Mehmas showed grit and determination and his experience counted as he got the better of a protracted battle with Blue Point to win the Group 2 Qatar Richmond Stakes at Goodwood this afternoon.
With the Windsor Castle Stakse winner Ardad a non-runner, a field of just four wet to post through the drizzle at Glorious Goodwood.
The highly-regarded Blue Point soon took up the running from the gates and went into a lead of a length from Intelligence Cross, with Mehmas sitting third and Waqaas last of the four.
With two furlongs to race, Blue Point came under pressure and Mehmas delivered his challenge as Intelligence Cross faded.
In a terrific final furlong, the much smaller Mehmas traded blows with Blue Point, with the pair both giving their all.
In the final analysis though, proven Group class prevailed as Mehmas and Frankie Dettori defied a penalty to just edge the verdict.
Blue Point responded well in his first taste of Group class and lost little in defeat, with the pair clear of Intelligence Cross, while Waqaas ran on in fourth.
The Richard Hannon trained Mehmas, a son of Acclamation, was following up on his Group 2 July Stakes victory at Newmarket three weeks ago and is now four wins from six races.
“He’s very tough,” said Hannon.
“I love the horse. He is very tough and has done nothing wrong all year. He is a horse we like a lot – the Sheikh likes him (Sheikh Joaan – owner of Al Shaqab Racing) and I love him even more now.
“Ultimately he is extremely talented. We’ll utilise him this year as a two-year-old and probably think about either the Prix Morny (at Deauville) or the National Stakes (at the Curragh).
“I was delighted with him today. He’s carried a 3lb penalty and has been on the go all year. He doesn’t do a lot at home and is just a lovely horse to have around.
“He’s quite impressive. I think maybe this will be his year rather than next year but I wouldn’t put anything beyond him. He’ll get seven and a half furlongs and he’s beaten most of the best juveniles around so why not strike while the iron is hot? We need to win a Group One with him and what we do after that we will have to wait and see.
“We’ll see how he does over the winter. He’s very simple and straight forward and a joy to work with. I thought he was a little bit on his toes today but maybe he’s just realising where he is now as he’s so relaxed at home.”
Frankie Dettori recorded his 2,995th British victory aboard Mehmas in the Group Two Qatar Richmond Stakes.
Dettori, riding in the colours of his retainer Al Shaqab Racing, settled the two-year-old in behind the market leader Blue Point in the six-furlong contest.
At around the furlong pole, Dettori’s mount came up to challenge Blue Point for the lead and just managed to get the better of the Godolphin colt in a great battle all the way to the line to register a neck success and provide Dettori with his 65th victory at the Qatar Goodwood Festival.
Dettori said: “Mehmas is not overly big but he has a big heart to compensate. He took it to the favourite and showed what a tenacious horse he is.
“Mehmas is straightforward and does not need any cover. He loves a scrap and came up trumps.”
Dettori added: “He does not know how to run a bad race.”
Charlie Appleby was pleased with the run of Blue Point in the Group Two Qatar Richmond Stakes after his charge finished a neck second to Richard Hannon’s Mehmas.
The Godolphin-owned colt made the running in the six-furlong contest and was challenged for the lead around the furlong pole. Mehmas and Blue Point engaged in a fight all the way to the line inside the final furlong with Frankie Dettori just getting the better of Blue Point and James Doyle.
Appleby said: “We’ve been beaten by a nice horse there [Mehmas]. He was placed at Royal Ascot and was a July Stakes winner. I just think it is inexperience that caught us out there.
“Blue Point has been asked to go about his business and I was really pleased when Frankie’s horse came to him and we quickened and got that neck up on him. But Frankie just has that experience and was able to outbattle us in the end.
“Blue Point will come forward for that for sure. He is still a very talented horse. He likes to get into a rhythm and, at halfway, I was very happy with what I was seeing – he was starting to step through the gears.”
Appleby also suggested a stronger pace in the race would have suited the son of Shamardal. The Godolphin handler commented: “We will stick to six furlongs but unfortunately we knew we were going to struggle today as there wasn’t much pace in the race so we wanted to go out there and keep and simple and get him into a rhythm. We just have to make sure there is pace in the race for him next time.”
Appleby suggested the Prix Morny at Deauville as a possible target for the colt. He remarked: “He is a horse who we still hold in high regard and we will look for something like the Prix Morny (G1, 6f, Deauville, August 21) for him.”