Glorious Goodwood - Tuesday's action: Hollie Doyle wins Goodwood Cup after Stradivarius blow
It wasn't the Goodwood Cup anyone had been looking forward as Stradivarius was withdrawn after heavy rain softened the ground. But it was still a Goodwood Cup with a great story attached to it.
It was a big blow for the festival and for its returning crowds who had hoped to see the super stayer, trained by John and Thady Gosden, win the Goodwood Cup for a fifth straight victory. But that setback aside, there was plenty to enjoy and admire on day one.
And somehow the Goodwood Cup itself still felt special, albeit without the chance of a roof-raising fifth win for Stradivarius, who we may now have seen the last of on the Downs.
Hollie Doyle and Trueshan were triumphant in the Al Shaqab-sponsored feature race, the highlight on day one of the Qatar Goodwood Festival, to give trainer Alan King a first Group 1 success on the Flat. And for Doyle it proved the first leg of a quickfire treble as she followed the triumph with wins on Lord Riddiford and Sisters In The Sky.
Sent off the 6/5 favourite following the withdrawal of four-time Al Shaqab Goodwood Cup winner Stradivarius, the five-year-old was expected to deliver, and he did just that, powering clear in the closing stages of the two-mile contest.
Doyle made a decisive move as the combination entered the home straight, steering her mount to the stands’ side rail and impressively repelling all challengers. Runner-up Away He Goes (33/1) briefly threatened to be competitive but couldn’t live with the winner, ultimately going down by three and three-quarter lengths. The third home Sir Ron Priestley (9/2) was loaded into the horse ambulance and taken for a scan having collapsed after the race.
King said of Trueshan's win: “It is a very special moment. I have been very calm all morning, then when John [Gosden] took out Stradivarius and we were shortening all the time, the nerves really started to kick in. I have not been this nervous for a long time.
“I have always enjoyed my Flat races and this is very special. This is up there with the Champion Hurdles. All I want to do is train proper horses! I am not giving up the jumping yet! Hollie has given him a great ride and the owners have been great supporters of mine. Trueshan can be a little keen so I’m glad he had a proper race at Newcastle – he could have been ferocious today if he hadn’t had that run.
“Trueshan is very ground dependent. We had to take him out of the Gold Cup, which is very hard to do. He is in the Lonsdale and he is in the Irish St Leger. I will talk to the boys, but we will probably take him out in the morning at the forfeit stage. The Cadran will probably be his big target in the autumn.”
Doyle and Trueshan had previously combined to win the G2 QIPCO British Champions Long Distance Cup on testing ground at Ascot in October, the same day she landed a breakthrough first G1 success on Glen Shiel. Doyle said: “This is one of the best days I’ve ever had. When I got a taste of the success at Ascot on Glen Shiel, I got a bit more hungry and determined to want it more often.
“I never really feel pressure, but today something did come over me as I didn’t want to let everyone down. I was very confident going into the race. I haven’t had many experiences of Goodwood, let alone on a short-priced favourite. I was feeling it a bit more than normal, but Trueshan is an exceptionally talented animal on this ground.
“He was pretty fresh early on. They were going no gallop and I expected there to be a bit of pace on. Halfway round I thought I have to do something about this as I’m not getting trapped on the rail and so I managed to slide onto the girth of the others and he then settled. The further we went, the better he went. When I hit the rising ground, he’s gone again.
“I can’t say Trueshan is very ground dependent as I haven’t ridden him on anything different to this ground, but he certainly is talented on this ground. I think he probably does enjoy getting his toe in obviously. I got some buzz off that – I don’t get too high or too low, but when you have experiences like that you have to make the most of it.
“All credit to Alan and to the owners for keeping faith in me! Trueshan has been in my mind every day since Champions Day and these are the days you do it for.”
Winning co-owner David Hall said: “It is very hard to put it into words. They tried to slow it down in front, but Hollie made sure that the horse got the gallop he needs. There is nothing better than winning a Group 1 on the Flat. I like National Hunt racing but after this, it’s going to be Goodwood all the way. This is the best racecourse in the world. Hollie really has been the making of this horse. She takes no nonsense and doesn’t let anyone boss her around in the race.”
