Qatar Goodwood Festival 2018
|Tuesday 31st July - Saturday 4th August|
Jessica Harrington has never been to Goodwood, let alone had a runner at the West Sussex racecourse.
But the leading trainer on the Flat and over jumps is keen to visit Goodwood during the Qatar Goodwood Festival this year as she wants to run Torcedor in the G1 Qatar Goodwood Cup on the opening day, Tuesday, July 31.
The Irish-based handler commented today over the phone at a media event for the Qatar Goodwood Festival in London today: “Torcedor would be my first runner at Goodwood. At the moment, we are all systems go to run in the Qatar Goodwood Cup.
“Dubai didn’t go right for him at the start of the year as he travelled badly out there and lost a lot of weight. Luckily Colm [O'Donoghue, jockey] looked after him when things weren’t going right in his race and that was really the reason we could bring him back and run in the Sagaro at Ascot which he won.
“He then ran a great race to finish third in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot, but I think he can be just as effective away from Ascot. He has won for me around Navan and Leopardstown, and at various different courses so I think he is fairly adaptable now.
“There is always a chance we could beat Stradivarius. The drop back to two miles will suit Torcedor as he does have plenty of pace. He stays further than that, but I do feel two miles will suit him.
“If he could run second to Stradivarius, I would be delighted.
“You always hope you are getting a bit more quality in the yard when you have more horses. I think I have some nice horses and some of them are fulfilling their potential this year.
“Colm (O’Donoghue – Torcedor’s regular rider) is very important and I am also very lucky to have Warren O’Connor who rides work for me and was a very good jockey. They both tell me a lot about how the horses are. I can look and see the horses, but I really need the feedback from the people on board.
“I have never been to Goodwood – it is on during Galway week where I am busy so that is the reason I have never been. I have to go somewhere new this year and we will see what happens.”
Aidan O’Brien, Britain and Ireland’s champion Flat trainer who has sent out 18 winners at the Qatar Goodwood Festival, revealed today: “The Qatar Sussex Stakes (G1, 1m, Wednesday, August 1, is the plan for Gustav Klimt at the minute. If everything goes well, that is what we are looking at for him.
“He has had a busy season so far. We were happy with his run last time in France (third in the G1 Prix Jean Prat at Deauville) and we think Goodwood might really suit him. He is a fast horse and we think a mile is his maximum. There is every chance that he will be suited by an easier mile. Ascot and the Curragh are both tough miles and he travelled very well in those races. We just think a mile on fast ground at Goodwood is probably an easier mile for him. Last time at Deauville they went hard all the way and you need to stay well at that track. We just think that he will be very happy on the track and the bends at Goodwood.
“Things just haven’t really worked for him so far this season. He probably needs a bit of cover in his race so that he can quicken. We think and hope that it can happen for him.
“We could also run one or two of the other entries. Happily has been running over further, but might be happy going back to a mile so we will see about that.
“We were delighted with Clemmie last time at Newmarket (third to the Harrington-trained Alpha Centauri in G1 Falmouth Stakes) last week and thought that she had progressed from the Irish Guineas. We think that she can progress more, so she is also in the mix.”
Turning his attention to the £500,000 G1 Qatar Goodwood Cup (2m, Tuesday, July 31), O’Brien continued: “The plan is for Idaho to go for the Qatar Goodwood Cup. We felt that we would go beyond a mile and six furlongs with Idaho sometime.
“He won the Ormonde Stakes well at Chester and we have always felt that Goodwood might suit him. He is better going right-handed and feel that the step up in trip will suit and help bring out some improvement.
“The plan with Order Of St George is to aim him at Ascot in the autumn if the ground comes up easy.
“She is in very good form and we were half-thinking of running her with Clemmie at Newmarket last week. She is ready to go.
“We have a Galileo colt out of Christmas Kid (named Christmas) who won at Roscommon last week and he is a possible for the Qatar Vintage Stakes (G2, 7f, July 31). With the two-year-olds, we try to decide nearer the time as they are changing so much at this time of year, but hopefully we will be competing in the main races for them at the Qatar Goodwood Festival.”
Thady Gosden, son of and assistant to John Gosden, reported today: “Stradivarius’s preparation for the Goodwood Cup has been excellent so far. He pulled off a shoe in the Gold Cup at Ascot so it showed how brave he was to be able to win that day.
“He has come out of the race bouncing and we’re looking forward to the Qatar Goodwood Cup. Stradivarius is an absolute pleasure to be around at home. He is push-button and always happy. He never gets malicious and he doesn’t cause us any trouble at all.
“He likes to have a jump around and tell everybody that he is good. He is not a big horse, but has a very big heart and is a top-class horse.
“I’m not in a position to discuss riding plans as it will be up to the owners as to who rides our horses if Frankie (Dettori who is appealing against a 10-day ban which would rule him out of the entire Qatar Goodwood Festival) is not available. Frankie has ridden Without Parole in all of his races and he gets on well with Stradivarius. You wouldn’t really have anyone else on either horse if you could at the moment.
“Things didn’t really go to plan for Without Parole in the G1 St James’s Palace Stakes. They went very fast and Frankie had to go to the front a long way from home.
