09/18/2017 12:26PM

Stroud leading Godolphin purchasing in new directions

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What’s old is new again this North American yearling sale season for the international Godolphin operation of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum.

Godolphin had a major shake-up in June, as John Ferguson stepped down from his post as CEO and racing manager in the wake of a flap with senior trainer Saeed bin Suroor. Ferguson had long been Sheikh Mohammed’s bloodstock adviser, and was the public face of its high-dollar purchases at auctions around the globe.

Godolphin has looked to an old associate, British-based Anthony Stroud, to sign its sales receipts at the boutique Fasig-Tipton Saratoga selected yearling auction and the ongoing Keeneland September yearling sale. Stroud, examining yearlings along with a team including David Loder and trainer John Gosden, had signed for 17 yearlings for a total of $8,065,000 through Sunday’s session.

Stroud previously spent more than a decade as Sheikh Mohammed’s racing manager, when the operation was leading owner multiple times in England, Ireland, and France. With Sheikh Mohammed’s blessing, he later established Anthony Stroud Bloodstock.

Godolphin maintains racing strings in several jurisdictions, and Stroud said that where his yearling purchases will be sent for their future racing careers will be determined by Sheikh Mohammed this fall.

“I think once we get home, they’ll be sorted out by our boss,” Stroud said. “He’ll decide where they go. For the moment, we’re trying to buy nice horses, and quality horses that we feel have potential in the future.”

That directive to acquire quality horses has led Stroud’s team in different directions. Breaking with the longstanding tradition in the Ferguson era of not buying young stock by stallions from the rival Coolmore operation, several of Stroud’s purchases are by those stallions. That includes a trio of yearlings from the highly sought final crop of Scat Daddy, led by an $800,000 colt.

“I thought they were all nice,” Stroud said. “He’s very good in Europe. He’s an outstanding stallion, he’s done well in Europe and North America.”

Godolphin also purchased two yearlings from the first crop of Coolmore’s regally bred dual Derby winner Australia, one by young phenom Uncle Mo, and one by Lookin At Lucky.

The team also supported Sheikh Mohammed’s stallions, picking up the only son of international young star Dubawi in the catalog for $650,000. The colt is out of Grade 1 winner Icon Project.

“He’s very well balanced, and Dubawi is outstanding,” Stroud said. “He’s an outstanding stallion standing at one of Sheikh Mohammed’s farms. It is unusual [to see one in the U.S.], but you’ve just got to buy horses where you can.”

Godolphin’s variety of yearling purchases at Keeneland have also included two by internationally prominent sire War Front, and yearlings by Kitten’s Joy, More Than Ready, Noble Mission, Orb, Speightstown, Super Saver, and Union Rags.