Belgium wins at Hickstead

The Belgian team won the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ of Great Britain yesterday at Longines Royal International Horse Show, after a three-round battle to claim the title.

The Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™, presented by Longines, saw eight teams compete for the historic Prince of Wales Trophy. Great Britain, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland and Italy were competing for qualifying points, while the USA, France and the Netherlands also contested this prestigious series leg at Hickstead.

After round one, Belgium and Switzerland tied for first place with three faultless rounds apiece, while 2014 victors the USA were close behind on a total of four faults. France were 1pen behind in fourth place, while Great Britain were fifth on 6pen – with Olympic gold-medallist Ben Maher providing the only clear. Germany finished on 8pen while the Netherlands and Italy filled seventh and eighth places, with 9 and 16 faults respectively.

Belgian team wins Nations Cup at Hickstead Photo: George Gunn Photography

Belgian team wins Nations Cup at Hickstead
Photo: George Gunn Photography

In round two, France produced three clears to remain in fourth place, but Britain dropped below Germany with five faults to add to their tally from round one, leaving them on a total of 11 faults. Belgium and Switzerland finished the round adding four faults apiece to their score of zero in round one, while the USA moved into contention with a clear sheet in round two, meaning that each of the leading three teams had to nominate a rider to jump-off for the win.

First to go was America’s Beezie Madden, the first lady winner of the Longines King George V Gold Cup and a member of the winning Nations Cup team at Hickstead last summer. A fence down at the double and a subsequent run out left the USA on eight faults, which gave Belgium and Switzerland some breathing space.

Janika Sprunger jumped next for Switzerland and produced her third clear round on the chestnut mare Bonne Chance CW on a time of 44.17sec. The pressure was on Belgium’s Pieter Devos to leave all the fences up, having picked up 12 faults in round two to form the drop score. This he duly did on the eye-catching grey gelding Dylano, netting a quicker time of 42.60sec.

“First of all I have to say a great thanks to my team members, without them I wouldn’t have been in the jump-off,” said Pieter, who stood on the winners podium alongside Judy Ann Melchior (As Cold As Ice Z); Gudrun Patteet (Sea Coast Pebles Z) and Olivier Philippaerts (H&M Armstrong van de Kapel).

“I had a good feeling about the result, but I didn’t want to be sitting up on the podium feeling unhappy about my performance [in round two] so I really, really, wanted to ride in the jump-off,” Pieter added.

Belgian Chef d’equipe Dirk Demeersman said: “Finally we won at Hickstead! Before, when I came here as a rider I had many disasters, so it is great to get this result – and good also that we have qualified for the final in Barcelona, as that was the goal.”

Britain has won two legs of the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ series this season, but the team of Michael Whitaker (5/0), Holly Gillott (13/9), Guy Williams (1/5) and Ben Maher (0/0) only picked up 60 points today at their home leg. They will be competing next week at Dublin Horse Show in the hope of securing their qualifying spot ahead of the series final in September.

In the showing classes, Hertfordshire-based show producer Brogan Taverner and Lisa Hall’s High Treason were crowned Saracen Horse Feeds Supreme Riding Horse champions. They qualified to contest the overall honours having already won the large riding horse championship earlier in the day.

Katrina Braithwaite and Kilderry Rupert were Nettex Supreme Working Hunter champions, while Fell pony Little Tree Limited Edition took the BSPS Heritage M&M Supreme Ridden championship for Jonathan Stevens.

Today’s feature class is the Templant Events Queen Elizabeth II Cup, a coveted national championship, while the international highlights include the Bunn Leisure Salver and the British Speed Classic. There is also the Ladies’ Day competition, open to the show’s best-dressed female guests.

Tickets can be bought at the gate or by visiting www.hickstead.co.uk.

Goodwood’s Ladies Day

Champion jockey Richard Hughes breathed a sigh of relief after registering his first victory of the 2015 Qatar Goodwood Festival aboard 11/1 chance Gibeon in the opening Land Rover Handicap. He is set to retire at the end of the five-day extravaganza and had hit the cross bar during the first two days, partnering three seconds and a third.

