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.
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.
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.
“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.