
"We were delighted with what we saw from Wuheida, who travelled well and picked up well, and hopefully that will put her spot on for a gallop at the Craven meeting."