Goodwood: Mohaather’s pure pace too much for stellar field in Sussex Stakes

Ed Walker hopes English King can overturn Derby form

Mohaather (No 2) gets his nose in front before winning the Qatar Sussex Stakes at Goodwood. Picture: Alan Crowhurst/Getty
Mohaather (No 2) gets his nose in front before winning the Qatar Sussex Stakes at Goodwood. Picture: Alan Crowhurst/Getty

Mohaather demonstrated a devastating turn of foot to win a stellar renewal of the Qatar Sussex Stakes at Goodwood.

Trained by Marcus Tregoning and ridden by Jim Crowley, the four-year-old had endured a luckless run in the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot but righted the record as an impressive victor in a top-class running of the Group One showpiece.

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Queen Anne winner Circus Maximus set out to make all under Ryan Moore and the field was bunched with two furlongs to run as the leader tried to press on, with San Donato the first to make his bid. The previously-unbeaten Siskin then unleashed his challenge down the outside, with Crowley producing his mount even wider still and, once he did, Mohaather (3-1) fairly flew in the final furlong to collar Circus Maximus and score a first top-level victory.

Irish 2,000 Guineas hero Siskin dropped back to third, with Kameko – winner of the Newmarket Guineas – fourth having been tight for room in the closing stages.

Crowley said: “The plan was to ride him a bit more forward today, we were aware it was going to be tactical. When I jumped out, I would have liked to have sat third or fourth, one off the rail and kept my options open.

“The pace was very slow and Frankie (Dettori, on Wichita) arrived on my outside because we were going so slow and we were in a bit of a pocket and I knew then we were going to need a bit of luck in running.

“We had to switch around and he just showed the most electric turn of foot. To give weight away to younger horses and pick them up the way he did was special really.”

Considering future plans, Tregoning said: “That (Breeders’ Cup Mile) is always possible. We know you need tactical speed around those tight tracks (in America) and this horse has so much pace.

“I love watching him at home – he could do anything and he’s just a pleasure to be around.

“There’s that lovely mile race on Champions Day (Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot) and he’s in the Prix Jacques le Marois at Deauville, although that might come a bit quick for him, we’ll just have to see.”

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In today’s action, Ed Walker is hoping English King can turn around the Derby form with Khalifa Sat and confirm his Group One potential in the John Pearce Racing Gordon Stakes at Goodwood.

The Camelot colt shot to prominence in the Epsom betting after a facile trial success at Lingfield, but he could finish only fifth behind surprise all-the-way winner Serpentine on the big day earlier this month.

Khalifa Sat finished second on that occasion, three-quarters of a length ahead of English King – and while Walker’s charge was making up ground in the finish, he has full respect for the Derby runner-up.

Walker said: “He’s in great form – it’s like a mini re-run of the Derby.

“The ground should suit – he should handle the track and he hasn’t missed a beat since Epsom.

“He was (finishing fast at Epsom), but take nothing away from Khalifa Sat – he won a trial and finished second in the Derby and is clearly a very good horse.

“We have great respect for Khalifa Sat and the others, but we are obviously hopeful he can turn the tables after a bit of a strange race at Epsom.”

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The Gordon Stakes is traditionally viewed as a St Leger trial but Walker thinks English King unlikely to head to Doncaster, with a possible rematch with Serpentine in the Grand Prix de Paris at ParisLongchamp in September currently on connections’ radar instead.

He added: “The Leger would be unlikely. We will see how it goes at Goodwood, but we would be hoping to go for something like the Grand Prix de Paris.

“It is shaping into a great race, but everything seems to be this year because it has all been condensed. It’s been great for viewing, though, because that is what sport is all about – the best taking on the best.

“Hopefully he can prove to us he deserves to take on the best.”

Khalifa Sat won Goodwood’s Listed Cocked Hat Stakes over 11 furlongs before his Epsom run, and his trainer Andrew Balding feels a similar level to his Derby effort might be enough.

He said: “The course and the drying ground should suit him – and all being well, a reproduction of his Epsom form should give him every chance.”

Aidan O’Brien’s Mogul was well touted over the winter, but failed to sparkle at Royal Ascot before finishing sixth in the Derby.

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The Ballydoyle handler thinks the Galileo colt will take another step forward. He said: “He seems to have come out of the Derby well – we’ve been very happy with him since.

“He’s a big, strong, powerful horse who is made like a miler – and he’s not the easiest to get fit. He carries weight, and we’re just trying to get it off him.”

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