Eric Alston’s Red Baron landed the gamble for us at Musselburgh on Saturday (9/2) keeping on strongly to beat Fast Track by length and half in the Scottish Spring Cup but the handicapper will make life tough for him now.
The ultra consistent Clondaw Warrior (8/1) was a good winner on the score board for my clients on day one of Royal Ascot taking the stayers race for Willie Mullins and Ryan Moore.
Air Force Blue just losing out in the Coventry (8/1 e/w) for us but to be fair we would never have beaten Buratino the Mark Johnston 2yo in the Godolphin silks is by far the best 2yo seen out so far this season and could be anything.
The class horse Free Eagle (4 points at 7/2) was a great result for my troops on the Wednesday on lightning quick ground.
The Qatar Sussex Stakes, the £1-million highlight of the Qatar Goodwood Festival this summer, has attracted a worldwide entry of 39 and takes place last week of Goodwood.
Group One mile contest sees its total prize fund more than treble in 2015 (it was worth £300,000 in 2014) and the great race is the feature of the five-day Qatar Goodwood Festival, which runs from Tuesday, July 28 to Saturday, August 1, inclusive.
The tremendous international entries are the latest two winners of the first British Classic, the QIPCO 2000 Guineas.
The 2014 Classic hero Night Of Thunder (Richard Hannon) made an exciting winning reappearance in the Group One Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes at Newbury on May 18, while this year’s victor at Newmarket, Gleneagles (Aidan O’Brien IRE), added the Irish 2,000 Guineas to his illustrious CV on Saturday.
Champion trainer Richard Hannon, whose father Richard Hannon snr won the Qatar Sussex Stakes on three occasions, holds a particularly strong hand as his five entries also include 2013 champion two-year-old Toormore, runner-up to Night Of Thunder at Newbury, plus Ivawood, successful in the Group Two Richmond Stakes at Goodwood in 2014 and third in both this season’s Newmarket and Irish 2,000 Guineas. Estidhkaar and the Al Shaqab-owned Moheet, who had no luck in running when 8th in the QIPCO 2000 Guineas, complete the Hannon quintet.
With four Qatar Sussex Stakes winners to his name, has a total of 10 entries which also include Highland Reel, successful at Goodwood last year in the Group Two Vintage Stakes over seven furlongs, the 2014 Diamond Jubilee Stakes runner-up Due Diligence and the Group One-winning three-year-old filly Found. There are 12 Irish-trained entries in total.
Jim Bolger could be represented by QIPCO 1000 Guineas second Lucida, while Dermot Weld has entered the unbeaten Zawraq, who is due to run next in the Investec Derby at Epsom.
Horses trained in France have landed the Qatar Sussex Stakes since 1946, most recently Bigstone in 1993.
Quartet of entries hail from the other side of the Channel this year including the 2014 Breeders’ Cup Mile hero Karakontie (Jonathan Pease), recent Poule d’Essai des Poulians (French 2,000 Guineas) victor Make Believe (Andre Fabre) and the fourth from that Classic, Karar (Francis Graffard), plus the top-class Solow (Freddy Head). last-named horse has been a revelation in 2015. Successful in Group Three and Group Two company last season, the five-year-old grey gelding landed the Group One Dubai Turf over nine furlongs at Meydan, Dubai, in March, when defeating dual Group One winner The Grey Gatsby.
Most recent start came in the Group One Prix d’Ispahan over an extended nine furlongs at Longchamp, France, on Sunday, May 24, when he beat Gailo Chop easily by a length and half with multiple Group One winner Cirrus Des Aigles back in fourth. It was his sixth consecutive victory. Head commented: “I have put Solow in the Qatar Sussex Stakes and we will see how things go for him and make a decision nearer the time. The next appearance will be in the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot and we will see where we go from there. He has come out of his run in the Prix d’Ispahan very well and I am very happy with him. I want to stick to a mile with him for the moment. He has won over a mile and one furlong, but for the moment I have no plans to go over further. We will see later in the season, perhaps in the autumn, about going over further with him again but for the moment the top mile races are his aim. He has won on all types of all going and I really think he doesn’t care what the ground is like. He seems to be blossoming with age and I hope he can continue to do so.”
There is interest from further afield, with one entry each from Hong Kong and Australia. performer Able Friend (John Moore) is a four-time Group One winner in Hong Kong, most recently in the Champions Mile on May 3.
Able Friend is the joint highest-rated horse in the world currently on 125. The magnificent miler has won his last six races and is coming to Britain this summer. Australian entry is Criterion (David Hayes).
Criterion has enjoyed three Group One victories down under, with his latest success coming when getting the better of globetrotting Red Cadeaux in the 10-furlong Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Randwick on April 11.
The very speedy Mustajeeb is a leading contender for the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot on Saturday at around 5/1 with the high street bookmakers.
Yours in sport
Back Next Thursday.
Kevan Minter – The Colonel.