Richard Hannon Jnr, Jockey Richard Hughes and Gibeon  Photo: Jeannie Knight

Richard Hannon Jnr, Jockey Richard Hughes and Gibeon Photo: Jeannie Knight

“I can retire a happy man now!” said Hughes. “Gibeon is a fabulous horse but he has had a few tough races and met a few very good horses when he was second. I knew he had a chance today and I knew that he would handle the track after running at Epsom. He travelled really good and keeps fighting – he is as tough as boots.”

John Gosden, the trainer of runner-up Keble, who was beaten just a neck, said: “I was delighted with his run – he got a bit far back after being slow out of the gate, but he finished well. I couldn’t be happier and the [first-time] cheekpieces helped to keep him focussed.”

Mustard, owned and bred by The Queen, and trained by Sir Michael Stoute, finished third, beaten a further three and three-quarters of a length after not getting the clearest of runs.

A particularly impressive performance came from Shalaa, trained by John  Gosden when winning the Group Two Qatar Richmond Stakes for two-year-olds. Ridden by Frankie Dettori in the colours of Sheikh Joann’s Al Shaqab Racing, Shalaa defied a 3lb penalty for winning at Newmarket’s July meeting, and scored impressively, winning by two and three-quarters of a length and one and a quarter lengths from Tasleet and Steady Pace.

Shalaa, trained by John Gosden, owned by Al Shabaq Racing Photo: Jeannie Knight

Trainer John Gosden views this horse as a sprinter, not a miler. He said: “He is very quick – at home he is very relaxed and will sit behind another horse and go to sleep, but when the races are on and the gate opens he says ‘I’m off’. He has so much speed he has burned them all off before Frankie has to move. He’s a very fast two-year-old.

“It’s a great sight to see him cruising while other jockeys in behind are working away, but he’s learned to relax, and when he won his maiden he didn’t relax. Thank goodness we resisted the temptation to go to Royal Ascot for the Coventry Stakes because he wasn’t ready for that mentally, and yet he is now.

Winning jockey Frankie Dettori, Al Shaqab Racing, and trainer John Gosden Photo: Jeannie Knight

Winning jockey Frankie Dettori, Al Shaqab Racing, and trainer John Gosden
Photo: Jeannie Knight

“He reminds me of Oasis Dream – he’s that type of horse. We could go for the Prix Morny, unless Harry [Herbert, racing manager to Al Shaqab] wants to make a speech in which case we would go for the Gimcrack Stakes. If we go for the Morny we would want nice, fast ground and not the Deauville of last year which was beyond bottomless. The Morny and Middle Park would be obvious targets, but we won’t take him up to seven furlongs, because he’s fast.

“We’ll worry about next year when it comes, but I don’t see him as a miler. I see him staying at six furlongs and that great new race, the Commonwealth Cup [at Royal Ascot] being a big target for him next year. He enjoys sprinting, so let him sprint.”

Trainer Michael Bell has his sights set firmly on the Melbourne Cup following Big Orange’s thrilling victory in the Qatar Goodwood Cup.

The four-year-old, who is cleverly named, being by Duke of Marmalade, captured the 12-furlong Group Two Princess Of Wales’s Stakes at Newmarket earlier this month, and stayed on dourly under Jamie Spencer to repel Quest For More and Ascot Gold Cup hero Trip To Paris by a neck and a short-head.

Duke of Marmaklade and Jamie Spencer coming into the winner's spot Photo: Jeannie Knight

Duke of Marmalade and Jamie Spencer coming into the winner’s spot Photo: Jeannie Knight

“It was thrilling to be involved in a race like that,” said Bell. “All three horses deserve great credit, especially Trip To Paris with his penalty. Big Orange is an absolute star – he is so genuine and a pleasure to train – and I can’t sing his praises highly enough.

