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Battaash all set to bid for fifth King George Stakes

Battaash will face 12 rivals as he bids for a fifth successive win in the King George Qatar Stakes at Goodwood.

Charlie Hills’ speedster was only fourth when trying to defend his King’s Stand title at Royal Ascot last month – but that was his first outing of the season after a setback delayed his return.

He is unbeaten at Goodwood, and reserves his best for the Sussex downs.

Glass Slippers was second to Battaash 12 months ago, and Kevin Ryan’s mare makes her seasonal reappearance in Friday’s Group Two.

She went on to win the Flying Five at the Curragh, finish second in the Prix de l’Abbaye and then win at the Breeders’ Cup in what was a fantastic season last year.

Archie Watson’s Dragon Symbol was first over the line in the Commonwealth Cup only to lose it in the stewards’ room, and then ran another fine race to be second in the July Cup to Starman.

He drops down to five furlongs for the first time since winning at Hamilton in May.

Tim Easterby relies on Art Power rather than Winter Power, in a rather surprising move, while John Quinn runs both Liberty Beach and Keep Busy.

The three-year-old filly Suesa makes the journey from France, with Aricebo representing Robert Cowell.

Jim Goldie’s veteran Euchen Glen will aim to add the Group Three l’Ormarins Queen’s Plate Glorious Stakes to his impressive tally.

The eight-year-old has already won the Brigadier Gerard and the Gala Stakes at Sandown this season, and is giving 3lb away all round.

His rivals include the Andrew Balding pair of Alounak, the choice of Silvestre de Sousa, and Fox Tal.

Outbox will have the assistance of Hollie Doyle, with Saeed bin Suroor’s rapid improver Passion And Glory stepping up in grade, while Aidan O’Brien’s Mogul has his sights lowered.

William Haggas’ unbeaten Baaeed takes what his connections will hope to be the next step along the road to the highest level in the Bonhams Thoroughbred Stakes.

He has oozed class in three victories to date en route to this Group Three.

Dee Stakes winner El Drama, Royal Ascot hero Perotto, Balding’s Tactical, Richard Fahey’s Rhythm Master and Sir Mark Todd’s Tasman Bay are among the eight runners.

Hollie Doyle stars with Goodwood hat-trick

Hollie Doyle was the queen of Goodwood as she followed up her Group One triumph by completing a fine hat-trick with additional successes aboard Lord Riddiford and Sisters In The Sky.

It was on the last-named colt that she cemented the feat, producing the 13-2 chance to lead approaching the distance in the British Stallion Studs EBF Maiden Stakes and preserve a healthy lead to the line, scoring by a cosy but reduced length for trainer Roger Teal.

A jubilant Doyle said: “It’s been an amazing day and brilliant to win on this colt for Roger. He settled a lot better today, and after hitting a flat spot saw it out well. I just needed to give him one behind the saddle and he was away.”

Teal enthused: “Hollie had never ridden a winner for me before, but what a way to get off the mark. When we saw the bad forecast and the ground change we were worried, but decided to give it a punt. When you look at the form of this horse, it has worked out tremendously well.”

John Quinn dominated the Back To Goodwood Handicap when the Malton trainer sent out Doyle’s mount Lord Riddiford and El Astronaute to give him a one-two in the five-furlong sprint.

Just minutes on from her Goodwood Cup triumph on Trueshan, Doyle swooped to conquer on Lord Riddiford (13-2) who forged two and a half lengths clear of his stablemate, with Desert Safari and Sunday Sovereign a close-up third and fourth.

Lord Riddiford is owned by twin brothers James and Andrew Derry from Newark, whose love affair with Goodwood was sparked by the same horse.

James Derry explained: “Our first winner was this horse here at Goodwood three years ago. I’d been coming to the course for 35 years and dreamed of having a winner here.”

Quinn attributed the change in going as being a huge part of the grey’s success and observed: “The ground was very quick for him in Ireland last time, and the bit of ease today made a huge difference.”

Doyle said: “He’s a very good horse on his day and liked the conditions. He probably could have jumped better, and I had to work to keep him balanced and retain my position. But when we hit the rising ground he really picked up and shot clear.”

David Menuisier’s Migration was a ready winner of the opening Unibet “You’re On” Chesterfield Cup Handicap after throwing down a late challenge.

The five-year-old made light of the heavy ground and built on a promising seasonal debut to strike as 2-1 favourite under William Buick.

Leaving the stalls slowly and racing at the rear of the field for much of the contest, the gelding remained on the far rail as a small group broke off in search of better ground on the stands side and cut through his rivals to gain the lead with half a furlong remaining.

Driven out under Buick, the bay was an eventual two-length winner over Ed Walker’s Caradoc in second and Roger Fell’s Cockalorum a further length and three-quarters behind in third.

