Silca’s Sister, Opera Cape and Palace Episode, three of Godolphin’s high-profile acquisitions last autumn, all came out on top in their respective racecourse gallops on the Nad Al Sheba grass today.
With Sheikh Mohammed’s operation keen to emphasise that they were not trials so much as gallops, 15 horses were in action over seven furlongs.
Of the three-year-olds, it was arguably Opera Cape who created the most favourable impression when he and Frankie Dettori were able to get a dream run up the rail to defeat two galloping companions in style.
Prior to that, John Bramhill and Palace Episode had come between two rivals to take their gallop.
Of the pair, trainer Saeed Bin Suroor said: “They have both been progressing nicely over recent weeks and appear to be coming to hand at the right time.
“Obviously, Opera Cape is probably a bit fitter as his comeback run is closer. They are both nice horses and exciting prospects for the long summer and next year.
“The 2000 Guineas is Opera Cape’s target, the Dante is Palace Episode’s.”
In the first of the gallops, Dettori and Silca’s Sister beat three companions and Bin Suroor was pleased with her effort.
“Silca’s Sister will go straight for the 1000 Guineas and that was a nice piece of work,” he said.
“She will come on a lot for that and will work again here and in England before the race. She is coming along nicely and I really like her as a filly.”
Last year’s Sussex Stakes winner Proclamation, under Kerrin McEvoy, galloped alone, as did Narvik under Dettori.
It was Proclamation who caught the eye and Bin Suroor explained: “He has matured mentally and physically and is a lot calmer now. He is in great condition and has pleased us immensely.
“He used to be hard to settle but over the winter has really relaxed and blossomed. The Lockinge (at Newbury on May 20) is his first assignment.”
The trainer is looking forward to the season.
“All the horses will have benefited a lot from that as it is still very early in a long season,” he said.
“Obviously we will have to see how they all are after that work but assuming all is well Silca’s Sister will go straight for the 1000 Guineas.
“We have a really nice group of horses this year and I am looking forward to a good season. It has been a remarkable 13 years with well over 100 Group One winners and, hopefully, we can add to that with this bunch of horses.
“It is a very long season which does not end until December in Hong Kong.
“We will be very patient with them all and look after them. Hopefully we can keep them all sound and with the likes of Electrocutionist be a major player in all the big races. He has come out of the World Cup in great form and has many options in Europe. He will contest all the big races.
“I still think Valixir is capable of a lot more than we have seen to date but I believe the return to Europe is just what he needs. He is not going to Hong Kong.
“Shawanda is a filly I really like. She had a stone bruise just before the World Cup but has been training very well since. She could easily turn out to be one of our best older horses this year.
“There is no rush to nominate targets for all the horses until we get back to Newmarket but Silca’s Sister (1000 Guineas), Opera Cape (2000 Guineas), Proclamation (Lockinge) and Palace Episode (Dante) do have targets.
“We start flying the horses back next week so we could have runners before the Guineas meeting while, hopefully, we will have two-year-old runners in June and be able to find a few for Royal Ascot.”