“He was officially the highest-rated horse in the race so, if he stayed, he could win it and Jamie gave him an absolutely masterful ride. He got a breather into him and it was a very good ride on a very good horse. Melbourne is very much the plan for Big Orange now.

Simple Verse, another Duke of Marmalade offspring, won the Group 3 Markel Insurancde Stakes with jockey Harry Bentley on board. The jockey rode his first winner at the Qatar Goodwood Festival on Tuesday, and added yesterday’s Group Three Markel Insurance Fillies’ Stakes to the list with his fine victory on board Simple Verse.

He said: ” I found a bit of a gap, and while she had every right not to go through it she battled hard. She stuck her head out and she’s a big scopey filly who could go on.”

Andrea Atzeni gained pole position for the Racing UK leading jockey award at the Qatar Goodwood Festival when taking the Telegraph Nursery on Jaadu.

Jockey Andrea Atzini

Jockey Andrea Atzini    Photo John Simpson

The colt became Atzeni’s third winner of the week, and a first at this year’s Festival for trainer Mick Channon, who stayed at home to entertain owners, and was represented at the racecourse by his son, Michael.

Jaadu, a 12/1 shot who had failed to make the frame in three previous starts, spreadeagled the field when galloping clear in the home straight. He was being closed down as the line approached by the 7/2 favourite Montsarrat, but scored by a length and a quarter, while the Kevin Ryan-trained Lagenda was a further four and a half lengths back in third.

Channon Jr said: “He was unlucky on his first two starts – he was mashed out the stalls on debut and had to be chased up, and then he was on the wing at Ascot and never got involved, spending most of the race looking sideways at the other runners.

Eventing back at Hickstead

New Zealand’s Andrew Nicholson won the first Amlin Plus Eventers’ Challenge at Hickstead yesterday, producing a polished clear to win on the nine-year-old gelding Cillnabradden Evo

.Eventing was back at the Longines Royal International Horse Show by popular demand, after the cancellation last summer of the former Eventing Grand Prix. The new format class was open only to event riders, instead of eventers and showjumpers, which meant the cross-country course could be more technical and demanding.

Richard Taylor’s course certainly asked a few questions, with only four of the 20 starters jumping clear. First to go, Tom McEwen set the pace with a good clear on Cuarento in 126.16sec. But things quickly took some twists and turns, with Charlotte Agnew missing out a fence to be eliminated, Tanya Kyle and Rose Carnegie both taking a tumble in the lake and Anna Hilton opting to retire. Tina Cook and Joseph Murphy both had dramatic falls on course, but fortunately both riders and their horses were unharmed.

Andrew Nicholson at Hickstead Photo: George Gunn Photography

Tom – who is on the British squad for this September’s FEI European Eventing Championships – held the lead until 13th-drawn Andrew rode in to the famous International Arena. The New Zealander has a good record at Hickstead, winning the Eventing Grand Prix in 2002 and finishing second in the class in 2012, and he’s been on a spectacular run of form of late with a host of three- and four-star wins under his belt.

His time of 124.94sec put the pressure on the remaining competitors and, while Helen Wilson (Glendun) and Pippa Funnell (Billy The Biz) both added to the tally of clear rounds, no one could come close to Andrew’s time.

Only last drawn Elizabeth Power and Doonaveragh O One could take the win and the horse obviously relishes the International Arena as he finished third in the Eventing Grand Prix in 2012 and won the Speed Derby when ridden by Elizabeth’s brother Robert. However, while the pair netted the quickest time of the day, one fence down cost them the title and kept them in the runner-up position.

“It made the class having Tom go first as he was very fast and slick and I knew I couldn’t waste any time or I wouldn’t catch him,” said Andrew. “It’s very intense out there, and a lot of pressure, but I love coming here.”

Elizabeth Power was a little disappointed not to emulate her Grand National-winning brother Robert’s winning record at Hickstead. “There’s been a build-up of pressure for weeks and everyone’s been telling me I had better win it!” she said. “He’s a quirky horse and only myself and Rob can get a bridle on him, but he’s great.”