“I wasn’t worried, I’m absolutely delighted,” Menuisier said.

“I’ve run him over a mile but I really felt that a mile (and) two (furlongs) is his favourite trip, so it was just a matter of where.

“He should have run at Newmarket the other day but the ground, I felt, was too quick, so I ruled him out.

“He is very straightforward and he has a good turn of foot so he can get out of trouble, what he doesn’t like is having to do too much.

“About two furlongs out I was thinking ‘come on William’, but he probably felt that he had a massive tank underneath him.”

Anghaam (7-2) benefitted from a canny ride by Jim Crowley to make all in the fillies’ handicap, holding Zwelela by a comfortable length and a half.

Winning trainer Richard Hannon said: “It was a game effort, just like the way she won at Newmarket earlier in the season. She’s all heart.”

In a reduced field of only six, well-supported favourite Urban Violet could only manage fourth.

Buick then sealed an opening-day double when taking the World Pool EBF Fillies’ Handicap aboard Hugo Palmer’s Lovely Breeze.

The filly struck at 3-1 in the seven-furlong contest when racing furthest from the rail, crossing the line a length and three-quarters ahead of Rod Millman’s Crazy Luck.

Poetic Flare still improving as Bolger eyes Sussex redemption

Poetic Flare is bidding for a third Group One in an already busy season in the Qatar Sussex Stakes at Goodwood.

Jim Bolger’s colt has already won the 2000 Guineas and the St James’s Palace Stakes, as well as finishing a close second to stablemate Mac Swiney in the Irish Guineas.

It was his Ascot performance which had the ratings gurus purring, though, as he won by more than four lengths in what was his fourth run in a little over six weeks.

“Poetic Flare has been very well since the St James’s Palace Stakes,” said Bolger.

“We’re very happy with his work, and he seems to be improving further. I was expecting and hoping for him to win at Ascot, but possibly not as spectacularly as he did.

“He’s only had a break in as much as he hasn’t been racing, but he’s a horse who I have to keep moving, and so it hasn’t exactly been a holiday. He’s very well, and I couldn’t be happier with him.”

Poetic Flare’s sire Dawn Approach lost only to Toronado in the Sussex in 2013, a reverse that still seems to rankle with Bolger, and he would love to make up for it in the latest Qipco British Champions Series event.

“Dawn Approach was a really good horse on good ground or faster, and the day he was beaten by Toronado in the Sussex Stakes it was officially good to soft,” said the County Carlow trainer.

“It was moving on top, so he never really got a hold of it. He didn’t like it.”

The deluges which turned the Goodwood going heavy for the start of this year’s meeting may not be in Poetic Flare’s favour either – but his trainer is not fretting.

Bolger added: “It was fast ground when Poetic Flare won at Ascot, and it might well be that he’s better on that better ground, but he seems to handle all going and he’s pretty good on soft too.

“My preference would be for good ground, but I’m not much given to worrying anyway. Whatever it is, I’ll take it. I’m very happy with my horse, and I don’t worry too much about anybody else’s.”

Poetic Flare may have most to fear from the two fillies, Alcohol Free and Snow Lantern.

The latter came out on top in the Falmouth Stakes, having finishing behind Alcohol Free in the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Snow Lantern flew fast and late to win the Falmouth
Snow Lantern flew fast and late to win the Falmouth (Tim Goode/PA)

Snow Lantern’s trainer Richard Hannon decided to stay at a mile rather than go up in trip for the Nassau later in the week. Jamie Spencer replaces the suspended Sean Levey in the saddle.

Hannon said: “Snow Lantern looked a very good filly in the Falmouth, and she was probably at her strongest at the line, so I don’t think the longer trip in the Nassau would have been any problem.

“But we are sticking to a mile for now, because we know she is very good at the trip.

“The ground was a big factor too, because she showed she could handle the soft when she ran so well in the Coronation Stakes, and one or two others might not be so good on it. It’s a hot race, but it would be a very nice one to win if we could.”

Andrew Balding said of Alcohol Free: “She’s a high-class filly, and I’m really looking forward to it.

“It looks like conditions should be ideal. It’s a very strong race, as it should be.

Alcohol Free won the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot
Alcohol Free won the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot (David Davies/PA)

“The turning track seemed to suit her really well when she won at Royal Ascot, so I think Goodwood will suit her really well.

“At Newmarket in the Falmouth it wasn’t the plan to make the running, and she rather set it up for the others. Hopefully if there’s some sort of pace to aim at she’s got a fairly electric turn of foot. I’m really excited about her.”

The Charlie Hills-trained Tilsit is progressing nicely and took the Summer Mile comfortably enough last time out

“His Group One defeat in France at the start of the season was frustrating, because he was in front just before the line and just after the line,” said Hills.

