06/16/2004 11:00PM

Godolphin horses win Gold Cup, Ribblesdale

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Godolphin added to its success at Royal Ascot on Thursday as Papineau and Punctilious scored big victories before a Ladies Day crowd of 69,928.

The lightly raced Papineau held off a challenge from France's top stayer, Westerner, to land the Group 1, $410,000 Ascot Gold Cup at 2 1/2 miles. A 4-year-old Singspiel colt, Papineau was running for just the seventh time in England's premier staying race, and he proved that his May 31 victory in the two-mile, Group 2 Henry II Stakes at Sandown was no fluke.

Japanese invader Ingrandire led for more than two miles but yielded to defending champ and 6-5 favorite Mr Dinos, who was headed by Westerner early in the stretch. The 5-1 Papineau overhauled Westerner approaching the furlong pole and stayed on stoutly under Frankie Dettori to hold Westerner safe by 1 1/2 lengths.

Mr Dinos faded to sixth, and Ingrandire to ninth. Two-time Gold Cup winner Royal Rebel was up for fourth behind third-place Darasim in a highly competitive contest that went off without Vinnie Roe, a late withdrawal.

Papineau, a half-brother to St. Leger and Coronation Cup winner Silver Patriarch, covered the 20 furlongs in 4:20.90 on good to firm ground.

Punctilious bounced back from a disappointing third in the English Oaks to take the Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes by 1 1/2 lengths. Dettori kept the temperamental filly well clear of trouble in the 1 1/2-mile race and overhauled the pacesetting runner-up, Sahool, a furlong out. Quiff, Juddmonte's 7-2 favorite, came late to take third near the line.

Punctilious, previously the winner of the Group 3 Musidora Stakes, went off at 9-2 and was timed in 2:30.12. The Irish Oaks on July 18 looms a possibility for both Punctilious and Quiff.

Godolphin has now won four group races at Ascot this week, having taken the Queen Anne Stakes with Refuse to Bend on Tuesday and the Jersey Stakes with Kheleyf on Wednesday.

In the Group 3 Norfolk Stakes for 2-year-olds, 6-5 favorite Blue Dakota maintained his tenuous position as Britain's leading juvenile with a hard-fought neck win over Mystical Land. Now 4 for 4, the Jeremy Noseda-trained Blue Dakota covered the straight five furlongs in 1:01.97.