David Ashby, Managing Director of the class sponsor Amlin Plus, said: “I would like to pass on our many congratulations to Andrew Nicholson and all of the winning connections of this year’s Amlin Plus Eventers’ Challenge. It was a great performance and a very exciting class overall.”

The international showjumping classes got underway today, with the first class of the day going to Ireland’s Trevor Breen and Georgie D’Auvray Ec. The reining Equestrian.com Derby champion has a fantastic record in the International Arena, having won many of Hickstead’s major titles.

The feature class was won by one of the sport’s greats – Britain’s Michael Whitaker. He won the Bunn Leisure Trophy on Quelbora Merze, heading a 55-strong class and beating Germany’s Christian Ahlmann by just a few hundredths of a second. Fellow Brit William Funnell took third with the homebred Billy Angelo.

“You could see he had something in him, he has been building up to it having been placed a few times – and it has all come right on the day,” said Michael, who is on the British squad for tomorrow’s Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ of Great Britain.

Britain has been drawn third to go in this prestigious team competition. “I’ve been looking forward to this class,” said the British chef d’equipe Di Lampard. “It looks great out there, the scene is set. We had an early draw in Rotterdam [an earlier leg of the FEI Nations Cup series, where Britain won], but it’s not the draw that wins the competition. There’s some great opposition, but we’ll certainly be trying to win.”

The class gets started at 2.15pm, with Great Britain, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, the USA, France and the Netherlands all aiming to claim the Prince of Wales Trophy.

In earlier showing classes, top producer Jayne Ross won the coveted Les & Nadia Edgar Supreme Hunter Championship. She got the tricolour with Time 2 Reflect, while Oathill Take The Biscuit stood reserve.

Tickets are on sale now and can be bought at the gate or by visiting www.hickstead.co.uk.

Unexpected start for Magnolia Cup

Line-up for the Magnolia Cup Photo:Jeannie Knight

Line-up for Qatar Goodwood’s Magnolia Cup
Photo:Jeannie Knight

The Magnolia Cup Charity Ladies’ Race at Goodwood today took an unexpected turn of events when one runner of the ten jumped the gun under starters’ orders and three other horses followed. All four were later disqualified.

But experienced riders such as Camilla Henderson on High Fidelity and Dido Harding on Armell were able to restrain their mounts and when the race began in earnest, they finished first and second in a thrilling finish.

Camilla Henderson, daughter of trainer Nicky, caught Di Harding on Amell in the closing stages and took the lead from the five legitimate runners. She was riding  High Fidelity for trainer Ian Williams, and won by a neck from Armell. Further back in third was Celestial Knight, the mount of Emily London.

Winning rider Camilla Henderson on board High Fidelity coming into the winner's spot Photo: Jeannie Knight

Winning rider Camilla Henderson on board High Fidelity coming into the winner’s spot Photo: Jeannie Knight

The winning jockey, wearing colourful silks designed by Featherstone Frocks, said: “We lined up, but the starter’s flag hadn’t dropped, and we were told to come back. We expected the others to return, but they kept going. It’s a shame, and what happened has happened, but I’m delighted to have won.

“I was tracking Dido, who is a very experienced rider, and I just found a bit more at the finish. A few of the riders were a bit nervous and don’t have much experience – pulling up is the hardest thing. I’m delighted for Ian (Williams – the trainer) and the owner, Mike Keating.

“I’m not used to going that pace and it is definitely something I want to do more of in the future. It’s very different from anything I’ve done before, and while I will ride in point-to-points next season I would like to ride more on the Flat. I’ll have to lose a bit of weight.  I love the colours and hope I get to keep them!”

