Qatar Goodwood Festival kicks off with top-quality racing – Stradivarius lands Al Shaqab Goodwood Cup Stakes for 4th time on the spin

Qatar Goodwood Festival is a world-famous five-day festival and one of the highlights of the flat racing season. Held on the world’s most beautiful racecourse, the Festival features class racing, with several black-type races bearing the name of Qatar. The Qatar-sponsored annual Festival kicked off on Tuesday, 28 July, and will continue up to the finale on Saturday, 1 August. Day 1 featured eight races and the most important of them were the Gr1 Al Shaqab Goodwood Cup Stakes, the Gr2 Qatar Lennox Stakes and the Class 2 Qatar Handicap Stakes. While this year’s renewal is held in exceptional circumstances due to the Covid-19 challenges, the opening day came in ideal surroundings and saw top-quality racing

Stradivarius creates history with fourth victory in G1 Al Shaqab Goodwood Cup

The mighty stayer Stradivarius, trained by John Gosden, created history on Day 1 by becoming the first horse to win the G1 Al Shaqab Goodwood Cup four times, adding to his wins in 2017, 2018 and 2019. He previously shared the honor of three Goodwood Cup wins with Double Trigger (1995, 1997, 1998).

It was Nayef Road who took the seven-strong field along. He still held the advantage entering the straight, with Stradivarius looking a bit short of room. It was not until inside the final furlong that Stradivarius, with Frankie Dettori astride, found the necessary opening and quickened impressively, taking the lead half a furlong out and recording an ultimately cosy length success over Nayef Road, who is trained by Mark Johnston and was ridden by Andrea Atzeni. The second favourite, this season’s G1 Irish Derby winner Santiago, who is trained by Aidan O’Brien, held every chance two furlongs out, but was unable to quicken in the final furlong and finished third under Ryan Moore.

Trainer John Gosden said: “It’s beautiful ground, but slow ground – is some achievement. Stradivarius had to work for it today. He has been in tremendous form since Royal Ascot. But I knew that you know, you keep piling those big races on. He ran in the Coronation Cup and he ran brilliantly and obviously the Gold Cup before this, so he is going to have a freshen up now. He is a fabulous horse. Let us hope Enable and Stradivarius are in top order [for the Arc]. Frankie will have to decide what he is riding, I probably know the answer, but that will be his decision.”

Smooth success for Space Blues in Qatar Lennox Stakes

Space Blues was the comfortable winner of the seven-furlong G2 Qatar Lennox Stakes for trainer Charlie Appleby. The four-year-old Dubawi colt was winning at G2 level for the first time in his career, having twice been placed at G1 level.

Held up towards the rear, Space Blues was traveling well, under William Buick, and made smooth headway to challenge two furlongs out. Entering the final furlong, he shot clear and never looked in any danger as he came home two lengths to the good of Duke Of Hazzard, who is trained by Paul & Oliver Cole and was ridden by David Probert. Escobar, trained by David O’Meara, finished third under Daniel Tudhope.

Charlie Appleby said: “I was delighted with Space Blues. He got a nice clean run round there. There was plenty of pace on and William was keen to keep it simple with him and he did. When he came into the straight, I was always confident he was going to pick up. It was a good performance.”

Only Spoofing gets up close home winning Qatar Handicap Stakes

A tremendous finish to the five-furlong Qatar Handicap saw the Jedd O’Keeffe-trained Only Spoofing get up close home under Kieran O’Neill to deny long-time leader Acclaim The Nation, who is trained by Eric Alston and was ridden by Jason Hart by a neck. A Momentofmadness, trained by Charlie Hills, finished third under William Buick.

Kieran O’Neill said: “I was going nicely. I was in a nice rhythm, and by the time I got him in a full stride, he got going and was doing it nicely at the end.”

 

Source: Qatar Racing & Equestrian Club