Which horse was Sheikh Mohammed’s first British Classic winner?
Of course, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Emir of Dubai, has owned numerous British Classic winners. They have either borne his own maroon and white silks, which were first registered in 1977, or the royal blue silks of Godolphin, which began its international operation in 1994. The first of them was, in fact, Oh So Sharp who, in 1985, just came out best in a three-way photograph with Al Bahathri and Bella Colora in the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket, winning by a short head and the same. For the record, the first British Classic winner in Godolphin colours was Balanchine who, in 1994, won the Oaks at Epsom, having previously been beaten the minimum margin in the 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket.
Trained by Henry, later Sir Henry, Cecil and ridden throughout her 3-year-old campaign by Steve Cauthen, Oh So Sharp went on to find further fame by completing the Fillies’ Triple Crown. Sent off 6/4 favourite for the Oaks, she won easily, by six lengths. Two defeats, by Petoski in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot and by Commanche Run in what is now the Juddmonte International Stakes at York, followed, but Oh So Sharp was still sent off 8/11 favourite for the St. Leger at Doncaster in September. She could never quite shake off the attentions of her stable companion Lanfranco or Phardante, but won by three-quarters of a length and a head to preserve her place in history.