Camilla Henderson receives her trophy from HRH Pincess Eugenie. Photo: Jeannie Knight

Camilla Henderson receives her trophy from HRH Pincess Eugenie. Photo: Jeannie Knight

Second-placed Harding said: “It was great fun. I am a bit gutted because my owners thought I had won but there is no photo of the finish. I don’t ride a lot now. “My training consisted of riding a two star eventer on the downs this morning, which was the first time I have ridden for three months. I have been trying to win this race for five years and I would love to do it again – you would be mad not to!”

Prizes were subsequently presented to the successful riders by Princess Eugenie, who was visiting Goodwood with her boyfriend Jack Brooksbank. She was also present in the parade ring when HM The Queen’s two runners, Mustard and Awesome Power run in the first race, the Land Rover Stakes handicap, where Mustard finished third.

Fine victories at Qatar Festival

Sands of Fortune gave trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies and his son, jockey Willie, their first Qatar Goodwood Festival win yesterday. They teamed up to win the opening Victoria Racing Club Handicap with Sands Of Fortune.

Sands of Fortune jockey with Willy Twiston-Davies, head lad

Sands of Fortune jockey with Willy Twiston-Davies, head lad ‘Sparky’ Bevis, Sparky’s wife and son George

The father and son combination enjoyed their first Qatar Goodwood Festival triumphs, teaming up to capture the opening Victoria Racing Club Goodwood Handicap with a bold front-running performance from this six-year-old.He had been lightly raced in an interrupted career, but had been placed on his previous two outings.Willie Twiston-Davies was full of praise to his father and head lad Richard ‘Sparky’ Bevis.

He said: “Dad’s horses are always very fit and Sparky has done all the hard work, so all of the credit goes to him,” said the jockey.”I actually wanted to drop in sixth or seventh – that was the plan – but I jumped out and he gallops all day. I managed to get a couple of breathers into him and I knew that he would stay well. I committed a long way out and knew that they would have to be fit and hardy to get to me. I heard and saw nothing when I was in front.”

He was thrilled with the win, saying it had been hard living up to the family name with the successes of his father and brother Sam. Equally delighted was Sparky’s son, George (eight) who couldn’t wait to pat Sands of Fortune after his win.

Highland Reel, ridden by Joseph O' Brien Photo: Jeannie Knight

Highland Reel, ridden  to victory by Joseph O’ Brien
Photo: Jeannie Knight

Highland Reel, which won last year’s Goodwood Vintage Stakes, justified 7/4 favouritism to take the Neptune Investment Management Gordon Stakes, one of the season’s accepted St Leger trials, for trainer, Aidan O’ Brien, ridden by son Joseph. While a decision about the St Leger has not yet been made, if the horse does run there, he will go straight to the race.

“He is still a bit babyish and will be one for next year,” said O’Brien senior. “He lives on his nerves a bit  but he is getting better. We were just afraid of the energy he could have lost by holding his position but he’s a hardy type and he was brave.”

Trainer Tom Dascombe was back in form with 4-1 shot Kachy winning the Group Three Fairmont Molecomb Stakes, overturning evens favourite King of Rooks. There was also a 7-1 victory for trainer Marcus Tregoning, when Alamode won the Maiden Fillies Stakes.

The EBF Stalliions Veuve Clicquot Fillies’ Stakes was won by Tazfinn at 7-2, ridden by James Doyle for trainer Roger Varian. And the final race of the day, the Nat West Stakes Handicap, saw 14-1 shot Pastoral Player score a rewarding victory or trainer Hughie Morrison, who does well at this meeting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Young rider crowned double champion

An 18-year-old rider from Lincolnshire saw off her older rivals to be crowned the Winter Grades B & C champion yesterday at Hickstead .

There were 24 starters in the class, which forms the conclusion of the prestigious national series. Months of qualifying competitions are held throughout the winter and the series often shines a spotlight on the sport’s upcoming equine talents.

It was young talent Chelsea Skelton who shone brightest, producing an exemplary double clear with the eight-year-old Caramba.Chelsea has ridden the gelding since he was five, and described the horse as a reformed character.

