Tomorrow, Saturday, 1 August is the final day of the Qatar Goodwood Festival and the racecourse will host the Gr1 P/A Qatar International Stakes as the fitting finale of the five-day Festival. The coveted title is the target of attention given its standing and the class of the nine runners its 2020 renewal. The event is highlighted by presence of two champions from Qatar; HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Thani’s EBRAZ, the winner of last year’s edition and the world’s highest rated Arabian, and HH Sheikh Abdullah Bin Khalifa Al Thani’s TAYF, the winner of the 2017 edition.
The events of the fourth and penultimate day of the Qatar Goodwood Festival continued, on Saturday, 31 July, with eight races, with the Gr2 King George Qatar Stakes for three-year-olds and older over five furlongs the feature event of the day. The eight-race card included three other black type races; the Gr3 Saint Clair Oak Tree Stakes for three-year-old and older fillies and mares over seven furlongs, the Gr3 Bonhams Thoroughbred Stakes for three-year-olds over a mile and the Gr3 L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate Glorious Stakes for four-year-olds and older over a mile and three furlongs.
Battaash wins G2 King George Qatar Stakes for fourth year in succession, beating his own course record
Outstanding sprinter Battaash won the G2 King George Qatar Stakes for the fourth year in succession. He won the five-furlong contest in a time of 55.62s, a new course record. The previous record was 56.20s, set by Battaash, himself, in this race a year ago. The six-year-old gelding, trained by Charlie Hills, was in front after the first two furlongs and never in any serious danger thereafter. Coming home, under Jim Crowley, he continued to win by two and a quarter lengths to the good of Glass Slippers, who is trained by Kevin Ryan and was ridden by Tom Eaves. Ornate, trained by David Griffiths, was third with Oisin Murphy astride.
Trainer Charlie Hills said: “Battaash is so talented and we are very proud to have a horse like him in the yard. He is a six-year-old now and racing is so lucky to have six-year-olds like Battaash, Enable and Stradivarius still doing their stuff. Just to be involved in a horse like him just means everything really. He has broken his own track record. It is brilliant. Four consecutive Group Twos takes some doing and I am just so proud of him. Battaash is not the biggest horse in the world, but he is well-balanced and a true athlete really. He might only have two more runs this year and for a six-year-old, he is lightly-raced really. We’ll keep going until he tells us he is not what he is today.”
One Master leaves it late in G3 Saint Clare Oak Tree Stakes
One Master justified her position as a market leader for the G3 Saint Clare Oak Tree Stakes, getting up on the line to take the honours. Entering the final two furlongs, it was not clear if a gap would appear for the six-year-old Fastnet Rock mare as she raced close to the rail. It was not until well inside the final furlong that she was in the clear to deliver a challenge but when she did, she quickened tremendously to get up on the line and score by a short head for trainer William Haggas and jockey Tom Marquand. Valeria Messalina, trained by Jessica Harrington, was the runner-up under Frankie Dettori. Charlie Appleby’s trainee Althiqa finished third under William Buick.
William Haggas said: “That is our 30th winner in July. I get all the glory and my team do all the work. Tom managed to get out and it was great – she has a terrific turn of foot in this company. We are going to York now for a Group Two race and then the Foret [G1 Longchamp, October, a race One Master won in 2018 and 2019].”
Tilsit claims G3 Bonhams Thoroughbred Stakes
Tilsit landed the G3 Bonhams Thoroughbred Stakes, run over a mile for three-year-olds for trainer Charlie Hills and jockey Ryan Moore. The winner, a colt by First Defence, began to make progress three furlongs from home. As he entered the final furlong, he hung significantly towards the rail, hampering My Oberon. Tilsit kept on well despite hanging, coming out on top by a length and a half from My Oberon, who is trained by William Haggas and was ridden by Tom Marquand. The Roger Varian-trained Khaloosy finished third with Jim Crowley in the saddle.
Charlie Hills said: “Tilsit has done so well. He had two runs at Newcastle which is a completely different track to Goodwood and it was his first start on turf – he has really stepped up. It was a good step forward really. He has beaten two very nice horses. We’ll see how he is tomorrow morning and go from there – we could maybe come back here for the Celebration Mile.”
Haggas and Marquand enjoy G3 double as Pablo Escobarr wins L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate Glorious Stakes
Trainer William Haggas and jockey Tom Marquand enjoyed a double on day four of the Qatar Goodwood Festival as Pablo Escobarr won the G3 L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate Glorious Stakes. They were on the mark earlier in the afternoon with One Master in the G3 Saint Clair Oak Tree Stakes. Pablo Escobarr was always travelling well and in touch with the leaders. He made a forward move passing the two-furlong marker and was in front entering the final furlong. He took the honours by a cosy three-quarters of a length from last year’s winner Desert Encounter, who is trained by David Simcock and was ridden by Jim Crowley. The Hughie Morrison-trained Le Don De Vie was third under Oisin Murphy.
William Haggas said: “Pablo Escobarr is a dear horse. He showed a nice turn of foot. We’ve been leading with him because he lacks a turn of speed, but today, ridden better, he has won a better race than he’s been running in.”
Prompting justifies support with smooth success in Unibet Golden Mile Handicap
Prompting, trained by David O’Meara, was the well-supported favourite for the Unibet Golden Mile Handicap and amply justified his position at the head of the market with a comfortable victory. Traveling well, under Harry Bentley, behind the leaders, the four-year-old Bated Breath gelding took the lead entering the final furlong and without being asked any serious questions scored by a length and a half from top-weight Urban Icon, who is trained by Richard Hannon and was ridden by Pat Dobbs. Afaak, trained by Charlie Hills was third under Dane O’Neill.