Rhododendron produced an impressive turn of foot to land the Dove 100 Colours EBF British Stallion Studs Fillies’ Maiden on rain-softened ground at the Qatar Goodwood Festival this afternoon.
The juvenile filly settled nicely for jockey Ryan Moore at the rear of the field but cut her rivals down one by one with a withering run down the outside in the last furlong and a half.
J P Magnier, son of co-owner Sue Magnier, was happy with the performance of Rhododendron after the race.
“Ryan said that she felt like she hadn’t had much of a race,” said Magnier.
“There’s plenty of improvement in her by the looks of it. It’s amazing what Galileo has been doing over the past few weeks.
“We’ll take her back to Ireland and there’s plenty of options for her there.
“I didn’t see her goose stepping around the paddock but they tell me it’s a sign of well-being when they do that. Zenyatta used to do it so hopefully that’s a good omen!”
Magnier also had news of Intelligence Cross, who finished a well-beaten third behind Mehmas in the Qatar Richmond Stakes earlier on the card.
“Ryan wasn’t overly happy when he got off Intelligence Cross – he said he was a bit sore.
“We’ll take him home and check him out – hopefully he’ll be fine.”
Ryan Moore secured his 31st Qatar Goodwood Festival win following the success of Aidan O’Brien’s filly Rhododendron in the Dove 100 Colours EBF British Stallions Studs Fillies’ Maiden, the fifth race on day three of the Qatar Goodwood Festival.
Having travelled well throughout the seven-furlong contest, the well-bred two-year-old daughter of Galileo responded to Moore’s urgings to come clear of her rivals and score by a length and three-quarters.
Moore, registering his third victory of the week, said of the two-year-old: “Rhododendron is a smart filly. She picked up very well when I asked her and she is another filly with a good future.
“It’s only her second run today. She picked up very well and travelled really well. I’m sure Aidan will get her home and see where she goes afterwards.”
Moore also suggested the rain which has fallen at the Sussex venue today has started to affect the going. He added: “It’s loose ground now and not all the horses are comfortable on it.”
Johnston clean sweep in the nursery
Middleham trainer Mark Johnston saddled the first, second and third in the Telegraph Nursery with the James McDonald-ridden Bear Valley running out a decisive four-length winner of the seven-furlong contest. Stable companions Montataire and Teofonic finished second and third respectively.
Bear Valley travelled well for McDonald throughout the race and inside the two-furlong marker displayed a potent turn of foot to come well clear of his stable-mates and register a facile success.
Johnston, registering his 69th Qatar Goodwood Festival winner and gaining his third victory of the week, said: “When they all run like that, you wish you had run them in three different races!
“It’s a shame they can’t all win but at the same time, that is why we come here as you throw a lot of darts at the board because you can never be sure.
“Conditions changing might have changed the result but I don’t know. Bear Valley was always going to be the one which could handle any ground.
“It’s hard to pick one to come and race at this meeting because you don’t which one is going to win on the day. Today it could have been any one of the three but Bear Valley has done it very well.
“We knew when the rain was coming that a little bit of give in the ground would suit him very well and perhaps more than the others.
“They are all very nice horses and they should progress further beyond this level. They’re very consistent horses who are at the top of the handicap carrying big weights. We’ll have to go home and think about whether to step these horses up to level weight races next time but I haven’t made any plans.
“To be honest I don’t have any immediate plans with the three of them. When you win and fill the placings at this level carrying that sort of weight you have to look at going up in company.”
Johnston was also effusive in his praise of winning jockey James McDonald who was gaining his second victory of the week. Johnston remarked: “James has been really great. He suits me down to the ground as he is a completely uncomplicated jockey. I don’t give any jockey’s instructions and he likes that. He has done really well for us.”
Jockey James McDonald may be returning to Australia this weekend but he showed that he’s still hungry to ride winners in Britain after he steered the Mark Johnston-trained Bear Valley to a facile four-length success in the Telegraph Nursery at the Qatar Goodwood Festival this afternoon.
McDonald has now ridden 18 winners in his most recent stint in Britain this season and declared his intention to return next summer after a second Qatar Goodwood Festival success of 2016.
“It’s been a very enjoyable and profitable holiday!” said McDonald.
“I’ve got to thank all the owners and trainers that have put me on their horses. It’s been a great opportunity.
“Bear Valley has had three starts to date and was always going to improve. The softer ground has been in his favour. He’s scooted away and is another typical Mark Johnston improver.
“I think there will be more improvement over a mile and I think he could step up again. He won’t be a top-class horse but, with juice in the ground, he’ll always give it his all.
“Every year I come here, I’ve always taken back something and I’ve always improved. That’s why I probably get a few outside rides other than for Godolphin.
“I’d love to come back year on year and I’d love to come back earlier and take in the Guineas meeting at Newmarket. That will clash a little bit with the racing over in Australia but if I get that opportunity, then I’d jump at the chance.”
Laughton has last laugh for Gray
The Kevin Ryan-trained Laughton was a half-length winner of the concluding race on day three of the Qatar Goodwood Festival, the five-furlong Tatler Handicap. The victory provided 21-year-old jockey Shane Gray with his first winner at the meeting and only his second winner at the Sussex venue. Kevin Ryan was registering his fourth success at the meeting and his fifth overall at Goodwood.
Gray settled the three-year-old son of Acclamation in the midfield under a decent gallop. Laughton was travelling well as the field approached the final furlong and came to challenge for the lead.
The colt responded tenaciously to Gray’s urgings to hit the front in the closing stages and repel the late challenge of second-placed Kassia and third-home Muhadathat.
A delighted Gray, who was also having his first ride at the Festival, said: “It’s my first ride at Glorious Goodwood so it’s very special for me. Laughton is a typical sprinter who will keep improving with age.
“He travelled well and he actually had a nice gallop to run at. In the past, he hasn’t had a strong pace to run at so that made a big difference as he enjoys having a gallop like that to run at.
“We got there a little bit soon and he pricked his ears in front but he had a little bit in hand. It was lovely.”