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Gordon Stakes Glory for Namibian

1 Namibian 7/1
2 Fiorente 11/10F
3 Hunter's Light 8/1
NR: Dordogne (IRE)
10 ran Distances: nk, 1¼l, 1l
TIME 2m 39.55s (slow by 5.55s)

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.

© Racehorse Photos


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.”


Starting Price
Beaten Distance
M Johnston
S De Sousa
9st 3lbs
7 - 1
Sir Michael Stoute
R L Moore
9st 0lbs
11 - 10
Hunter's Light
S bin Suroor
T E Durcan
9st 0lbs
8 - 1
1 1/4 length
M P Tregoning
R Hills
9st 0lbs
20 - 1
1 length
Highland Castle
D R C Elsworth
Dane O'Neill
9st 0lbs
16 - 1
2 lengths
Hurricane Higgins
M Johnston
D Holland
9st 0lbs
33 - 1
B W Hills
M Hills
9st 0lbs
4 - 1
1 1/2 length
R Hannon
R Hughes
9st 0lbs
20 - 1
1 3/4 length
Measuring Time
R Hannon
J Fortune
9st 0lbs
33 - 1
1 1/4 length
Well Sharp
M Dods
P Makin
9st 0lbs
33 - 1
1/2 length
M Johnston
T P Queally
9st 3lbs



The Sir Michael Stoute-trained Fiorente lost out by a neck to Namibian when sent off 11/10 favourite for the Group 3 bet365 Gordon Stakes but the runner-up could still takes his chance in the Ladbrokes St Leger in September.

“Our fellow is a progressive horse but we were beaten fair and square,” said Stoute. “He doesn’t have a lot of mileage on the clock. He is in the Leger but it’s not a good time to make a decision on that now.”

Peter Reynolds, manager to owners Ballymacoll Stud, added: “That was the first time he’s ever had to battle in a race and it will have taught him a lot. We might end up going for the Great Voltigeur at York and that would give us a better idea about the St Leger. He’s by Monsun out of a Pilsudski mare so he’d no problem staying the trip if he went to Doncaster.”

Saeed bin Suroor, trainer of third-placed Hunter’s Light, commented: “He ran really well and liked the ground. We will keep our options open with him but he might be better going back to a mile and a quarter.”

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