SRI LANKAN WINS 2006 GODOLPHIN SEVEN STARS FIRST PRIZE
Elayathamby Canute from Sri Lanka has won the 2006 Godolphin Seven Stars, the world's greatest free-to-enter on-line horseracing competition which concluded on Sunday, December 10.
The 45-year-old, a keen follower of British racing, entered the Godolphin Seven Stars for the first time this year after being told about it by a friend.
His fabulous prize is US$100,000, plus two first-class return air tickets to Dubai with Emirates Airline, and seven nights in a duplex suite at the seven-star Burj Al Arab Hotel for the 2007 Dubai World Cup meeting in March.
He picked his seven Godolphin horses for the year, submitting them on March 24, and they amassed 329 points during 2006 to leave him the clear winner of this most international of competitions by 11 points from Britain's Andres Sanz Rios.
Victory for Discreet Cat in the Grade One Cigar Mile at Aqueduct on November 25 moved Mr. Canute onto his final points total after the horse earned 30 points for his Grade One success bringing a total of 90 points for the season.
The highest points earner for Elayathamby Canute was Electrocutionist (110 points), victorious in the world's richest race, the Dubai World Cup, on March 25, the first day of 2006 Godolphin Seven Stars.
Electrocutionist then finished a close second in two British Group One races during the summer - the Prince of Wales's Stakes and the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes.
The other horses who earned points for Elayathamby Canute were Satchem (62), Reunite (47) and Ashaawes (20), while Ushnu and Gulf Of Gold did not contribute.
The 2006 Godolphin Seven Stars winner works for a tea broker in Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka, after originally coming from the east of the country.
The father of four - three boys and a girl - is thrilled to have emerged as the winner of the Godolphin Seven Stars and admits that he has had a few sleepless nights.
He said: "I am a very, very happy man and honoured to win the competition. It has been very exciting being in the lead and I am relieved to be still there."
Elayathamby Canute has never travelled outside Sri Lanka but, having just acquired a passport, he is looking forward to his week-long trip to Dubai for the Dubai World Cup which is run on March 31, 2007. He will be accompanied by his eldest son, 17-year-old Jerald, who is a keen rugby player and attends St Peters College in Colombo.
The first Godolphin horse he remembers is Lammtarra winning the premier British Classic, the Vodafone Derby, at Epsom Downs in 1995.
He follows racing closely, using three British weekly publications, the Timeform Black Book, the Racing Post Weekender and Raceform Update, to keep up with what is going on and more recently has been regularly visiting racing websites including www.godolphin.com
Elayathamby Canute regrets that there is no live racing in Sri Lanka but he sees televised racing from Europe.
He picked his seven Godolphin Seven Stars carefully and has been delighted with the progress Discreet Cat has made this year.
"I hope he can win next year's Dubai World Cup which I am delighted to be given the chance to see thanks to winning the Godolphin Seven Stars."
Asked what he will do with the US$100,000 which he will receive as part of his first prize, he replied: "I want to buy my own house in Colombo City."
The runner-up Andres Sanz Rios gained 318 points through his selections - Electrocutionist (110), Discreet Cat (90), Reunite (47), Blue Ksar (31), Proclamation (20), Felicitous (20), Winged Cupid (0) - and collects US$50,000 for his efforts.
Andrew Vleck from the United States of America finished third (US$30,000) with 314 points, while Britain's Elton Figredo and Natalia Krupa from Poland came home in fourth (US$15,000) and fifth (US$5,000) place respectively with 310 points.
The 2006 Godolphin Seven Stars received entries from people resident in an amazing 158 countries.
Those entering received points for their selections finishing in the first three. Extra points were allocated for winning or being placed in Group and Listed races, while bonus points were awarded for a number of worldwide races, including the Dubai World Cup and the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes.
This was the seventh year of the Godolphin Seven Stars and the previous winners have come from around the world - Uruguay in 2005, Britain twice (2004 and 2000), Dubai (2003), Australia (2002) and France (2001).
For more information, please contact Sue Durcan, the Godolphin Website Manager, in Dubai on +971 4 3185555, e-mail email@example.com or go to www.godolphin.com
There is a downloadable picture of Mr. Elayathamby Canute: Winner of the 2006 Seven Stars Competition, on the news section of www.godolphin.com