Doyle made it a quickfire 123/1 treble on day one of the Qatar Goodwood Festival, following up Trueshan’s success with victory on Lord Riddiford (13/2) in the Back To Goodwood Handicap and Sisters In the Sky (13/2) in the British Stallion Studs EBF Maiden Stakes.
Lord Riddiford led home a one-two for trainer John Quinn in the five-furlong Back To Goodwood Handicap, with stablemate El Astronaute going down by two and a half lengths.
Doyle said: “Lord Riddiford is a very good horse on his day. He loved the conditions and the race was run to suit really.
“I wanted to jump a bit better than I did, but he was a bit disorganised running down the hill and I had to work on getting him balanced and back into a rhythm, because I couldn't have done much about the situation I was in. It was about getting him balanced and, once I latched onto Joe Fanning's horse, it was just a matter of getting out."
She struck again on Sisters In The Sky as the Roger Teal-trained juvenile, who finished fifth under Doyle at Newbury last time out, quickened best to score by a length from debutant Monet’s Sunrise (12/1).
Doyle said: “I could not have asked for a better start to the week with three winners! He was always travelling well and settled better today, just on the girth of one. He hit a bit of a flat spot, but the further I went the better and, when I gave him one behind the saddle when I hit the front, he was away.
“He has come on massively since his last run. He is a fine stamp of a horse, maybe a tad bit weak still and that can take a bit out of him on that ground. Hopefully, Roger will look after him.”
Earlier Kinross delivered a Group 2 double for trainer Ralph Beckett and owner Marc Chan when winning the Unibet Lennox Stakes over seven furlongs. Following up the victory of stablemate Angel Bleu in the G2 Unibet Vintage Stakes 35 minutes previously, the 6/1 chance quickened between rivals inside the final furlong and edged ahead to deny 2/1 favourite Creative Force by a neck. In what was a thrilling finish, Happy Power out-ran his odds of 16/1 to take third, a head behind the front two. This was a first Qatar Goodwood Festival success for winning rider Rossa Ryan.
Beckett said: “Kinross nearly got their too soon at Haydock. I was very keen that Rossa rode him absolutely cold today and it’s panned out perfectly. He has never been a particularly difficult horse to train, he’s just been a difficult horse to read. I felt that last year I was always trying to get him ready, so I didn’t bother getting him ready for Kempton when he won the Hyde Stakes, I just got him there in reasonable shape.
“Taking him to Dubai seemed like a good decision at the time but that didn’t work. Gelding him was a good idea and sticking to slow ground is key. The formbook doesn’t lie and his mother was very good on soft ground, although not as good as him. We’ll be sticking to good or softer from now on.
“He’ll definitely go back up in grade. The Prix de la Foret is a race that I have always thought would suit him well and we will work back from there.”
Punters got off to a flier in the opening race of this year’s festival, with the 2/1 favourite Migration taking the Unibet “You’re On” Chesterfield Cup Handicap over 10 furlongs. Race sponsor Unibet reported strong support for the David Menuisier-trained Migration throughout the morning, faith that was rewarded with an impressive victory.
Held up by William Buick, the five-year-old powered through as the gaps came for a two-length success from Caradoc (9/1). Cockalorum (12/1) was beaten a further length and three-quarters in third. This was a first career win at the Qatar Goodwood Festival for Pulborough-based Menuisier, and a 26th for Buick.
Menuisier said: “It is special to win any race, but at Glorious Goodwood, it is one of the main meetings of the year and just down the road from where we train. I do feel a little emotional. This horse sustained an injury two years ago, so we’ve had to nurse him along and make sure he was cared for superbly to be able to come back, retain his ability and improve.
“He was the subject of a massive gamble at Salisbury but I still don’t know why or how. I ran him over a mile because I really thought that he lacked fitness that day and that he would blow up if it was a mile and two furlongs. A mile and two is his favourite trip so it was a case of blowing away the cobwebs and getting him ready. The ground was too fast at Newmarket, so I decided to come straight here.
“He’s very straightforward and has a good turn of foot, so he is able to get out of trouble if required. What he doesn’t like is being crowded too much.”