Chelsea Skelton  Photo: Julian Portch

Chelsea Skelton Photo: Julian Portch

“He was really naughty – he used to go up on his back legs and leave the arena. Sometimes I still have to ride him for two hours first to stop him running off with me,” she says.

“We couldn’t afford to buy a really good horse, so we had to go for something that was a bit quirky. I saw him advertised and begged my mum to go and see him, and we bought him with the money she had saved up to buy a new kitchen!”

It was the first time that Chelsea had competed in Hickstead’s famous International Arena, having last ridden here during the Hurstpierpoint College National Schools and Pony Club Championships a few years ago.

“It was a bit nerve wracking, but after the first jump I just thought it’s okay, I know what I’m doing – and he does like a big arena,” adds Chelsea, who has just finished her A Levels.

Earliert, Adrian Whiteway won the 1.25m SEIB Winter Novice Championship on his own eight-year-old gelding, Cojack. They were the fastest of five combinations to jump double clear.

The morning’s pony showjumping action got underway with the Oakley Coachbuilders Winter Grade JC Championship, which was headed by Fife-based Fraser Reed on Bay Friend. They were the fastest of only two combinations who jumped double clear.

The Winter 128cms Championship was won by Hannah Barker and My Little Sweetheart, while the 138cms division went to Shaunie Greig and Drumaclan Flight.

In the showing, Billy Ward claimed the Open Hackney Championship with Westbourne Hi-Tech, while the Leeman Family Supreme Hunter Pony Championship went to Thistledown Las Vegas and Reise Shakespeare.

The international action gets underway today, with the Bunn Leisure Vase, the Bunn Leisure Trophy and the new format Amlin Plus Eventers’ Challenge. Tickets are on sale now and can be bought at the gate or by visiting www.hickstead.co.uk.

 

Goodwood tribute to Sir Peter

Sir Peter, racing correspondent at the Daily Express from 1950 until 1986, was awarded the OBE in 1976 for services to racing, elected a member of the Jockey Club in 1982 and received his knighthood in 1997, the year he delivered his final commentary (the Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup at Newbury).

His enduring appeal and the affection in which he was held by racing professionals, as well as fans from The Queen to punters on the street, was confirmed by his appearance at number 16 in the Racing Post’s 100 Racing Greats published in 2003, sandwiched between no less a pair of racing legends than Sir Noel Murless and Michael Dickinson.

Sir Peter O Sullevan in his commentating days

Sir Peter O Sullevan in his commentating days

The Sir Peter O’Sullevan Charitable Trust, established upon his retirement in 1997, has distributed more than £4 million to six welfare concerns; Blue Cross, Brooke Hospital for Animals, Compassion in World Farming, International League for the Protection of Horses, Racing Welfare and the Thoroughbred Rehabilitation Centre.

As an owner, he enjoyed success with the crack sprinter Be Friendly and reached a landmark 50th winner in December, 2001 when Never scored over hurdles at Ascot.

Sir Peter’s biggest jumping success as an owner came at Cheltenham when Attivo carried his colours up the famous hill in the 1974 Triumph Hurdle at The Festival, a race which he has described as the most difficult he ever called.

With typical professionalism and understatement, he relayed the information to BBC viewers: “And it’s Attivo first, trained by Cyril Mitchell, ridden by Robert Hughes, owned by Peter O’Sullevan.”

Sir Peter’s voice is inextricably tied to a host of the most memorable contests ever staged. At Cheltenham such as Arkle’s head-to-head with Mill House in the 1964 Gold Cup, and his famous Goodwood commentaries included the scintillating finish to the 1992 Sussex Stakes.

The latter contest between the previous year’s Sussex Stakes winner and champion miler Selkirk and the exceptional filly Marling, is one of the most thrilling races ever witnessed at the Goodwood Qatar Festival and it was Sir Peter who enhanced the excitement.

