Could The Queen regain Goodwood Cup crown?

Royal runner Call To Mind is set to take on defending champion Stradivarius in Qatar Goodwood Cup on Tuesday's opening day of Glorious.

Thursday, 26th July 2018, 8:27 am
Updated Thursday, 26th July 2018, 8:39 am
Call To Mind's connections receive a Goodwood trophy last season / Picture by Malcolm Wells

Defending champion Stradivarius (John Gosden) is one of 11 confirmations for the £500,000 G1 Qatar Goodwood Cup (3.35pm), staged over two miles as part of the QIPCO British Champions Series.

Stradivarius captured the 2017 renewal of the Qatar Goodwood Cup, the first running of the prestigious event as a G1 contest, as a three-year-old when defeating 2015 and 2016 winner Big Orange by a length and three-quarters under Andrea Atzeni, who is set to ride the son of Sea The Stars again this year after Frankie Dettori's riding ban.

Owned and bred by Bjorn Nielsen, Stradivarius is chasing the WH Stayers' Million, a bonus of £1 million offered by Weatherbys Hamilton which goes to the horse who wins one of four prep races in May followed by the G1 Gold Cup at Royal Ascot, the G1 Qatar Goodwood Cup and the G2 Weatherbys Hamilton Lonsdale Cup Stakes at York on August 24.

Gosden's charge captured a prep race, the 14-furlong G2 Yorkshire Cup at York in May, before landing a thrilling renewal of the G1 Gold Cup at the Royal Meeting in June, defeating French raider Vazirabad by three-quarters of a length.

Newmarket trainer Gosden reported earlier this week: "Stradivarius will run in the Goodwood Cup. He won it last year on the first day and has done nothing but please us since he won the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot.

"Going into these Cup races takes a lot out of horses, but he has had a nice gap between Ascot and Goodwood and I think that will help him in every way."

Torcedor (Jessica Harrington IRE) and Order Of St George (Aidan O'Brien IRE), third and fourth respectively behind Stradivarius in the Gold Cup over two and a half miles, could re-oppose in the Goodwood Cup.

The Queen is represented in the Qatar Goodwood Cup by Call To Mind. Trained by Newmarket handler William Haggas, the four-year-old son of Galileo was a winner stateside on his latest start in the G2 Belmont Gold Cup Invitational Stakes over two miles at Belmont Park, having previously finished third, beaten three and a quarter lengths by Stradivarius, in the Yorkshire Cup in May.

Call To Mind, successful in the Listed March Stakes over 14 furlongs at Goodwood in 2017, was one of two winners for The Queen at the Sussex course last year. The other came through Fabricate, who was promoted to first after finishing a hampered head second in the Matchbook Betting Exchange Handicap, the opening race of the Qatar Goodwood Festival.

Call To Mind is trying to provide The Queen with her third success in the Goodwood Cup, with the owner having tasted victory with Apprentice (1965) and Gaulois (1966), who were both trained by Cecil Boyd-Rochfort.

John Warren, Racing Manager to The Queen, said today: "Call To Mind has come out of the Belmont race very well and goes to Goodwood in great form. We were delighted with his victory in America and we have been very happy with him since.

"We have no particular ground fears and he won on firm ground at Belmont last time. We are hopeful of a good run as he is now really coming of age. He has matured into a fine horse."

Haggas, who has his string in fine fettle at present, could also saddle talented five-year-old Dal Harraild in the two-mile G1 contest. The Champs Elysees gelding finished a neck second on his latest outing in the G3 John Smith's Silver Cup, having previously finished down the field behind Vazirabad in the G2 Dubai Gold Cup at Meydan on Dubai World Cup night.

Order of St George headlines four remaining entries for Britain and Ireland's champion trainer O'Brien, with the master of Ballydoyle's quartet completed by G3 Ormonde Stakes scorer Idaho, King Edward VII Stakes third Giuseppe Garibaldi and recent Ballinrobe maiden winner Cypress Creek.

Desert Skyline (David Elsworth) was a creditable third to Stradivarius in the 2017 Qatar Goodwood Cup and went on to land the G2 Doncaster Cup in September. The four-year-old son of Tamayuz came second to Stradivarius in the Yorkshire Cup, but disappointed when last in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot.

Scotland (Andrew Balding), three-quarters of a length behind Dal Harraild in third at York last time, and St Michel (Sir Mark Prescott), a disappointing eighth when favourite for a Listed contest in Hamburg, Germany, on his seasonal debut on June 29, complete the 11 going forward for the Qatar Goodwood Cup.

The other highlight on Tuesday, July 31 is the G2 Qatar Lennox Stakes (3.00pm) over seven furlongs, which is now worth £312,000.

The 20 horses going forward for the 2018 Qatar Lennox Stakes include the last two winners - 2017 victor Breton Rock (David Simcock) and Dutch Connection (Charlie Hills), who was successful in 2016.

Karar (Francis-Henri Graffard FR) was supplemented for the Qatar Lennox Stakes today at a cost of £15,000.

Owned by Al Shaqab Racing, the six-year-old landed the G3 Prix du Pin over seven furlongs at Chantilly in September and finished third over the same course and distance in the G1 Qatar Prix de la Foret (he was second in the same race in 2016) the following month. Later in the year, he was beaten just over two lengths when seventh in the G1 Breeders' Cup Mile at Del Mar, USA.

