Qtar Goodwood Festival finale

Star filly Minding, the world’s joint best-three-year-old filly beforehand, secured her sixth Group One success in the Group One Qatar Nassau Stakes, the feature race on Saturday of the Qatar Goodwood Festival and Europe’s richest race for fillies and mares.
Trained by Aidan O’Brien, who was recording his third success in the race (Peeping Fawn 2007 and Halfway To Heaven 2008) and ridden by Ryan Moore, the daughter of Galileo travelled well throughout the one mile and two furlong contest but met slight trouble in the straight after being snatched up and dropping to last.
Glorious Goodwood -top horses will draw the crowds Photo courtesy of Charles Scott

Top class class racing for crowd at the Qtar Goodwood Festival
Photo Charaes Scott

However, Minding showed her star quality to grind out victory after taking up the lead. Whilst O’Brien’s charge did not show an instant turn of foot, the 1/5 favourite found plenty all the way to the line to record a workmanlike success by a length and a quarter from Queen’s Trust .
A delighted O’Brien registering his fourth success of the week, said: “She was very well coming into the race. We were happy with her at home. We knew it was going to be a small field today and that it was going to be tactical. It was rough enough for her but Ryan negotiated it brilliantly and got through it.
Minding Photo: John Simpson

Photo: John Simpson

“Hopefully, she’ll be fine and OK after the race. I was nervous watching it and a lot of things can happen and race riding can be dangerous at the best of times at the speed they’re going but we had the right outcome today.
“She is a great traveller, she quickens very well, she stays very well. She looks after herself when she gets to the front. She is thriving and she has a great mind. She is an unusual filly who can cruise, relax and quicken. She has always been a big powerful filly but physically she is doing very well. She was big, strong and powerful today.”
 Hoof It rolled back the years to give young jockey Nathan Evans(19) the perfect birthday present as the pair landed the first race of the final day of the Qatar Goodwood Festival, the Qatar Stewards’ Sprint. This was his 28th winner of the current campaign, having rider 12 last season.
Hoof It succeeds again Photo courtesy John Simpson

Hoof It succeeds again
Photo courtesy John Simpson

In another nip-and-tuck Goodwood finish, Dal Harraild thrust his head out to land the Qatar Handicap for William Haggas’s Newmarket stable.
The winner, who was ridden by Pat Cosgrave, carried the colours of his breeder, Andrew Stone of St Albans Bloodstock Ltd. Dal Harraild, a well-backed 5/1 chance, beat Al Shaqab Racing’s Shraaoh (7/1) by a short head, with Move Up (6/1) a head back in third.
 Haggas is thinking of a York challenge and a possible black-type race for the three-year-old gelding next – the horse is entered in the Group Two Great Voltigeur Stakes, but the Melrose Handicap is another possibility.
Dancing Star became the first filly since Lochsong to win the Qatar Stewards’ Cup after the Andrew Balding-trained three-year-old ran out the impressive winner of the £250,000 six-furlong dash on the final day at the Qatar Goodwood Festival.
Like Lochsong, the 9/2 favourite is owned by Jeff Smith and is from the same family, with her grand-dam, Lochangel, being a half-sister to the 1992 winner. She was always travelling kindly for her jockey, David Probert, and accelerated away from the field in the final furlong in the style of a very good horse, recording a one and a quarter length victory from runner-up Orion’s Bow.
Ryan Moore was crowned Racing UK Qatar Goodwood Festival Top Jockey for the third time with eight victories at the West Sussex course over the five days. Mark Johnston took the top trainer title for the tenth  time with four winners, six seconds and four thirds.
General Manager of Goodwood, Alex  Eade, commented: “The Qatar Goodwood Festival has continued to be a great success in its second year. The racing has been as good if not better than ever.
 “We have been delighted with the crowds this week and the total attendance has topped 100,000 again, which is always our target.
“Racegoers have enjoyed their time at Goodwood and, while we could have wished for better weather, the rain never lasted long.
 “Our new bar and hospitality areas have done really well this week and our aim is to continually enhance  the racegoer experience.”

