1 August 2017



The Qatar Goodwood Festival opened with a winner for Her Majesty The Queen, but only after lots of drama and a stewards' enquiry.

Her horse, Fabricate, shot trained by Michael Bell, was beaten a head by bottom-weight Dark Red, but the last-named horse veered to his left in the closing stages and bumped the runner-up. Adam Kirby, who rode Fabricate, was convinced the result would be reversed, and that proved to be the case. Third-placed Khairaat was beaten a further three-quarters of a length.

Victory for Fabricate was a good omen for the chances of his stablemate, Big Orange, in today's big race, the Qatar Goodwood Cup, but Bell was keen to heap the praise on the Queen's horse. He said: "I'm delighted for The Queen. This horse has been a real trial for us to keep right and credit to my team at home.

"I spoke to The Queen this morning, and said going downhill might be an issue for him, but I said 'Ma'am, the ground is going to be lovely for him'. Adam has given him a lovely ride and he is a very experienced jockey who was sure he would get the race and I am glad the stewards agreed with him. The stewards have taken the view he was coming with a winning run and was knocked off his stride.

"Fabricate didn't appear to get home in the Old Newton Cup, and this was an experiment to drop him back in trip. It's paid off. I said to John Warren [The Queen's racing advisor] that we could stay at a mile and a half and finish fourth or fifth again, or we could try this. In hindsight he's been crying out for it, and he's always looked like he's had the speed.

"It was unexpected and I don't think either me or The Queen expected Fabricate to win today. I am so pleased for the horse - it is a great result. This has settled us down [ahead of Big Orange], but this is about Fabricate, who deserved to win a good prize."

Adam Kirby said: "Fabricate got a right bump and had the wind knocked out of him. He changed his legs and got unbalanced. I was unable to use my stick because he got unbalanced. I had to put it down to let him gather himself up again. I felt if we had run straight for the line, we would definitely have won. There are rules and if you don't ride to them you get punished. Unfortunately, Oisin is doing his best - he didn't lose any momentum but I did."




It is rare that Sir Michael Stoute uses such words as 'exciting' and 'promising' about one of his two-year-olds, but he slipped in a couple following victory for Expert Eye in the G2 Qatar Vintage Stakes.

Expert Eye, a favourite, owned and bred by Khalid Abdullah and ridden by Andrea Atzeni, romped to an easy win, scoring by four and a half lengths and three-quarters of a length from Zaman and Mildenberger . The winner was making his second appearance having won on debut at Newbury in June.

Sir Michael, who had just trained his 181st Goodwood winner, and his 76th at the Qatar Festival, said: "He's an exciting horse, and while I don't know where we will go next we'll be ambitious. I'd like to go the next step before talking about Classics.

"We've only run 10 of our two-year-olds and there may be others who are better than him, but I don't know. He's very mature and strong, and will certainly get a mile.

"Ryan [Moore] has ridden him since Newbury, and he was impressed with him then and since. We came here hoping to win and he did it very easily.

"It's the beginning of August in his two-year-old season, but he ticks a lot of boxes because he's well balanced and well made, and with a good mind.

"He's still a baby. I'm excited about him - he's brimful of promise."




Breton Rock came fast and very late to mow down his rivals and land the G2 Qatar Lennox Stakes for trainer David Simcock and owner John Cook.

Jockey Andrea Atzeni, completing a 139/1 double initiated in the previous race on Expert Eye, overcame an outside draw by sitting in behind his rivals and then asking Breton Rock to accelerate wide in the final furlong. The response was electric as the horse went from first to last, finishing with such power that he won by half a length and a short-head from Home Of The Brave and Suedois.

The winning trainer said: "He's won two Group Twos previously, but God, did we expect that? No we didn't!

"Last year he won the Criterion Stakes and Park Stakes, so he's very useful, but we've looked after him and never run him on ground with the word 'firm' in the going description. He's a favourite at home and the lad who looks after him, Irkin, absolutely worships him. He had a little daughter the other day and he will come back in with the biggest smile on his face.

"It's brilliant for John Cook, who was my very first owner 13 years ago. He buys a yearling every year, and he bought Breton Rock for £20,000 and has gained so much fun from the horse. This horse has given John, and the yard, so much pleasure, and has taken us to some wonderful meetings over the years. He doesn't let us down."

Cook, who lives in Wellingborough, and visits Simcock's Newmarket yard once a month to see his horses, said: "He races when he wants to. That was so exciting - I was watching the finish thinking he's coming, he's coming - then YES!