“I was really pleased with his subsequent win in the Summer Mile at Ascot – he did it in great style. He’s probably come out of Ascot the best he’s come out of any race – he’s in great form.

“He won a Group Three at the meeting last year, so we know he handles the track.”

Aidan O’Brien, who declared Battleground a non-runner on Monday, is still represented by Lope Y Fernandez and Breeders’ Cup winner Order Of Australia.

“We are looking forward to Lope Y Fernandez and we think he’s come forward again since Ascot (second to Palace Pier),” said O’Brien.

“We are very happy with him. He’s very straightforward and is progressing well.

“Order Of Australia has come out of his win at the Curragh very well, and the Sussex Stakes is a race which could suit him. He’s a hardy older horse who likes fast ground, and a mile is probably his trip – he gets it very well.”

Princess aims for new heights in Oak Tree Stakes

John Quinn believes recent rainfall at Goodwood could help Highfield Princess negate her awkward draw in stall 17 in the Whispering Angel Oak Tree Stakes.

On a quicker surface, Quinn admits his rapidly-improving filly might have too much to do on Wednesday, being drawn widest of all, but has hopes the middle of the course may not be disadvantageous in testing conditions.

The story of Highfield Princess is something of a fairytale – because this time last year she was rated 57. Seven wins later, including a Royal Ascot success in the Buckingham Palace Stakes, she is rated 100.

“She’s certainly earned a crack at this. I’ve never had a filly improve as much as she has,” said Quinn.

“This time last year she was no better than selling class really, yet 12 months later she’s in Group races. It’s incredible.

“She was phenomenal at Royal Ascot, and the horse she beat there (Danyah) came out and won the International on Saturday – and she beat him well. That’s very good form.

“We took her from there to Chelmsford, where she won a Listed race, and that came soon enough after Ascot – where you never have an easy race – but she’s had 24 days since then and she seems absolutely fine.”

He added: “She hasn’t got the best draw in the world – but with the ground getting softer, you just don’t know. She might be OK out there.

“She obviously likes the big fields. There were 28 at Ascot, and she’s a real straightforward filly – no fuss or frills.

“On quick ground, drawn out in 17 would leave her a lot of running to do, but on softer ground it might not be quite as bad as it looks.”

Charlie Fellowes is similarly pleased the rain has arrived for his two contenders – Vadream and Onassis, who were last seen finishing second and fourth respectively in a Group Three at York.

Onassis after winning at Royal Ascot last year
Onassis after winning at Royal Ascot last year (Edward Whitaker/PA)

“The soft ground definitely makes it interesting from my point of view,” said the Newmarket trainer.

“Vadream ran on very soft ground at Ascot, and it was probably a career-best when she was third in the Jersey. I think she probably goes on any ground, to be honest, but at least she’s proven she handles it.

“Onassis absolutely loves soft ground – she’s won on heavy twice, including over the course and distance at Goodwood.

“I really liked her run last time over a trip that was too short and on ground that, over that trip, would have been quick enough.

“I think we go there with two really good chances.”

The other Group Three on the card is the Markel Molecomb Stakes, which is set to stage a rematch between the first three home in the Dragon Stakes at Sandown at the start of the month.

The impressive winner of that Listed event was Ed Bethell’s Fearby, with the David Loughnane-trained Mojomaker second and Kaboo from Karl Burke’s yard third as the hot favourite.

Bethell said of his charge: “I’m happy with the way he’s trained since Sandown. Obviously running on heavy ground will be a very different question to what he’s been asked before, so we’ll have to see if he goes on it or not.

Fearby impressed at Sandown
Fearby impressed at Sandown (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

“He’s in great form, and I’m happy we decided to run over five furlongs, rather than running over six in the Richmond on soft ground.

“I’m hopeful rather than confident – it’s a step up. It’s the natural progression, and he goes there looking a million dollars, so I’m just hopeful that he’ll run a big race.”

Eve Johnson Houghton’s Windsor Castle Stakes winner Chipotle, who has finished ninth in the Super Sprint at Newbury since his Royal Ascot triumph, adds further strength in depth.

Trueshan powers to Goodwood Cup glory

Trueshan claimed Group One glory for Alan King and Hollie Doyle with a decisive success in the Al Shaqab Goodwood Cup.

A runaway winner on Champions Day at Ascot in October, the five-year-old made a promising start to the current campaign when runner-up to Japan at Chester in May before missing an intended appearance in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot due to unsuitable ground.

Trueshan instead contest the following week’s Northumberland Plate, where he was far from disgraced in finishing sixth under a huge weight, and everything fell perfectly into place for him on the Sussex Downs.

With the rain-softened ground leading to the withdrawal of four-time Goodwood Cup hero Stradivarius, King’s charge was the 6-5 favourite to provide his multiple Grade One-winning trainer with a first top-level success on the Flat.