Take Cover wins Qatar King George Stakes

Trainer David Griffiths was delighted following 8/1 chance Take Cover’s pillar to post victory in the Group Two Qatar King George Stakes worth £312,100 at the Qatar Goodwood Festival yesterday ridden by David Allan.
It was the nine-year-old’s second victory in the five-furlong Group Three contest, having won in in 2013, and he was also a head second behind Muthmir in the same race last year. The son of Singspiel stuck his head out well to record a famous neck victory.
Griffiths, who is based at Bawtry, south of Doncaster, said:.“It’s unbelievable – he loves it here.Take Cover is still as good as ever at nine. He is obviously a bit mad although he has calmed down a lot as he has got older.
Goodwood winner Take Cover kin fine form yesterday Photo: Peter Jackson

Goodwood winner Take Cover kin fine form yesterday Photo: Peter Jackson

“On the track now we seem to have it spot on now with the blind off as soon the gates open. After the Nunthorpe debacle, we had to do something a bit different.
“We came in with as much confidence as you can have in a Group Two. I thought he was in really good form. We drew a line under Ascot but his Listed form with Cotai Glory had worked out well with that horse finishing second in the King’s Stand.
“The plan will be to go for the Nunthorpe (at York) now. He loves it at York and has won a couple of times there. He just hasn’t had any luck in the Nunthorpe. The first time he ran, he hit his head on the stalls and then last year he went under them, so I just hope he’s straight out of them safe and sound this time around!
“Hopefully, all being well, we’ll be back here again next year. He’s nine but has no miles on the clock and retains all his enthusiasm. He’s the perfect sprinter. He’s our flagship horse and puts us on another level when we can compete at the likes of Royal Ascot, York and here.”

Germany wins Nations Cup™ at Hickstead

The German team proved too good for its rivals in the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ of Great Britain, the feature class at the Longines Royal International Horse Show at Hickstead yesterday.

The quartet of Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum (Fibonacci 17), Janne Friederike Meyer (Goja 27), Patrick Stühlmeyer (Lacan 2) and Ludger Beerbaum (Chiara 222) finished on a score of just four faults, ahead of Ireland and Belgium, who shared second place with eight faults.

Germany's successful Nations Cup™ team yesterday: Photo Craig Payne

Germany’s successful Nations Cup™ team yesterday: Photo Craig Payne

Germany has a superb record at Hickstead, winning the Edward, Prince of Wales Trophy five times in the past decade, and yesterday they once again proved themselves to be a class above the rest. Such was the strength of the team’s performance, anchorman Ludger Beerbaum did not have to start in either round.

“We had a great team – it’s not often the last rider doesn’t have to jump in both rounds,” said pathfinder Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum.

Chef d’equipe Otto Becker added: “It was a great performance today and all these guys here deserve the victory – I’m very happy with that.”

This was a crucial competition for Great Britain. They started well, finishing on four faults in round one, but 16 faults accrued in round two dropped them to sixth place overall. This means they will be relegated from European Division One in next year’s Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup series.

Earlier this morning, Nicole Pavitt clocked up another win in the International Arena, this time riding Virginia Quine’s 14-year-old gelding Victor Blue. Pavitt topped the field of 34 in the Bunn Leisure International Stakes, recording the fastest clear round by 1.7sec and qualifying for Saturday’s British Speed Classic. Pavitt defied an ankle injury sustained in a fall earlier this week to take the honours.

“He’s naturally quick and likes to think he’s in control, so this type of class suits him,” she said of Victor Blue. “You know nine out of ten times he’ll be clear and fast. He’s brilliant, my horse of a lifetime really. We’ll see what tomorrow brings in the Speed Classic.”

In the showing classes, Katrina Braithwaite defended her crown in the Nettex Supreme Working Hunter Championship with Killderry Rupert. Katrina has owned the nine-year-old gelding for just over four years. “Before I bought him he hunted, so the tracks here suit him,” she said. “He’s so rideable and always tries to please. It’s magical to win after producing him myself.”

Allister Hood took the Saracen Horse Feeds Supreme Riding Horse Championship with Diamonds Are Forever. Owner Annabel Jenks bred the seven year old, who only went out a couple of times as a four year old. Allister said: “It’s lucky Annabel was so patient as he hasn’t been out over the past couple of years. He’s really grown into himself and our patience has paid off because he’s unbeaten this season.”