The son of Invincible Spirit has come home fourth on both outings so far this year, most recently in the G3 Prix de la Porte Maillot at Longchamp on June 30.

Explaining the decision to supplement Karar, Rupert Pritchard-Gordon, Racing Consultant to Al Shaqab Racing in France, said today: "Karar was also entered by Francis in the Prix Maurice de Gheest, but we feel the horse is probably at his best racing over seven furlongs around a bend on a round track.

"He has twice been placed over seven furlongs on a round track in the Prix de la Foret and is a bit of a seven-furlong specialist. We just thought that the Prix Maurice de Gheest is looking a particularly hot race this year, although the Lennox Stakes is obviously a strong race too.

"It was a case of trying to find the easiest option and we just felt that the seven furlongs with a bend would be best for Karar.

"The first day at Goodwood should be a sound even surface with fresh ground which will suit him.

"Karar is a summer horse. He always has a very light campaign through the spring and early summer because he is a horse that thrives as the weather warms up. He ran very well in the Breeders' Cup Mile last year from a very bad draw so has proved he is effective in these types of races.

"Basically, the aim for Karar is to try and have him right and ready to go for the second half of the year. As of Tuesday, this is where his campaign gets serious."

Dutch Connection is owned by Godolphin. The Maktoum family's racing operation could also be represented by D'Bai (Charlie Appleby), successful in the G3 John Of Gaunt Stakes over seven furlongs at Haydock Park in May before finishing sixth in the six-furlong G1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot, and Top Score (Saeed bin Suroor), successful in a valuable seven-furlong turf handicap at Meydan, UAE, in March.

Aidan O'Brien has four entries going forward, headed by G1 July Cup third Fleet Review and Gustav Klimt, who was runner-up to Without Parole in the G1 St James's Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot and also has the option of the G1 £1-million Qatar Sussex Stakes (Wednesday, August 1) at the Qatar Goodwood Festival.

Other contenders for the 2018 Qatar Lennox Stakes include the 2017 G1 Qatar Sussex Stakes hero Here Comes When (Andrew Balding) and Tip Two Win (Roger Teal), who was runner-up to Saxon Warrior in the G1 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket.

The big two-year-old race on the opening day is the £200,000 G2 Qatar Vintage Stakes (2.25pm, 18 entries) over seven furlongs. G1 stars Highland Reel (2014) and Galileo Gold (2015) have taken the spoils in recent years.

Galileo Gold's trainer Hugo Palmer could bid for a second Qatar Vintage Stakes victory with Blonde Warrior. After going down narrowly on debut at Newbury in May, the Zoffany colt has won his last two starts with the minimum of fuss, the latest of which saw him take a seven-furlong novice race by three and a half lengths at Doncaster on June 29.

Galileo Gold captured the Qatar Vintage Stakes in 2015 before going on to a G1 double the following year in 2,000 Guineas and St James's Palace Stakes.

Palmer said: "We have been very happy with Blonde Warrior since Doncaster. His last two races have been processions really and he hasn't had to do much more than that.

"He is ready for a step up in grade, though I have not decided if he runs at Ascot on Saturday or in the Qatar Vintage Stakes.

"I am just going through the races now and they both look competitive, but one is obviously worth many multiples of the other.

"Ever since I first saw Blonde Warrior, he has reminded me of Galileo Gold. There is obviously more to it than looks, but I think he is an exciting horse for the future as he is still quite immature."

Aidan O'Brien, who sent out War Decree to win the Qatar Vintage Stakes in 2016 to add to the victory of Highland Reel, has G2 Railway Stakes victor Van Beethoven among his five entries. Eight-length Killarney scorer Anthony Van Dyck is also engaged.

Dunkerron (Alan King) has form at this level, having finished fourth in the G2 Superlative Stakes at Newmarket earlier this month.

Others to note include eye-catching first time out winner Confiding (Martyn Meade), Dark Vision(Mark Johnston), who is two from two so far this season, and Godolphin's 10-length Lingfield Park scorer Good Fortune (Charlie Appleby).

* The action on July 31 gets underway at 1.50pm with the Matchbook Betting Exchange Handicap (24 entries) over 10 furlongs, where the weights are set to be headed by Royal Ascot runner-up Euginio (Richard Hannon).

There are 30 entries for the £25,000 Sussex Roof Garden EBF Maiden (4.10pm), including Dubawi colt Al Mureib (Charlie Appleby), who finished second on his debut at Newmarket on July 13.

Five-furlong specialist El Astronaute (John Quinn) could bid for back-to-back victories in the £30,000 Chelsea Barracks Handicap (4.45pm, 20 entries). The 2016 winner Boom The Groom (Tony Carroll) is also entered.

There are 30 entries for the concluding race of the day, the £25,000 Matchbook Time To Move Over Fillies' Handicap (5.15pm) over a mile. Savaanah (Roger Charlton) is the form horse among the 30 entries after winning her last three starts at Ripon, Wetherby and Salisbury in good style.

Latest Going

The going at Goodwood is currently: Good to Firm

Conditions are predicted to remain dry, sunny and very warm.

There is a chance of a thunder storm on Thursday evening and also the possibility of one to three millimetres of rain on Monday morning.

Watering is in progress to maintain conditions.

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