Agencies/Chichester, United Kingdom
The Qatar International Stakes (Group 1 PA) will be a fitting finale to the 2020 edition of the Qatar Goodwood Festival today, with past winners — His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Khalifa al-Thani’s Ebraz (2019 winner and the world’s highest-rated Arabian) and His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Khalifa al-Thani’s Tayf (2017 winner) — going head-to-head yet again.
Yesterday, however, it was Battaash that lit up the Qatar Goodwood Festival with his fourth straight victory in the King George Qatar Stakes (Group 2), beating his own course record.
The day’s feature was a five-furlong sprint for three-year-old and older horses and the Charlie Hills-trained Battaash won the contest in a time of 55.62s, a new course record.
Ridden by Jim Crowley, Battaash was in front after the first two furlongs and never in any serious danger thereafter. Coming home, he continued to win by two lengths and a quarter, beating Tom Eaves-ridden Glass Slippers, trained by Kevin Ryan, while Ornate, trained by David Griffiths, finished third under Oisin Murphy.
“Battaash is so talented and we are very proud to have a horse like him in the yard. He is a six-year-old now and racing is so lucky to have six-year-olds like Battaash, Enable and Stradivarius still doing their stuff. Just to be involved in a horse like him just means everything really. He has broken his own track record. It is brilliant. Four consecutive Group Twos takes some doing and I am just so proud of him. Battaash is not the biggest horse in the world, but he is well-balanced and a true athlete really. He might only have two more runs this year and for a six-year-old, he is lightly-raced really. We’ll keep going until he tells us he is not what he is today,” Hills said after the win.
The eight-race card also included three other black type races — the Saint Clair Oak Tree Stakes (Group 3) for three-year-old and older fillies and mares over seven furlongs, the Bonhams Thoroughbred Stakes (Group 3) for three-year-olds over a mile, and the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate Glorious Stakes (Group 3) for four-year-olds and older over a mile and three furlongs.
One Master leaves it late
One Master justified her position as a market leader for the Saint Clare Oak Tree Stakes (Group 3), getting up on the line to take the honours. Entering the final two furlongs, it was not clear if a gap would appear for the six-year-old Fastnet Rock mare as she raced close to the rail. It was not until well inside the final furlong that she was in the clear to deliver a challenge but when she did, she quickened tremendously to get up on the line and score by a short head for trainer William Haggas and jockey Tom Marquand.
Valeria Messalina, trained by Jessica Harrington, was the runner-up under Frankie Dettori. Charlie Appleby’s trainee Althiqa finished third under William Buick.
Haggas said: “That is our 30th winner in July. I get all the glory and my team do all the work. Tom managed to get out and it was great – she has a terrific turn of foot in this company. We are going to York now for a Group Two race and then the Foret (Group 1 Longchamp, October, a race One Master won in 2018 and 2019).”
Tilsit claims Bonhams Stakes
Tilsit landed the Group 3 race run over a mile for three-year-olds for trainer Hills and jockey Ryan Moore. The winner, a colt by First Defence, began to make progress three furlongs from home. As he entered the final furlong, he hung significantly towards the rail, hampering My Oberon. Tilsit kept on well despite hanging, coming out on top by a length and a half from My Oberon, who is trained by Haggas and was ridden by Marquand. The Roger Varian-trained Khaloosy finished third with Crowley in the saddle.
Hills said: “Tilsit has done so well. He had two runs at Newcastle which is a completely different track to Goodwood and it was his first start on turf – he has really stepped up. It was a good step forward really. He has beaten two very nice horses. We’ll see how he is tomorrow morning and go from there – we could maybe come back here for the Celebration Mile.”
Prompting top Golden Mile Handicap
Prompting, trained by David O’Meara, was the well-supported favourite for the Unibet Golden Mile Handicap and amply justified his position at the head of the market with a comfortable victory.
Travelling well, under Harry Bentley, behind the leaders, the four-year-old Bated Breath gelding took the lead entering the final furlong and without being asked any serious questions scored by a length and a half from top-weight Urban Icon, who is trained by Richard Hannon and was ridden by Pat Dobbs. Afaak, trained by Hills was third under Dane O’Neill.
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