Today’s highlight is the Templant Events Queen Elizabeth II Cup, a prestigious national championship that is open to the highest ranked riders in the UK. Last year’s winner was 21-year-old Chloe Winchester – join us tomorrow to find out who will be taking this year’s title.

You’re Hired wins for Amanda Perrett

AMANDA Perrett registered her seventh Goodwood Festival winner courtesy of 9/1 shot You’re Hired in the Matchbook Betting Exchange Handicap over one mile two furlongs ridden by Martin Dwyer.

Entering the final furlong, the son of Dalakhani ran on to snatch the lead in the closing stages and won by a head from Ode To Evening , with Stargazer who was a further head back in third.

Amanda Perrett said: “It’s great to have a winner at my local track. It’s so special for owner George Materna, to have a winner here.The owners have been very patient with this horse. He had a problem earlier in the year and they didn’t ever rush us at any stage.

“We just about managed to squeeze in the race at Salisbury  where he won by a neck on July 9, to get him handicapped and it’s fantastic.

“You’re Hired was pretty flat out right from the word go and only got up in the last strides of the line at Salisbury.

“He just showed his inexperience by hanging quite badly left-handed but with an experienced jockey on top he was where we needed him to be at the right time. Martin also did the weight thankfully.

Winning connecions of You're Hired at Goodwood

Winning connections of You’re Hired at Goodwood

“You’re Hired is by Dalakhani so I don’t think we were expecting him to be particularly precocious. His half-brother by Frankel (Seven Heavens) won first time out for Prince Khalid Abdullah. It is a wonderful Cheveley Park family and we are very lucky to buy into it.”

This was her 68th Goodwood success, and Amanda Perrett suggested the colt might return to the Sussex venue during August.


The Gurkha wins Qatar Sussex Stakes

AT the end of the second day of the Qtar Goodwood Festival, jockey James Doyle has taken the lead  in the jockey championship, with four wins to his credit so far, and four places. Ryan Moore is in second place with  two wins and two thirds, while opening day leader,  while opening day leader Adam Kirby is in third place with two wins.

Meanwhile Mark Johnston has top trainer spot with two winners, two seconds and two third places.

The Aidan O’Brien-trained The Gurkha ran out a gutsy winner of the Group One Qatar Sussex Stakes, the feature race on day two of the Qatar Goodwood Festival. Following two creditable runs in defeat in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot and the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown, O’Brien’s charge seemed to appreciate the return to a faster surface.
Having broken well under Ryan Moore, registering his first success in the £1-million race, the well-backed 11/8 favourite always travelled kindly on the rail in behind market rival Galileo Gold. Turning for home, the son of Galileo looked to be travelling best of the 10 runners but got slightly caught for room approaching the two-furlong pole.
However, once Moore found daylight on the French Guineas winner, The Gurkha responded well to his jockey’s urgings to quicken up nicely and battle on gamely all the way to the line, fending off the late challenge of Galileo Gold by a neck with Godolphin’s Ribchester a further short-head back in third.
The Ghurka: Photo: John Simpson

The Ghurka on a previous run: Photo: John Simpson

O’Brien, registering his fifth success in the Group One feature and his 15th victory at the Qatar Goodwood Festival, said: “Ryan was prepared to make the running today if no-one was going to make it but I presume he was happy where he was.”
The Ballydoyle handler was quick to point out that the three-year-old’s run last time on soft ground in the 10-furlong Coral-Eclipse was a far from ideal preparation.
He commented: “We always thought he was a very fast horse, he has an awful lot of speed. He was always a fast Galileo. But we took a chance at Sandown over a stiff mile and a quarter in soft ground and we were just worried that it took a lot out of him but from day one he has always been very quick.”
Today is Ladies Day, headed by the charity race for lady riders , featuring many well-known female personalities taking part in the Magnolia Cup, at 1.25pm


Don’t miss Nations Cup at Hickstead

HICKSTEAD is hosting the final leg of European division one of the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™  on Friday afternoon this week ( July 29), exactly one week before the start of the Olympic Games.
The British squad comprises Scott Brash (Hello Guv’nor), Ben Maher (Diva II), Jess Mendoza (Spirit T), Tim Stockdale (Fleur de l’Aube) and Michael Whitaker (Viking V).
Ben and Michael will be heading from Hickstead to Rio to compete in the Olympics, while Jess Mendoza joins them as travelling reserves.

