The six-furlong Group Two Qatar Richmond Stakes was won by Barraquero, trained by the Manton-based Brian Meehan for Manton Thoroughbreds sporting the late Robert Sangster silks. It is a third win in the race for the trainer, previously successful with Carrizo Creek (2003) and Easycall (1996). The winning margin over Nebo was a length and a quarter.
"I am very pleased, Barraquero has looked an exciting type right since the spring," said Meehan. "I was more concerned yesterday about [about the ground] with all the rain we had, I had a lovely filly here yesterday and she did not handle it. I got here this morning and it just seemed a little bit more civilised!
"The other horses [whom Meehan won the Richmond Stakes with] were lovely horses, but that was then and this is now. I am sure this is a Group One horse, and he will get further. This horse looked really good today and I couldn't be happier.
"I would love to think I could take him to the Prix Morny at Deauville in a few weeks' time, he's in the Gimcrack, he's in the Doncaster sales race and other sales races, and they are worth a lot of money, but the Morny is the top of the list. Seven furlongs wouldn't be a problem.
"The Morny is a race I'd love to go back and try and win again. That would be particularly nice to do that for a third time.
"The Guineas would be an ultimate target, he is a horse who will get a mile and he will grow. He's changing a little now and there is even more improvement to come."
Meehan won the Group One Prix Morny with Arcano in 2009 and Bad As I Wanna Be in 2000.
TAKE COVER LOOKING FOR THIRD WIN IN QATAR KING GEORGE STAKES
The Group Two five-furlong £312,100 Qatar King George Stakes (3.35pm) is the highlight of Friday's Qatar Goodwood Festival card. It is a race that has been won twice (2014 & 2016) in the last three years by Take Cover (he was second in the middle year, 2015), and the admirable 10-year-old sprinter is due to line up again.
The David Griffiths-trained gelding remains in good heart - last time out he won the Listed John Smith's City Walls Stakes, having previously finished fifth, five lengths adrift of Lady Aurelia, in the G1 King's Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot. The improving Charlie Hills-trained Battaash comes here seeking a hat-trick after Listed and Group Three successes at Sandown. The Clive Cox-trained Profitable won the 2016 running of the Group One King's Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot on soft ground and finished second in Deauville's Prix de Saint-Georges in May on going reported as "very soft". Marsha has been a superstar for Elite Racing Club and won the Group One Prix de l'Abbaye last year. She beat Washington DC then, and again first time out this spring when taking the Group Three Palace House Stakes at Newmarket. Washington DC has already been beaten by most of the more fancied runners, but as a son of Zoffany he might be one for the ground.One at a longer price is Final Venture. He has proven form on soft ground, having won the Listed Achilles Stakes at Haydock (Kyllang Rock second) in June on soft. Oisin Murphy was aboard then, and he renews the partnership. The Amanda Perrett-trained Royal Hunt Cup winner Zhui Feng at the top of the handicap. He has gone up 6lb for his Ascot victory and, although he has run on good to soft, his best form has come on a faster surface. The early market is siding with Godolphin's Blair House, who finished second to Perrett's horse at Ascot.
Master The World has form on a softer surfaces and finished second in this last year, while Birchwood, despite being largely out of form this year, was the winner of a soft ground Listed sprint at Chester in 2016. Godolphin's Birchwood is trained by Richard Fahey, who also fields Withernsea. The six-year-old has a marked preference for some give in the ground - he was third in a seven-furlong International Stakes at Ascot on Saturday on good to soft - and all of his four victories have come on soft or heavy ground. The seven-year-old George Baker-trained Boomshacklacker has finished mid-division in a number of this year's big handicaps - the Royal Hunt Cup and the Bunbury Cup - and last year finished seventh in the Cambridgeshire and fifth in this race.
TRAINERS HEAD TO BOTH RAILS IN DRAW FOR Qatar STEWARDS' CUP
The draw for Saturday's £250,000 Qatar Stewards' Cup took place ahead of racing on Thursday. The event was hosted by Nick Luck, and the horses drawn by racehorse owner and ex-footballer Michael Owen and Abdulla Rashid Al Kuabisi, QREC Racing Manager, with trainers or their representatives then able to select their own stall.
After the near 50mm deluge of rain that fell on Wednesday, Thursday's 9.00am reading on the Going Stick gave the ground as 5.8 overall and in the straight 5.5 on the stands' side, 5.6 in the centre and 6.0 on the far side.
Those able to get early selections, and so with all options open, tended to head to the rails on both sides - opinion split as to where the best ground might be come Saturday.
ABDULLA AL KUBAISI: FESTIVAL CHARACTERISED BY SURPRISES
Abdulla Rashid Al Kubaisi, QREC Racing Manager, described this edition of the Qatar Goodwood Festival as one that has seen several surprises, especially with the condition of the Goodwood course following the heavy rains yesterday, as the very soft ground had its effects on a most horses.
“The Festival is being held according to plans and the heavy rains didn’t affect the order or the running of races”, he said, “However, they had affected the results as many favourites, including Al Shaqab’s Zelzal in the Qatar Sussex Stakes, didn’t win, which is still normal in the world of horseracing. We’ve also noticed that a good number of horses were withdrawn today because of the ground following the heavy rains which continued for the whole day.
All participants have benefitted a lot from this Festival even those who didn’t win. In fact, such quality racing help horse connections know the what they and their horses need. QREC and its team here also benefit from the experience in organising such world-class level of international racing”, concluded Al Kubaisi.