"When you own a horse that cost £20,000, and you take on the big boys and win it's some achievement.

"I've owned this one since he was a yearling - I picked him out in the Doncaster sales catalogue, but expected him to make £60,000. Then Jenny [Simcock's wife] rang me and said David and [bloodstock agent Richard Brown] had bought him for £20,000 and I said 'He's mine'. It's a fairytale. My grandson is called Brett, and he lives in Brittany, so is a Breton, and the horse is out of a Rock Of Gibraltar mare, hence the name.

"My latest two-year-old is called Imperial Court by Zoffany. I don't think he will run this year, but the trainer might tell you differently.

Khalid bin Mohammed Al Ali, QREC Board Member, presented the trophies to the winners.





Stradivarius, with a 13lb weight allowance from the older horses, wins the Group One Qatar Goodwood Cup for trainer John Gosden and owner-breeder Bjorn Nielsen.

Trainer John Gosden said: "Frankie controlled the race on Big Orange, he came up the middle, he didn't want to be attacked hard down the rail. It was clever of him, but our fella stays well.

"Andrea was very confident beforehand, I asked him if that was because he got in a muddle in the first and got the next two right?!  He said no!

"But it is full marks to Peter Shoemark, our racing office manager, he was the one who suggested the entry to me, I said are you mad?

"But I thought about it and thought hang on, actually he has to give weight with the Group Two penalty from the Queen's Vase win, and running in anything else such as the Voltigier or a handicap he's have the penalty. So, I thought you're right to come here and this is Peter's victory not mine.

"I did say good luck to everyone going in, Big Orange has got a huge heart and has run with credit again, but he was running into a three-year-old now and not the older horses, who is getting 13lb from him.

"Yes, last year, it would have been 16lb so it has changed, but full marks to the horse and owner-breeder Bjorn Nielsen, who has put an awful lot into this game to get nice moments such as this, which don't come along very often.

"We go to the St Leger, which is a race that I love and it is one mile and six and a half furlongs around Donnie, which is probably a similar test as it is an open galloping track whereas here is all zig zags and bends.

"I am always frightened when you take on the older horses with a three-year-old in a race like this, I thought he'd run well and I could see him in the frame but not necessarily winning. He has a good turn of foot, which is a good weapon in a two-mile race.

"I don't think the three-year-olds have an enormous advantage - Enable is a brilliant filly and this is a proper stayer, you can't come and do it without a proper horse.

"He goes straight to Donnie, goes there nice and fresh.”

Nasser bin Sherida Al Kaabi, QREC General Manager, presented the trophies to the winners.


NASSER Al Kaabi:


“Day 1 of the Qatar Goodwood Festival came as expected in terms of strong performance and successful organisation”, said Nasser bin Sherida Al Kaabi, QREC General Manager, “especially as the Festival has become a landmark in the UK’s racing scene.

The Participation of a number of Qatar’s horses in the Festival is a good sign, which reflects the keenness of horse owners to compete in this type of races. In addition, competing with horses of a higher level is in favour of Qatar’s horses, who need such opportunities in order to assess their level and performance and what is required for them to win in future events.

The participation of Qatari companies in the Festival demonstrates their desire to be involved in the event and their efficiency whatever the circumstances might be. I think the presence of such companies has demonstrated Qatar’s firm belief in consistent dedicated work away from any other influences.

“The Group 1 Qatar International Stakes for pure Arabians will be run tomorrow. It is the first leg of the Doha Triple Crown. We wish Qatar’s horses all the best in this race, especially as the running of a race for pure Arabians at this time of the Festival every year promotes this type of racing and presents an opportunity for pure Arabian horse owners to participate in more races and compete for the first place in each race,” concluded Al Kaabi.




“Qatar’s sponsorship of this prestigious festival has contributed to much success”, said Khalid bin Mohammed Al Ali, QREC Board Member, “as seen in the large-scale participation and the huge turnout in such perfect surroundings for horseracing.

We congratulate the winners of the all the races of the first day. In the coming days, the excitement and thrill will intensify with strong races and horse owners’ wish to be on top. We, as Qataris, are proud of such prestigious sponsorship of the Festival. We all work towards the success of this wonderful event, which gets better every year, especially as Qatar’s sponsorship has given the Festival a special splendour.

We look forward to the remaining days of the Festival and to seeing Qatar’s horses fulfilling our hopes in them. We are keen to benefit from such races in order to promote and enhance racing in Qatar as a country with a long tradition in this area,” concluded Al Ali.