But while the Brits will no doubt be fighting hard to retain their Olympic team gold from four years ago, the quartet at Hickstead will no doubt be keen to win their first home Nations Cup leg since 2010.

The Nations Cup competition sees teams of four riders compete over two rounds, with the best three scores from each round counting towards the team total. Countries from around the world take part in their various leagues, trying to qualify for the final in Barcelona in September. The teams choose which legs they want to count as ‘point scoring’ venues, and at other legs they try to stop their rivals picking up valuable qualifying points.

At Hickstead, Britain faces tough competition for points. Last year’s champions Belgium, the winners of the British Nations Cup for the first time ever, return with the hope of winning for a second year in a row. Switzerland, Germany and Italy are also all seeking qualifying points, while the USA (winners here in 2014), the Netherlands (reigning European and World champions) and Ireland (winners in 2012) will all be doing their utmost to win.

Despite the proximity to the Olympics, many of the world’s top riders have been nominated to compete at Hickstead, guaranteeing a great line-up.

Di Lampard leading out the British team in 2017 at Hickstead

Di Lampard leading out the British team in 2015 at Hickstead

Sunday afternoon’s showcase class, the €200,000 Longines King George V Gold Cup. The class has been won by the USA’s Beezie Madden for the past two years, with Madden becoming the first female rider to win the historic trophy.

Britain last won this class in 2013, when Ben Maher and his former Olympic ride Tripple X took the title.
Saturday’s Templant Events Queen Elizabeth II Cup is one of the most coveted titles in the national showjumping circuit, with only the highest-ranked riders in Great Britain eligible to compete. Last year it was won by the then 21-year-old Chloe Winchester, making her Hickstead international debut.

The show also plays host to hundreds of national showjumping classes, including the British Showjumping Winter Finals. The international showjumping classes get underway from Thursday onwards, with the Bunn Leisure Vase and the Bunn Leisure Trophy.

The show is also the most prestigious in the outdoor showing season, with hundreds of showing championships reaching their conclusion on the hallowed turf of Hickstead.

Holly’s Hickstead success

HOLLY Smith (née Gillott) was on winning form once again at Hickstead, winning a prestigious class at the Longines Royal International Horse Show. Riding Quality Old Joker, an eight-year-old Irish Sport Horse, Holly claimed the Winter Grades B & C Championship in the International Arena.

Nine combinations made it through to the jump-off, with Holly going third from last. A well-judged round by the Leicestershire-based rider saw her knock nearly 3sec off first-drawn Adrian Whiteway’s time.

“He’s 17.3hh and big with it, so he’s not the most conventional, but he’s honest,” said Holly about her winning ride. “The jump-off really suited him and I knew it would. He can turn on a sixpence – he’s light on his feet for a big horse.”

Holly Smith and Quality Old Joker Photo: Julian Portch

Holly Smith and Quality Old Joker Photo: Julian Portch

It’s been a very successful few weeks for Holly, who had several wins at last month’s Equestrian.com Hickstead Derby Meeting and had already won the 1.35m Open earlier today with Carolus K. Holly has also had reason to celebrate this month as she got married on 1 July. “It was all a bit hectic!” said Holly. “We did have four nights in the Costa del Sol, but only after we’d been to Ireland buying horses.”

Holly’s husband, Graham, bought Quality Old Joker as a four year old. “He came back with him and said ‘I’ve bought you a jumper’ and I wasn’t impressed at first – he’s so different to anything else I’ve got. He’s so sensitive as he’s got loads of blood, so you have to sit very quietly.”

The gelding is part owned by James Mossman, the master of the Quorn Hunt, who fieldmastered on him for a year. “He’s a really versatile horse – he jumped a puissance at Bolesworth and he can do speed trials… You’d think he wouldn’t be quick, but actually, he is,” added Holly.

She was also delighted to see her former international Grand Prix horse Dougie Douglas, who was sold to America last year. “Dougie’s actually here this week – I think he recognised me! It was really nice to see him again and Katie Dinan’s doing really well with him.”

