Take Lands His Second King George

Horse Racing | Press Article 17/04/24

Trainer David Griffiths was wreathed in smiles following 8/1 chance Take Cover's pillar to post victory in the Group Two Qatar King George Stakes worth £312,100 at the Qatar Goodwood Festival this afternoon.

It was the nine-year-old second victory in the five-furlong Group Three contest, having won in in 2013, and the gelding was also a head second behind Muthmir in the same race last year.

The son of Singspiel had a host of horses queuing up to challenge him as the field thundered towards the winning line but he stuck his neck out well to record a famous neck victory.

Griffiths couldn't quite believe how much his horse loves Goodwood after the race.

"It's unbelievable - he loves it here," said the trainer. "I am almost speechless. Take Cover is still as good as ever at nine. He is obviously a bit mad although he has calmed down a lot as he has got older. On the track now we seem to have it spot on now with the blind off as soon the gates open. After the Nunthorpe debacle, we had to do something a bit different.

"I am over the moon today. We came in with as much confidence as you can have in a Group Two. I thought he was in really good form. We drew a line under Ascot but his Listed form with Cotai Glory had worked out well with that horse finishing second in the King's Stand. To the owners, staff and everyone involved it is just one of those amazing days. The first win (Take Cover won the Qatar King George Stakes in 2014) was amazing and his defeat last year (when second in the same race behind Muthmir) was a bit gutting but he's come right back to his best here. The ground is lovely and quick. Someone called me yesterday saying 'it's absolutely hammering down at Goodwood' and I thought our chance may have gone. I think it was the fog though and they'd got confused! He loves it here though. I think he's better than ever at the age of nine. He's so quick from the stalls now. We changed things a bit after the Nunthorpe last year (when Take Cover went under the stalls) so now he's last in and the blindfold comes off at the last minute. 

"I'm over the moon. He drifted a bit right today but that's just him. It seems to do it here for some reason but it doesn't stop him. He's so lightly raced - he didn't have his first run until the end of his four-year-old year so he's effectively a five-year-old. The plan will be to go for the Nunthorpe (at York) now. He loves it at York and has won a couple of times there. He just hasn't had any luck in the Nunthorpe. The first time he ran, he hit his head on the stalls and then last year he went under them, so I just hope he's straight out of them safe and sound this time around!

"Today has been fabulous. It's a dream day for myself, my wife (Sophie), who rides the horse out at home, and my staff. This is one of the quickest five furlongs in the country and he's a quick horse. He just keeps rolling and seems to love it here. We were beaten a short-head in the Stewards' Cup (in 2013), then we won the King George in 2014 and we were narrowly beaten in the same race last year - that's some record!

"Hopefully, all being well, we'll be back again next year. He's nine but has no miles on the clock and retains all his enthusiasm. He's the perfect sprinter. He's our flagship horse and puts us on another level when we can compete at the likes of Royal Ascot, York and here. Financially, it's very important too!"