Angel Bleu gave jockey Frankie Dettori a sixth win in the G2 Unibet Vintage Stakes over seven furlongs, and a 74th overall at the Qatar Goodwood Festival. The Ralph Beckett-trained two-year-old, sent off a 10/3 chance, was making a quick reappearance after finishing second at Ascot just three days ago in the Listed Pat Eddery Stakes.
That proved no obstacle though as he ran out a three-quarter length winner from 13/8 favourite Berkshire Shadow. The runner-up was one of the first to come under pressure but responded well to close the winner down in the latter stages.
Beckett said: “Saturday went well, although he was a little keen and Frankie got off him and said he thinks the horse needs a little break. I had a chat with the owners and we decided that we should geld him, give him a holiday and send him to Hong Kong, where the owner has a permit to run horses, in the autumn.
“However, he bounced up the yard on Sunday morning so I told the owner that I think we should declare for Tuesday and I could hardly believe my luck when I saw the rain coming down overnight. I am not sure America would suit him, as he likes a bit of juice. He is 2-2 on soft ground and I would say that we would maybe think about the Dewhurst Stakes now.”
Anghaam made all the running under Jim Crowley to run out a cosy winner of the mile Unibet Fillies’ Handicap. Trained by Richard Hannon, the three-year-old filly was allowed to dictate matters throughout and had plenty in reserve to win nicely. The daughter of Frankel, who was sent off a 7/2 chance, was a length and a half too strong for stablemate Zwelela (12/1).
Crowley and Hannon were both registering a 19th Qatar Goodwood Festival win. Hannon said: “I think Anghaam is a miler, although she does get a mile and a quarter. I thought she might like the ground. I had a conversation with Angus Gold [racing manager] this morning and we weren’t sure but she did and Jim [Crowley] made the race his own by going a very steady gallop. She quickened up well and did it nicely. She’s a tough, likeable, sweet filly.”
Crowley said: “Anghaam just hung a little bit left, but I got it very easy out in front. She didn’t mind this good to soft ground. She probably wasn’t doing an awful lot out in front hence she hung a bit left. She is bred to quite nice and at least we have won a few races with her now.”
Lovely Breeze finished best of all to take the six-furlong World Pool EBF Fillies’ Handicap, the final race on day one. There was nothing to choose between the six-strong field as the race developed two furlongs from home, but William Buick and Lovely Breeze readily seized the initiative soon after down the centre of the course.
The Hugo Palmer-trained three-year-old, who returned at odds of 3/1, had a length and three-quarters to spare over runner-up Crazy Luck (10/3). Palmer said: “Thank goodness we ran Lovely Breeze! We very nearly did not run her after all the rain seeing as she is by Sepoy.
“But she is out of an Echo Of Light mare, and her sister Powerful Breeze loved the soft ground too. I am thrilled for Dr Ali who has had a very good day – it is the second homebred winner in his colours today as he also bred a two-year-old winner at Yarmouth. He has a small broodmare band with half a dozen mares.
“When the ground changes like that, you are always going to worry, but she saw it out very well. Cieren Fallon rode her here on Oaks day and the Racing Post reported the ground as good and it wasn’t – he said then that she loved the soft ground, and was beaten then by a filly who she beat today.
“She has definitely come forward for wearing blinkers – they have really focused her mind. With the pedigree she has got we might look for black type now, the Flying Fillies at Pontefract would be an obvious option.”
Buick said: “Lovely Breeze won very easy. She loved the ground and has been in good form recently.”
Earlier Goodwood’s Clerk of the Course Ed Arkell explained the detail of the unwelcome weather that led to Stradivarius being withdrawn.
Arkell said: “We had quite a lot of rain overnight, unforecasted. 16.1mm of rain in a very heavy thunderstorm at about 2.30am. That has changed the ground to Heavy, Soft in places.
“The forecast for today is mainly dry, although there is a chance of catching a shower late morning into the afternoon, although the forecasts are struggling to predict these at the moment, as you can probably gather! The track is looking in fantastic condition. The grounds team have done really well in quite trying conditions over the last three weeks.”