LONDON, UK, After 15 solid attempts at Group 1 glory, Qatar Racing’s Lightning Spear powered to an impressive victory in the Qatar Sussex Stakes at the Qatar Goodwood Festival Wednesdayh.
David Simcock’s ward had some notable efforts, including a short-head second to in the Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes (Gr1) at Newbury in May, coming into yesterday’s miler.
Under Oisin Murphy, the seven-year-old son of Pivotal travelled smoothly in fourth in yesterday’s contest and made good use of the room on the home straight, quickening up smart to score by a length and a half. Michael Stoute-trained Expert Eye was second under James Doyle, while Daniel Tudhope rode David O’Meara-schooled Lord Glitters to third.
The win was Simcock’s 28th at Goodwood and naturally the Newmarket handler was effusive in his praise for Lightning Spear. I’m delighted with Lightning Spear. He looked good today, quickened well and travelled well – he did everything properly. Oisin has grown up with the horse, he is a very confident jockey and he was very patient waiting for the gap today. Sheikh Fahad loves this horse and he will be absolutely delighted. Unfortunately, he can’t be here today, but he’ll be made up,” said Simcock, who has also enjoyed Classic success this year with Teppal in the Poule d’Essai des Pouliches at Longchamp.
Lightning Spear has done very little wrong apart from win a G1 up until now. He is a lovely horse to train and a lot of work goes into him. He has placed in six G1s I think and has never really let us down, though he was little bit inconsistent last season. To win a G1 is not easy and you have to accept it.
Lightning Spear is a wonderful horse and is very talented. To win a G1 is extra special. He was going really well and I thought if he got a gap he would win. They didn’t go much of a pace, but that did not really matter. You are trying something different all the time, trying to change something. To see him fill up and quicken up like that was great, and it is the horse we see at home an awful lot. It is just getting it all to click, with that little bit of luck that we haven’t had at times.
I am just really pleased for the horse. More pleased for the horse than anybody. It is great for Sheikh Fahad, the Qatar Racing team, the yard, but for the horse to get his G1 like that is great. It’s nice to win a G1 at Goodwood and any G1 victory is great. He has run just twice out of G1 company for me and won two G2 events, so he has always had to run in G1s really.”
Lightning Spear had finished third in the race last year, besides having notched up two wins at Goodwood in G2 Celebration Mile last two years. David Redvers, racing and bloodstock manager to Sheikh Fahad, said, From some time ago we felt this was his race, and the way he has been running this year we knew he had a fine chance. The way the race was run suited him.
There was a moment when I was worried, but he needs riding like that [covered up] because he has such a turn of foot. He’s seen too much daylight on occasions in races, but fair dues to the Simcocks [David and his wife Jenny, who rides the horse each day] because they have the key to him. They and the boss were patient and it has paid off.”
Redvers confirmed that Lightning Spear would join the Qatar Bloodstock roster of stallions at his Tweenhills Stud in Gloucestershire, adding: He’s one of the best-looking horses in racing, he’s won a stallion-making race and he’s by Pivotal.”
Jenny Simcock, fighting back tears of joy, said: That means everything. I’m spoilt and ride him every day, and he’s a gentleman, a very expressive horse, and he leads the string.” Murphy said: The pace was slow, but he relaxed, and I got a little bit of cover off James Doyle [on runner-up Expert Eye].
I never ever get nervous before G1s – before the Derby and that I like making fun of the other jockeys – but I was nervous today and down at the start I was trying to hide it. I am over the moon – what a horse! And what a training performance. He deserves to win a major G1 and at seven years of age, it is outstanding.
I always reflect on races and I possibly left a G1 behind me this season on this lad. I am lucky I have a good boss in Sheikh Fahad and a supportive trainer in David Simcock.”
Source: Qatar Olympic Committee