Qatar King George Stakes
|Group 2, Goodwood 15:45
5f, Class 1
|Friday 31st July 2015|
1 Muthmir 3/1F
2 Take Cover 20/1
3 Move In Time 7/1
15 ran Distances: hd, ½l, 1½l
TIME 56.08s (fast by 0.92s)
Muthmir wins the Qatar King George Stakes from close second Take Cover
Newmarket trainer William Haggas was back in the winner's enclosure after 3/1 favourite Muthmir - who he trains for Sheikh Hamdan - won the most valuable prize on day four of the Qatar Goodwood Festival.
The five-year-old gelding, a 130,000gns yearling purchase, won the £300,000 Group Two Qatar King George Stakes, collecting £170,000 as his share of the purse. His jockey, Paul Hanagan, gained a clear run along the far rail which enabled Muthmir to reach the front and defy the rally of second-placed Take Cover, who finished a head behind, but half a length in front of Move In Time. As a Group Two winner, Muthmir carried a 4lb penalty, a burden which drew comment from his trainer. Reflecting on the race, he said: "He was good today. They went really fast and there was little chance to tuck him in, but he loves fast ground and a fast pace, and he has a bit of foot as well.
"I'm not sure a 4lb penalty is right - it's rather a large penalty and for this sort of money we should be encouraging class horses to come to a race like this. He earned his penalty and did well to win with it - it's always hard to win a Group race with a penalty.
"It's been a little frustrating with him this season and I was gutted after the King's Stand Stakes [at Royal Ascot, in which he was third] because I thought that was his race this year. He didn't do well in the July Cup [at Newmarket] but sprint races can be messy and that was a messy race for him. But he's won two Group Twos and he's a very good horse - after his handicap performance in the Portland everyone was expecting him to be a superstar, but he hasn't raced many times and we're working him out slowly.
"He's quick and I think we will stick to five furlongs, and probably go for the Nunthorpe Stakes [at York] next time. He will contest all the best five-furlong races here and I hope this won't be the last one he wins. Paul's first winner for me was when he was claiming 7lb, so I have known him a long time and I am delighted for him. He is a very nice guy and much stronger than you think - he is only small and light but, God, he is strong and he is a great guy."
Hanagan added:" He is very good and everyone knows how strong he is now. Sometimes he can come out the gates too well and this lad is a bit ridiculous because he gets a length on most horses. You have to be a bit a bit brave with the blind, you don't want to take it off too quick because, if you do, he will hit the gates too well. Luckily he missed the beat a little bit and was able to kind of relax in behind them. When he won the Group Two in France, I thought that he pricked his ears a little bit but he really knuckled down today - his head was nearly on the floor, he was trying that hard."
Take Cover, a 20/1 chance, went within nose of becoming the first horse since the mighty Lochsong (1993 & 1994) to record back-to-back victories.
The David Griffiths-trained eight-year-old went down by a head to Muthmir, who returned the 3/1 favourite, with a half length back to last year's Prix de l'Abbaye hero Move In Time.
"It's a mixture of being delighted that he has got his form back but also gutted we have been done by a head," said Griffiths.
"He is unbelievable, he's got such a big heart and he tries - he doesn't know that he had finished second.
"He wants genuine good to firm ground to be seen at his best which is probably why he does so well at this time of year. I would say even good ground is not ideal for him in a race like this.
"He will go to York next for Nunthorpe."
Move In Time's trainer David O'Meara, who was also responsible for Out Do (10th), commented: "Move In Time has run another great race and looks as good as ever.
"He will go to the Nunthorpe next. Then there is a trial race for the Abbaye in September and the Abbaye itself. I would say they will be his next three races.
"Everything seemed to happen away from Out Do. He did not get the cover that he craved but I have not lost faith in him. I think he will run a massive race in the Nunthorpe, having won twice already over the course and distance this year."
Betfred King George Stakes (Group 2)
£300,000 added, 3yo plus, 5f, Class 1
Going: Good to Firm, Good in places
|Pos||Dr||D||Horse SP||Jockey Weight||Trainer||Age|
|1st||(3)||Muthmir (IRE) 3/1f||P Hanagan
|W J Haggas||5|
|2nd||(9)||hd||Take Cover 20/1||D Allan
|D C Griffiths||8|
|3rd||(6)||½||Move In Time 7/1||Jim Crowley
|4th||(14)||1½||Line Of Reason (IRE) 12/1||G Lee
|P T Midgley||5|
|5th||(11)||½||Cotai Glory 8/1||Graham Gibbons
|6th||(2)||hd||Justineo 12/1||Andrea Atzeni
|7th||(12)||hd||Justice Day (IRE) 33/1||W Buick
|D R C Elsworth||4|
|8th||(4)||nk||Kingsgate Native (IRE) 25/1||James Doyle
|R M H Cowell||10|
|9th||(13)||½||Katawi 66/1||T E Durcan
|C F Wall||4|
|10th||(15)||¾||Out Do 8/1||D Tudhope
|11th||(10)||½||Caspian Prince (IRE) 50/1||A Kirby
|D K Ivory||6|
|12th||(1)||½||Moviesta (USA) 5/1||P Mulrennan
|13th||(5)||2||Goken (FR) 12/1||O Peslier
|H A Pantall||3|
|14th||(7)||1¾||Salt Island 16/1||J P Spencer
|15th||(8)||½||Dikta Del Mar (SPA) 22/1||S De Sousa