“He’s inexperienced horse and in front of a big crowd like that, it was a very different atmosphere for him and I think he learned a lot from that run as he wondered where the rest of the field were.
“Physically, he has done well too. He still carries a lot of condition and you would still be hard-pressed to find a rib on him at this stage.
“There are pretty tough horses to beat in the Sussex Stakes and I think it could be a very competitive race as it may be a big field, so the draw will be important.
“I like Highgarden in the Lillie Langtry (G2, Thursday, August 2) over a mile and six furlongs. She is a nice, big classy filly and she will be suited by the step up in trip, so I am looking forward to watching her run at Goodwood.”
Another Newmarket handler with a strong Qatar Goodwood Festival team is William Haggas.
“We thought Urban Fox wanted fast ground and she seems to like it. I don’t know what she would be like on soft. Usually, when horses get that good they usually don’t like both types of ground. It is going to rain sometime – I hope it is not at Goodwood on Thursday week.
“Call To Mind is in great form. He has got a bit to find on the book but is doing really well. John Warren (racing manager to Call To Mind’s owner The Queen) was up at the July Meeting and came to see Call To Mind – he thought what we all think here in that the horse is making good physical progress. He has a bit to find with the best ones but stays well and is a very genuine horse. He should run a good race.
“William Buck who rode him at York said that the horse wants two miles and that is why we went to New York (when successful in the G2 Belmont Gold Cup Invitational Stakes on June 8). We haven’t got as far as thinking about a jockey for Goodwood yet.
“We have a few in the handicaps like most people as they are valuable and good races. I don’t know if Muthmir will run in the G2 King George Qatar Stakes – he has been a bit unfortunate in his last two runs but is not going to beat Battaash realistically. We would also like to run something in the G2 Qatar Lillie Langtry Stakes – possibly What A Home or Maid To Remember. It looks like Society Power is being sold so he won’t be going to Goodwood.
“We should keep ourselves busy enough. We hope to run The Queen’s Seniority in the Golden Mile and we might have a couple in the Oak Tree Stakes – Pretty Baby who ran well at York and One Master, who is by Fastnet Rock out of Enticing. Young Rascal will not be ready in time for the Qatar Gordon Stakes and will go to York for the Great Voltigeur.”
Roger Teal is not sure yet whether his stable star Tip To Win will go for the G2 Qatar Lennox Stakes (G2 on Tuesday, July 31 or be supplemented for the G1 Qatar Sussex Stakes (1m, Wednesday, August 1).
“We have entered Tip Two Win in the Qatar Lennox Stakes and we might end up running in the race. We could supplement for the Qatar Sussex Stakes, but it looks as if the Qatar Lennox Stakes is the plan at the moment.
“The Lennox is over seven furlongs and my thought process is that if we are going to take on older horses for the first time, I would prefer to do it over seven. He shows a lot of speed at home, so it might be the right thing to do to go for the Lennox.
“At Ascot, he was beaten by three top-class horses and U S Navy Flag, who was behind him that day, ended up winning the G1 July Cup the other day, so it was a top-class race and the form has already taken a boost.
“The G1 Qatar Sussex Stakes is over a mile, but he is a late foal and I feel that it will be a different test for him to take on horses of all ages and therefore, we are keen to go back to seven furlongs as it might suit him better.
“We haven’t definitely ruled out the Sussex Stakes, but we’ll see how he is and let him tell us. We could supplement him for the Sussex Stakes, so the decision is still yet to be made about where we definitely run.
“I have been very proud of his efforts this year. We were slightly disappointed with his run in the St James’s Palace as we felt he could have finished closer if things had turned out differently in the race.
“Things didn’t quite go to plan as we were caught behind horses early and he was slow away from the stalls and pulled hard.
“It wasn’t the plan to be that far back at Ascot and Tip Two Win and David Probert got into a bit of a fight as the jockey tried to get the horse settled. Once he was settled, he was 12 lengths adrift and had to make up a lot of ground to get into a winning position and he just run out of steam.
“However, that’s racing and it was another solid run and we’re looking forward to the rest of the season.
“I think his best form has been on good to firm ground and that seems to suit him well. It would be amazing if he could get his head in front at Goodwood. He has danced every dance so far this year and hasn’t disgraced us at all. It would be lovely if we could have a few more horses like him in the yard as he is pleasure to deal with.
“We are hoping to keep Tip Two Win in training for potentially another couple of years and you have to make sure that you don’t get too overexcited by running him too many times this season.”
Tip Two Win’s owner’s Anna Cowley added: “I was very emotional when we won the big prize in Doha.
“I never anticipate anything as I have been in business too long. Roger said before the 2000 Guineas the mile Classic at Newmarket in early May), that he would have been happy if Tip Two Win had finished in the top six, so we were really happy that we managed to finish second. I couldn’t believe it.
“I didn’t know how good he was. Everybody kept saying how good he was and I was surprised and very emotional about it.
“We make joint decisions and I won’t override Roger. I know what I want for Tip Two Win but I won’t override Roger as I don’t know enough about horses! He is not for sale at any price and hopefully he can keep running for another couple of years.”
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