Fabulous entries are unveiled today for three of the Group 2 contests at the Qatar Goodwood Festival - the seven-furlong Qatar Lennox Stakes (Tuesday, July 28), the Qatar Goodwood Cup over two miles (Thursday, July 30) and the five-furlong Qatar King George Stakes (Friday, July 31).
All three contests have boosted prizes of £300,000, with the Qatar Lennox Stakes worth double its 2014 total of £150,000, the Qatar Goodwood Cup rising from £120,000 and the Qatar King George Stakes having triple the prize money offered last year.
Qatar Lennox Stakes
The Qatar Lennox Stakes has attracted 39 entries, including several horses who ran well at Royal Ascot last week.
Dutch Connection (Charlie Hills) captured the Group Three Jersey Stakes over seven furlongs and is one of three entries for the Lambourn handler, along with Cable Bay, a Group Three scorer over seven furlongs at Haydock Park in May, and Kiyoshi, a dual Group Three winner.
Hills is considering the Qatar Lennox Stakes as the next stop for Dutch Connection. The three-year-old was dropping back to seven furlongs at Ascot after finishing seventh to Gleneagles in the mile Classic, the QIPCO 2000 Guineas at Newmarket, and stayed on strongly to deny the Fadhayyil by a half-length.
The trainer said: “Dutch Connection came out of Ascot really well. He lost eight kilos but has put that all back on.
“The Qatar Lennox Stakes looks the obvious choice for him, although he is also in the Prix Jean Prat at Chantilly next month (July 12) and we will just see how we go.
“I thought he did really well to win under a penalty at Ascot and he was giving a lot of weight away to the second.
“I just felt our horses were a under a cloud around Guineas time, but we never lost faith in Dutch Connection and hopefully he has a nice season ahead of him now.
“Cable Bay has been good since Haydock. We decided to swerve Royal Ascot to focus on a Group Two and the Lennox has to be a strong possibility for him.
“He is improving now to what we thought he was as a two-year-old (second in Group One Dewhurst Stakes). He is a pretty good horse and we don’t know how good he is just yet.”
Limato (Henry Candy) was runner-up in the new six-furlong Group One Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot, while Aktabantay (Hugo Palmer) finished fourth in the Group One St James’s Palace Stakes over a mile.
There are seven entries for the Qatar Lennox Stakes from Ireland, including War Envoy (Aidan O’Brien), successful in Royal Ascot’s Britannia Handicap. He could be joined by stablemates Father Frost, ninth after being hampered in the Jersey Stakes, Sir Isaac Newton, who was a luckless sixth in the same contest, and Dick Whittington, winner of the Group One Keeneland Phoenix Stakes in 2014.
Veteran Gordon Lord Byron (Tom Hogan), a Group One winner in three countries, plus Group Two victor Ansgar (Sabrina Harty) and Listed scorer Tombelaine (Dermot Weld) complete the possible Irish challengers.
No trainer has more entries in the Qatar Lennox Stakes than Richard Hannon, with nine engaged. The pick from Goodwood’s top trainer include Ivawood, successful at the Sussex course last season in the six-furlong Group Two Richmond Stakes but a disappointing favourite last time out in the Jersey Stakes, dual Group Two scorer Kool Kompany, last year’s Irish 2,000 Guineas runner-up Shifting Power and Toormore, second in the 2014 Lennox Stakes and placed multiple times in Group One company over a mile subsequently.
Adam Waterworth, Managing Director of Goodwood Racecourse, commented: “We welcome these great entries for the Qatar Lennox Stakes. There are plenty of horses who have already run well in Group Ones and others who aspire to the highest class.
“Britain lacks a Group One race over seven furlongs and the Qatar Lennox Stakes is the natural candidate to be promoted.
“Goodwood guarantees any race upgraded to Group One will be run for at least £500,000 in its first year.”
Qatar Goodwood Cup
A thrilling rematch could be on the cards in the Group Two Qatar Goodwood Cup between Trip To Paris (Ed Dunlop), Kingfisher (Aidan O’Brien IRE) and Forgotten Rules (Dermot Weld IRE), who were the first three horses home in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot.
Kingfisher was unlucky in the Gold Cup as he did not get a clear run and he is one of eight entries for O’Brien, with the other possible starters for Ireland’s champion trainer including Group Three Chester Vase winner Hans Holbein, who subsequently finished seventh in the Investec Derby at Epsom Downs, and several more unexposed three-year-olds.
There are three entries from West Sussex, namely Aussie Reigns (William Knight), third last time out in the Group Three Henry II Stakes at Sandown, plus two from Amanda Perrett - the progressive handicapper Astronereus and Eye Of The Storm, trained by Aidan O’Brien prior to finishing a staying-on third on his debut for the Pulbrough trainer in the Listed 888sport Tapster Stakes at Goodwood on May 23.
Other interesting entries include the globetrotting Red Cadeaux (Ed Dunlop), last year’s Investec Derby third Romsdal (John Gosden) and Sheikhzayedroad (David Simcock), a staying-on fourth in the Group Two Hardwicke Stakes over 12 furlongs at Royal Ascot.
Qatar King George Stakes
Last year’s winner Take Cover (David Griffiths) is among 36 entries for the Group Two Qatar King George Stakes, which takes place over five furlongs. The seven-year-old was sixth in the Group One King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot last time out, having finished behind Pearl Secret (David Barron) in the Group Two Temple Stakes at Haydock Park on May 23.
Anthem Alexander (Edward Lynam IRE) and Tiggy Wiggy (Richard Hannon) were the two leading juvenile fillies of 2014. Tiggy Wiggy went on to finish third in this year’s QIPCO 1000 Guineas but disappointed last time in the Group One Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot, while Anthem Alexander was an excellent third against the colts in the same contest.
Anthem Alexander’s trainer Edward Lynam also now has charge of last year’s third and 2013 winner Moviesta, while the two other Irish-trained entries are Dikta Del Mar (Tom Hogan), formerly a smart performer in Spain, and the evergreen Maarek (Evanna McCutcheon) who enjoyed his finest hour when taking the 2013 Group One Qatar Prix de l’Abbaye at Longchamp.
There are two French entries from trainer Henri-Alex Pantall, Group Three scorer Goken and Rangali, successful in Group Two company last season.
An eye-catching entry is three-year-old Waady (John Gosden), who was last seen out recording a facile two length victory over Profitable (Clive Cox) in the Listed Scurry Stakes at Sandown on June 13.
* Goodwood Racecourse was delighted to announce in December a new 10-year partnership with Qatar, which is the single biggest sponsorship deal ever done for the benefit of British racing.
Commencing in 2015, this makes the Qatar Goodwood Festival one of the most significant and valuable meetings in the world. The highlight, the Qatar Sussex Stakes, is worth £1 million.
The Qatar Goodwood Festival runs for five days from Tuesday, July 28 to Saturday, August 1.
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