As the ultimately victorious Marling challenged the imposing Selkirk down the far rail, he relayed: “It’s Selkirk the leader as they race into the closing stages. It’s Selkirk with Marling fighting back. Marling is fighting back – is going to win it. Marling is going to win it at the line. Marling and Selkirk in a photo!”

He opened the Sussex Stand at Goodwood Racecourse in 1990.

Solow wins £1m Sussex Stakes

A classy unbeaten French horse stole the show at the second day of the Qatar Goodwood Festival yesterday. The five-year-old grey, Solow, ridden by Maxime Guyon and trained by Freddy Head, won the £1 million Qatar Sussex Stakes Group 1 race.

Sent off 2-5 favourite, Solow held off Arod to win the £1 million Group One Qatar Sussex Stakes by half a length.

Solow coming into the winner’s spot Photo: jeannie Knight

The Freddy Head-trained gelding was only the fifth ever winner of Goodwood’s most valuable ever to be trained in France- and a victory on his first ride at the course for jockey Maxime Guyon.

“He didn’t have the best of runs – he was always in the open and saw a bit of daylight – and he is getting a bit lazy with age too. He does exactly what he needs to,” said Head, who was having his first winner at Goodwood.

Trainer Freddy Head

Trainer Freddy Head

He added that the fast-run race, with some sprinting at times, prevented Solow from gaining much distance.

“He is a hell of a horse. He is kind and you can put him anywhere. He saw daylight all of the race – usually we like to have him covered a bit – but he was always well-balanced and never got into any trouble with the ups and downs.

“Maxime rides him very well – he is very confident and knows no stress – and he is a great rider for his young age. Maxime said that he was always confident that he was going to win but I wasn’t certain. The rest developed into a bit of sprint, they didn’t go a fast pace, so the winning distance was never going to be huge – that’s why he won by half a length.

Jockey Maxime Guyon Photo: Jeannie Knight

Jockey Maxime Guyon
Photo: Jeannie Knight

“I remember my father winning this race (in 1960 with Venture) very well. I was a kid then and I was following all of the horses in the stable. I remember Venture, he was a very good horse.

“I love coming to England and I like going abroad, to America for the big races. When you have a top-class horse, that is what you should do. You train for that.”

He revealed that Solow’s next race would be in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot , with the softer the ground, the better. He added he would probably go straight there from Goodwood and would have a well-deserved holiday afterwards.

“This horse’s career really only started in August last year. He is by Singspiel out of a mare that won over two miles so I always assumed he wanted longer distances. I thought there was something wrong with him, he was working so well in the mornings,

“I decided to step him back in trip and the rest is history. Since then he’s won a Group Three, a Group Two and four Group Ones, he’s pretty special,” he added.

Qatar Festival opens

JOCKEY Adam Kirby made an early start to the Goodwood Festival meeting yesterday when partnering Mount Logan, trained by Luca Cumani to an excellent victory in the opening Sky Bet Handicap over one mile two furlongs.

The  trainer is currently in fine form, having won the King George VI and Queen Ellizabeth Stakes at Ascot three days earlier with Postponed. Both horses are owned by Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum.

Mount Logamm and Adam Kirby coming into the winner's enclosure: Photo: Jeannie Knight

Mount Logan and Adam Kirby coming into the winner’s enclosure: Photo: Jeannie Knight

Kirby, for whom this was his 29th Goodwood win, said: ” Mount Logan is a lovely horse who has been running in big races. He just needed things to go right. It was a strong gallop today and I couldn’t go early, but it was nice to get him out in a bit of daylight and let him gallop down the straight to victory.”

Frankie Dettori opened his account at the meeting in  style, when winning the Qatar Vintage Stakes Group 2 race over seven furlongs with Galileo Gold. Trained by Hugo Palmer the 9/2 chance owned by , Sheikh Joaan Al Thani’s Al Shaqab Racing, won by three-quarters of a length.

