While the opening day of Royal Ascot will be the centre of attention on 20 June, it is by no means the only racing fixture of the day as Tuesday also sees racing take place at Brighton, where exactly 40 years ago, Hatta became the very first winner for Sheikh Mohammed.
Sheikh Mohammed had first attended the races with his older brother, Sheikh Hamdan, some ten years earlier while studying in Cambridge. Together they saw Royal Palace win the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket and from then on, the seed was sown.
Hatta was bought at the October Yearling Sale for just 6,200 guineas and was sent into training with John Dunlop.
Prior to her appearance at Brighton, Hatta had finished a creditable sixth at Sandown Park, before being beaten just a length at Kempton on her next start. She was sent off as favourite to take the five-furlong contest and certainly didn’t disappoint, taking the lead a furlong from home and eventually winning by five lengths.
Hatta went on to record two more easy victories at Salisbury and Sandown Park, before stepping up to Group company in the G3 Molecomb Stakes at Goodwood. Despite being outpaced early on – and indeed at the halfway stage - Hatta demonstrated a devastating turn of foot inside the final furlong to sweep to the front and win by two and a half lengths.
Four years later, Sheikh Mohammed purchased Dalham Hall Stud in Newmarket from the Philipps family and his breeding dynasty began. There was just one stallion standing at Dalham Hall Stud at the time, Great Nephew, sire of that year’s Derby winner Shergar. The purchase also included ten mares, one of whom was named Oh So Fair, who was carrying subsequent Fillies’ Triple Crown winner Oh So Sharp.
The Darley stallions now stand in seven countries around the world and have sired numerous Champions and G1 winners.
Godolphin was founded in 1992 and since then, the famous royal blue silks have been carried to victory in over 250 G1 contests across the globe.