Berkshire’s Laura Mantel won the SEIB Winter Novice Championship in the International Arena, riding New Priory Stud’s six-year-old mare Funnycan. Only four of the 24 starters jumped clear rounds and Mantel provided the fastest of those, finishing 2.15sec quicker than her closest rival.

In the showing classes, 15-year-old Josephine Ready took the Leeman Family Supreme Show Hunter Pony Championship with Wolferlow Esperanto. The eight-year-old chestnut had previously competed at medium-level dressage. “He’s only been out to around six or eight shows this year and we’re still teaching him his new job away from dressage. We don’t think he’s even stayed away from home before – we just wanted him to go well today, but he’s so anxious to please,” she said.

Kavanaghs Imperial Assal was crowned champion in the Pure Bred Ridden Arabian Championship, ridden by Laura Rowe. ‘Freddy’ is Laura’s first Arab and she bought him as a two-year-old. “I only bought him to sell on, but I can’t part with him. He was tricky at the start, but now I’ve got his confidence it’s like being sat in a rocking chair.”

Pippa Duncan and Gruguar Skylark took the Ponies (UK) Dalkeith Young Riders M&M Championship. ‘Sky’ was produced by Terri Guyett, who explains this is only Pippa’s second season in showing. “She’s only just out of first ridden this season. She’s never even watched anything in the International Arena, let alone ridden in there, so she’s a bit shell shocked!”

The international showjumping gets underway today, with the Bunn Leisure Vase and the Bunn Leisure Trophy in the morning. The afternoon’s highlight is the Amlin Plus Eventers’ Challenge, which features many of the world’s top event riders. The class will be televised live on Hickstead.tv, as well as the FEI YouTube channel.

Tickets are on sale at the gate at Hickstead if you want to see live action.

War Decree impresses at Goodwood

The Aidan O’Brien-trained War Decree (6/4 favourite) ran out a comfortable one and three-quarter length winner of the Group Two Qatar Vintage Stakes under Ryan Moore to provide his trainer with his 16th winner at Goodwood and his 14th at the Qatar Goodwood Festival.
Moore settled the son of War Front in behind the leaders early on with the two-year-old travelling well throughout the seven-furlong contest.
In the home straight, O’Brien’s charge took a while to respond to Moore’s urgings but, approaching the furlong pole, came to challenge Thunder Snow for the lead. War Decree quickened up well inside the last half-furlong to assert clear of his rivals and win readily.
Kevin Buckley, UK Representative for Coolmore, said: “War Decree has definitely improved from the Superlative Stakes last time. We had a 3lb advantage today, he is still a little green but that was an exciting performance.
War Decree: Photo John Simpson

War Decree: Photo John Simpson

“We might look at the Champagne or the National Stakes. Going to America is certainly a possibility given his pedigree.
“Ryan was very complimentary. War Decree is definitely improving and has come on a lot from the Superlative. He is still learning though – he’s still a bit on the green side – but he did that really well.”
The Mick Channon-trained Elidor (16/1) was a game neck winner of the 14-furlong Better Odds With Matchbook Summer Handicap under an inspired Silvestre de Sousa ride.
Trainer Mick Channon

Trainer Mick Channon  Photo John Simpson

Having been settled in the mid-division by De Sousa, the six-year-old steadily made progress in the home straight. Travelling well on the wide outside, the son of Cape Cross came to challenge for the lead at the furlong pole and stuck on gamely to beat Qewy  by a neck.
Channon registering his 101st Goodwood winner and 13th at the Qatar Goodwood Festival, said: “He keeps turning up bless him. He has always had a bit of class and I am delighted. It is nice when you can win at Royal Ascot and Glorious Goodwood. He is tough and just a very good horse.
“The Ebor was always the target for this horse but because we have had the ground that he wants, we couldn’t wait. We will still go to the Ebor but we didn’t want to miss the ground today. He has been in great form as have all the horses at home so we are very pleased.”

Plumpton racecourse’s new season

PLUMPTON’S new Chief Executive, Russell Bowes, took the reins of the Sussex track earlier this year, and can to look back on an excellent season of national hunt racing at one of the UK’s most picturesque racecourses.

