Gosden camp readying formidable team for Qatar Goodwood Festival

Horse Racing | Press Article 17/04/24

John & Thady Gosden are preparing a strong squad for the Qatar Goodwood Festival, with stable stars Courage Mon Ami, Inspiral and Nashwa all in contention for the five-day spectacular.

Gold Cup winner Courage Mon Ami and Queen’s Vase victor Gregory could both put their unbeaten records on the line in the £500,000 G1 Al Shaqab Goodwood Cup on Tuesday, August 1.

Gregory would be aiming to emulate the stable’s former star stayer Stradivarius, who took the same Royal Ascot contest en route to Al Shaqab Goodwood Cup glory as a three-year-old in 2017.

John Gosden said: “At present, both horses will be left in the race and then we will make a decision nearer the time whether one of them runs or they both run.

“Gregory is by Golden Horn, who we know well. His dam Gretchen was very tall and he has been quite overgrown like his mother. She won the Park Hill for us and her owner-breeder Philippa Cooper. It is very much Philippa’s family and Golden Horn has complemented it in many ways.

“Gregory saw the mile and six furlongs out the other day and I think he will see the two miles out, too. I think he is very much a progressive sort. He is a three-year-old getting the weight in the race, which is a very big edge. We have done it before with Stradivarius.

“We have been very happy with him since Ascot and he has learnt a lot since then. He would be short on experience, but he is a talented colt with a great mind, very much like his mother and father. He has a very relaxed attitude to life.

“I always have plenty of respect for the opposition, as you learn down the years to have that respect. I think the horse who finished second in the Gold Cup, Coltrane, will be there. He sets a high standard himself.

“Goodwood has its own demands, you swing left right, up, down. It demands a lot of agility from a horse. Interestingly enough, both horses have won there, though I have to say they looked a bit up in the air galloping at some stages, but they would have learnt a lot from those experiences previously at Goodwood.”

Courage Mon Ami and Gregory were both purchased by the Emir of Qatar’s Wathnan Racing before Royal Ascot, with Gosden keen to underline the significance to the owners of having big runners at the Qatar Goodwood Festival.

Gosden said “It is extremely important, as the owners put a great deal into the meeting. To me it has lifted the whole event, particularly with the sponsorship and presence there. To that extent I think it’s key and let’s hope we can at least be running well for them.

“Goodwood is a great meeting. Let’s face it, you have Royal Ascot, then the July Meeting, and then Goodwood followed by York. They are the huge summer meetings. They are very important to the whole fabric of British racing and, in a sense, the British sporting summer, which turned a little soggy in Lancashire with the cricket and the golf in pouring rain. We can’t put a roof on it like centre court at Wimbledon – we’ve just got to get on with it.”

Star fillies Inspiral and Nashwa look to have strong claims, with Inspiral taking on Paddington in the £1m G1 Qatar Sussex Stakes on Wednesday, August 2, and Nashwa going for a repeat win in the £650,000 G1 Qatar Nassau Stakes on Thursday, August 3.

Three-time G1 winner Inspiral has been seen out once this year, when going down narrowly in the G1 Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot, while Nashwa was back on song with a scintillating display in the G1 Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket earlier this month.

Thady Gosden said: “Inspiral ran a great race on her return in the Queen Anne, when she was just beaten by a very good horse of Kevin Ryan’s in Triple Time. She has come on for that and been in great form since. Last year she went to the Falmouth, which didn’t quite go as planned. A lot of horses when they run at Ascot have a tough race and it can often take them a while to come back and, although they appear in good form, you sometimes have to take into account the bounce factor.

“Paddington is a horse who has made rapid progression. He is a horse with plenty of speed and plenty of ability. He won the St James’s Palace and then went on to the Eclipse. That is quite an unusual route but it demonstrates how brilliant he is. It will be tough taking him on but a championship race like the Sussex Stakes is never going to be an easy race.

“Inspiral has a low action and plenty of speed. She is a very strong filly and hopefully the track will prove no problem to her at all. Emily Upjohn was taking on Paddington two furlongs below her optimum trip [in the Eclipse], whereas Inspiral will be taking him on at her ideal trip. Paddington is a three-year-old stepping into older miler company for the first time, which is always an interesting one.”

Thady Gosden added: “Nashwa has taken a bit of time to come to herself this year as can often happen with fillies who are going from three to four. You could tell in the couple of weeks after the Hoppings Stakes that she really had taken a step forward. She looked very well in herself before the Falmouth, relaxed during the race and quickened up past some smart fillies.

“She is going to a track that she knows, having won the Nassau last year. She seems in good order and stepping back up to a mile and a quarter shouldn’t be an issue. It is a fast mile and a quarter, which should hopefully play to her strengths.

“Blue Rose Cen is a brilliant filly and this year she has shown what she can do, having won both fillies’ French classics. It will be a different test for her coming over here and taking on some different fillies, but she is certainly a brilliant filly. We have to give her eight pounds in the race, so we’ll have to see how things go."

Please see Thady Gosden’s comments below on some other key entries.

Running Lion (Qatar Nassau Stakes): “She won the Pretty Polly here very well and then she has been unlucky in her next two starts. She had a freak incident in the stalls at Epsom but she came out of it absolutely fine. Then we went to France and sadly it was a hot day and you could see in the last furlong that the heat was getting to her a bit. We’ve taken our time with her since then and she seems to have come back to herself. She is a filly with plenty of speed and hopefully she can run well. She seems very well in herself and handles pretty much any going, so we’ll see how we go.”

Free Wind (Qatar Lillie Langtry Stakes): “She won the Lillie Langtry last year. She is a talented filly and the mile and six furlongs suits her well. She didn’t quite run her race in the Hardwicke last time. She ran a good race but not quite what we’ve seen her do before. She has been very well since then and she knows the track well.”

Audience (Qatar Lennox Stakes): “He won well last time at Newmarket. He has come forward from that race, which was his first run of the year. The seven furlongs should suit him.”

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Emma Chamings

Goodwood Racecourse Press Office / 07887 792980