Frankie Detorri and Great Gold Photo: Jeannie Knight

Frankie Detorri and Galileo Gold
Photo: Jeannie Knight

His rider said:  “It was an eventful race and I got the splits at the right time. He dug deep and won well. There is a strong wind and everybody was trying to get cover and they are two-year-olds, so they are bound to run around a bit in the straight.”

He added: “He showed a good attitude and I was very impressed. I got a good run through on the inside. He was very brave and quickened up really well. It’s the first race of the meeting for us and we have started off with a winner.

 

Frankie Dtorri after the win Photo:Jeannie Knight

A delighted Frankie Dettori after the win
Photo:Jeannie Knight

“My boss is here today and they have put a hell of a lot of money in this week and it’s nice for them to get a little bit of a reward back. This horse beat the best around today and he beat them well so we’ve got to aim high. This fellow likes to get his toe in and the ground suited him. He’s quirky but he’s learning and has got a good engine.”

Toormore gave trainer Richard Hannon his first of two winners on the opening day of the meeting in the seven-furlong Qatar Lennox Stakes, the £300, 000 Group Two feature race.

It was also Toormore’s first time in Godolphin colours,  having been bought as a future stallion, but he will continue racing this year and also next season, competing in big international events.

Toormore and jockey James Doyle Photo: Jeannie Knight

Toormore and jockey James Doyle
Photo: Jeannie Knight

John Ferguson, bloodstock advisor to Sheikh Mohammed, founder of Godolphin, said seven furlongs was not the horse’s ideal trip, with a mile ideal.  But with two other Godolphin runners, Night of Thunder and Belardo due to run in today’s Group One Qatar Sussex Stakes worth £1 million, he proved to be a tough performer over the shorter trip.

Hannon’s second winner came when 4-1 joint favourite Inland Sea, ridden by Harry Bentley, took the Maiden Stakes of the day in fine style, giving the Storrington-born jockey his first Festival winner. Harry said:”It was great to have my first Glorious Goodwood winner for my boss, Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Thani.”

Harry Bentley following one of his many successes in Doha

Harry Bentley following one of his many successes in Doha, Qatar

He has returned to Britain this year after finishing the winter season riding for him in Qatar, notching up 105 winners and his second jockeys’ championship. He comfortably beat the previous best tally of 64  by jockey David Bouland.

Blue Wave- a 20-1 shot partnered by William Buick won the Summer Stakes handicap over one mile six furlong for Mark Johnston, while Ridge Ranger was another long-priced winner at 14-1 for trainer Eric Alston, ridden by Neil Farley in the Weatherbys Private Banking Stakes five furlong handicap.

In the final race of the day, the Turf Club Handicap Stakes over a mile, three heads separated the first four past the post, where  Andrea Atzeni partnered Mister Music, trained by Robert Eddery to victory at 20-1 , with Dana’s present a neck further back  at 33-1 for Tom Dascombe. Remaining places went to Strong Steps ( Hugo Palmer) and Third Time Lucky ( Richard Fahey).

Opening day of RI show

The opening day of the Longines Royal International Horse Show saw what is thought to be the largest gathering of coloured horses and ponies anywhere in the world, with skewbalds and piebalds as far as the eye could see.

Entries were full to bursting in the Howden Insurance Brokers Ltd Skewbald and Piebald horse and pony classes, with the judging starting at 8am and having only just reached its conclusion.

Competitions for everyone at Hickstead

The overall supreme winner came from the skewbald and piebald ridden pony championship, with the coveted sash going to Login Lucky Lad, who certainly lived up to his name. The 10-year-old was ridden by Michaela Wood.

In overall reserve was the ridden horse champion, Shear Impulse, ridden by Leon King.

Showjumping classes were equally busy, with an incredible 161 starters in the Gray Horsebox Manufacturers 1.00m Open. Hickstead regular Charlotte Uden took the spoils, riding her own Valdi Vee.

In the Hickstead 1.30m Open it was Andrew Davies and Elektrik II who took the top prize, while the Equitop Myoplast Novice Stakes saw Megan Phillips and Banderas riding out as the winners.