Plumpton's new chief exeutive, Russell Bowes

Plumpton’s new chief exeutive, Russell Bowes

2016 began with the At The Races Sussex National Raceday in January. Sadly, the raceday ended early due to torrential rain making it unsafe to race. Gladly, the Sussex National was moved and took place at the Easter weekend. The three February racedays went ahead without a hitch, with punters enjoying an extra fixture on the last day of the month.

As the evenings drew lighter and the sun came out, Plumpton enjoyed Easter fun at their weekend family fun festival. Racegoers enjoyed activities including a fun fair and pony rides for budding jockeys. The Easter Sunday Bonnet Competition was as popular as ever and won by Lara Pilbeam, age two.

To round off the season it was a glamourous affair at Plumpton’s annual Ladies Day with record attendance. The best dressed competition attracted entrants from far afield, being won by Holly Gausden from Eastbourne (right), and the plethora of activities, and South East Point to Point pony racing, kept racegoers of all ages entertained in the Sussex sunshine.

The Paddock Restaurant continues to be a popular choice for racegoers with many dates already sold out ahead of the season.

Russell said:“It won’t be long until the action and exhilaration returns to Plumpton Racecourse in September and we’re working really hard to prepare the course ahead of this season. We kick off after the break on Sunday September 18 with our Family Raceday. This is followed on Monday October 17 with a firm Plumpton favourite, the Moorcroft Racehorse Welfare Centre Raceday.

“I’m really looking forward to the season ahead and am delighted to be working with such an experienced team.”

For tickets and information regarding racing at Plumpton Racecourse, please visit www.plumptonracecourse.co.uk.

Minding heads for Nassau Stakes

Star three-year-old filly Minding (Aidan O’Brien)headlines 10 confirmations for the £600,000 Group One Qatar Nassau Stakes (3.10pm), Europe’s most valuable race for fillies and mares and the highlight of a seven-race card at Goodwood on the fifth and final day of the Qatar Goodwood Festival, Saturday, July 30.

The Galileo filly already has five Group Ones under her belt, including Classic triumphs this year in the QIPCO 1000 Guineas at Newmarket and the Investec Oaks at Epsom Downs, and last time gained an easy victory in the Group One Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh on June 26.

Minding heads for Goodood Photo: John Simpson

Minding heads for Goodood
Photo: John Simpson

Her trainer Aidan O’Brien, chasing a third success in the Qatar Nassau Stakes, has also left in fellow Group One scorers Alice Springs and Ballydoyle.

Sir Michael Stoute is out to match the late Sir Henry Cecil’s record of eight victories in Qatar Nassau Stakes with potential improver Queen’s Trust. The three-year-old was hampered on her reappearance when fourth in a 10-furlong Listed race at Newbury and flew home to fill the same position in the Group Two Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Chris Richardson, racing manager for owner Cheveley Park Stud, commented today: “The plan is to run Queen’s Trust in the Qatar Nassau Stakes. She is an improving filly and we feel that she has been a bit unlucky so far.

“Sir Michael is adamant that she should be competing at the top level and, whilst I appreciate Minding might be an impossible filly to beat, if you are not in you cannot win.
“I don’t think the drop back in trip will be a problem. The family were specialists over 10 furlongs and, although she looked better the further she went at Ascot, she has got a turn of foot.”

Another Newmarket trainer, John Gosden, has won three of the last four runnings of the Qatar Nassau Stakes and could saddle Swiss Range. The Khalid Abdullah homebred announced herself with a pair of impressive victories at Newmarket in the spring but could only finish eighth in the French Oaks last time out

Other Qatar Nassau Stakes entries include French challenger Jemayel (Jean Claude Rouget), winner of the Group One Prix Saint Alary in May, plus Hawksmoor (Hugo Palmer) and Beautiful Romance (Saeed bin Suroor) who have both captured Group Two prizes this season. Course scorers Bateel and Carnachy (both David Simcock) complete the potential field.

The feature heritage handicap of the meeting is the £250,000 Qatar Stewards’ Cup (3.45pm) over six furlongs. Dandy Nicholls has taken the spoils three times since the turn of the century and is responsible for warm favourite Orion’s Bow and Kimberella. Orion’s Bow is chasing a six-timer following wins in valuable handicaps at Newcastle and Hamilton, while Kimberella captured the Sky Bet Dash at York on Saturday (July 23).