Gordon Stakes Glory for Namibian
1 Namibian 7/1
7/1 chance Namibian added to his Royal Ascot victory when landing the bet365 Gordon Stakes and becoming trainer Mark Johnston’s 50th Glorious Goodwood winner.
Ridden by in-form Silvestre De Sousa, Namibian dropped back to 12 furlongs for today’s race, having won the Queen’s Vase over two miles at the Royal meeting. This was the three-year-old’s seventh race of the season.
Johnston said: “Silvestre said they went quick so he sat in behind, although I did think the pace was too slow for him early in the race. I knew he would stay at the finish and he’s outstayed his rival [favourite Fiorente]. He started in a fairly low grade and made rapid progress since that Musselburgh handicap [in June before Royal Ascot], but he just wasn’t ready earlier in the season.
“It was a last-minute decision to run today, because we had Dordogne in the race and he was a proven mile-and-a-half horse and a course winner at Goodwood, so he was my preferred choice, but I feared that the ground might be easy - and it’s not, it’s probably perfect - and with the rain this morning that made up my mind.
“It’s great to get a winner on the board so early in the meeting - it enables you to relax for the week.”
Namibian is quoted at 8/1 (with Fiorente) for the Ladbrokes St Leger with Victor Chandler, and Johnston said: “I’ll have to talk to the owner, but today has shown that a mile and three quarters should be no problem at Doncaster.”
Of De Sousa he said: “I think confidence in a jockey is a huge factor, and he has it in abundance. He’s not worried when Ryan Moore is alongside him and nor do I.”
De Sousa said: “He travelled well and I was happy in the position I found myself. He’s a genuine horse and tough, and if you’re on the best horse you’ll win the race. Ryan is a very strong jockey in a finish, but my horse was running for me.
“I never thought I’d be in the first three in the jockeys’ championship, and now I’ve been there for three weeks, but I’m not thinking about the title. If I’m there in the final week I’ll go for it, but I just want to ride winners.
“Namibian is a lovely horse and he tries hard. I was a little bit concerned with the trip - the step back from two miles to a mile and a half - but he got it well. I am pleased with the way he did it.
“I would say that the St Leger distance would suit him and he loved today’s ground.”
FIORENTE STILL POSSIBLE FOR DONCASTER
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