John Gosden produced the training performance of the season so far in bringing Nathaniel to Sandown to take the Coral-Eclipse Stakes on his first run of the season. He was up against race fit opponents, including the winners of the Dubai Duty Free, Dubai World Cup and the Dante.
In the run up to the race, Gosden was playing down the chances of his charge, and he was doing the same yesterday in advance of this week’s July Festival at Newmarket. He has trained three Group 1 winners already this month, but doesn’t expect to add to his total in the Etihad Airways Falmouth Stakes on Friday, even though he has three entries in the race.
He said, “The Falmouth looks a very good race and we plan to run Joviality, who won the Group 2 Windsor Forest Stakes at Royal Ascot, as well as Elusive Kate. It is good to be involved but I expect Golden Lilac to win and to win well. I think she’s phenomenally good. Joviality is in good form. Elusive Kate hasn’t run this year because of soft ground but I can’t carry on not running, as the owner will think I’m not training her! Fallen For You probably won’t run as she prefers better ground.”
Gosden was equally downbeat about his chances of picking up a first trainers’ in November. Nathaniel’s win narrowed the gap between him and Aidan O’Brien to less than £500,000. If Nathaniel were to win the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot in 10 days time it would turn those figures around. I don’t think that will happen, and indeed I’ll be surprised if Nathaniel is in the line up at Ascot. I can’t see him going for two Group 1 races in the space of a fortnight.
Gosden spoke of the championship. He said, “It comes our way that’s fine, but I won’t be pursuing it. If you start running horses in order to maximise prize money instead of what is best for the horse, then the tail is wagging the dog and I have seen people doing that in the past.”