Trueshan raced keenly for much of the two-mile journey, but moved to the lead early in the home straight and saw off the brave effort of the largely-unconsidered 33-1 shot Away He Goes by just under four lengths, giving a jubilant Doyle her second Group One win.

Doyle said: “It’s incredible. He’s been in my mind every day since Champions Day, when we could get back together – these are the days you do it for.

“He was pretty fresh early on, they were going no gallop and I expected there to be a bit of pace on and at halfway I thought ‘I’ve got to do something about this, I’m not getting trapped on the rail, they’re going to sprint finish’.

Trueshan in action at Goodwood
Trueshan in action at Goodwood (John Walton/PA)

“I managed to slide onto the girths of the leaders, he completely dropped the bridle with me and the further he went, the better. When I hit the rising ground, he went again.

“It’s a staying challenge and when I hit the rising ground he was gone again.

“He’s a superstar on this ground. I got some buzz off that – I don’t get too high or too low, but when you get experiences like that you’ve got to make the most of it.”

King is perhaps more renowned for winners at Cheltenham, but is becoming an increasingly potent force on the Flat.

He said: “It’s no better but it’s right up there with the Champion Hurdles and things, of course it is.

“All I want to do is train proper horses and I don’t mind whether they’re jumpers or not, I’m not giving up the jumping just yet!”

He went on: “We’re out of practice a bit, I haven’t been coming racing much over the past 18 months and I don’t think I’ve ever saddled this horse to win – I was nearly told to stay at home!

“He was just a little bit keen but he can be like that – thank God we went to Newcastle because if he’d come straight from Chester he’d have been ferocious today.

“I was glad he had a proper race there and we were able to let him down and then build him back up, a lot of people thought we were mad running him (at Newcastle) without a flat weight but he needed to go somewhere.”

Trainer Ismail Mohammed was thrilled with the effort of Away He Goes.

He said: “As we watched we thought he was going to win. We are very proud of him. Maybe we will head to France for a race one month from now that we had pencilled in.”

His rider Jim Crowley was equally pleased, saying: “He was travelling better than the winner who outstayed him on that ground. His form in Dubai was very good, so it was not a total surprise.”

Angel Bleu and Kinross make it an opening day to remember for Ralph Beckett at Goodwood

Angel Bleu and Kinross provided trainer Ralph Beckett and owner Marc Chan with a Group Two double on the opening afternoon of the Qatar Goodwood Festival.

Turning out just three days after filling the runner-up spot in the Listed Pat Eddery Stakes at Ascot, Angel Bleu was sent off at 100-30 for the Unibet Vintage Stakes under Frankie Dettori.

The Dark Angel colt sweated up on the way to post and raced enthusiastically for much of the race, but still managed to quicken up smartly in the rain-softened ground once popped the question by his rider.

He did hang quite badly right when delivering his challenge, interfering with The Acropolis in the process.

But while the previously-unbeaten Coventry Stakes winner Berkshire Shadow (13-8 favourite) was doing his best work at the finish, Angel Bleu had enough in reserve to hold him at bay by three-quarters of a length.

Beckett said: “Frankie got off him on Saturday and said ‘he’s been busy, give him a break’, so I thought we should leave him alone.

“(But) I fed him on Sunday and I looked at him sideways and thought ‘you don’t look like you’ve had a hard race to me at all’.

“I jogged him up, and he bounced up the yard – Marc Chan’s racing manager called me up and said ‘why don’t we geld him now and send him to Hong Kong in the autumn, he can go there and have a good time?’ – he was a little surprised when it rained and we decided to declare him!

“If we hadn’t declared and the field had fallen apart like this, I’d have been really, really cross with myself. With the rain last night, I could hardly believe my luck.

“He likes a bit of juice and he likes soft ground – we’ll think about the Dewhurst now I should think.”

Dettori added: “Horses make a fool of you, but a combination of running round the turn, soft ground and being good on the way to post made a difference. He loved it.”

Of the Andrew Balding-trained Berkshire Shadow, rider Oisin Murphy said: “Off a slow pace he relaxed very well, but took a while to get going. When I gave him a kick he stayed on well and hit the line hard.

“I think he needs another furlong, because he saw out the trip really well.”

Ralph Beckett at Goodwood
Ralph Beckett at Goodwood (John Walton/PA)

Little more than half an hour later Angel Bleu’s stablemate Kinross carried the Chan colours to victory in the Unibet Lennox Stakes.

Off the track since winning the John Of Gaunt Stakes at Haydock at the end of May, the 6-1 shot powered through in the final furlong under Rossa Ryan to deny 2-1 favourite Creative Force by a neck – with Happy Power and last year’s winner Space Blues close up in third and fourth.

Beckett said of his second big-race winner: “He shot through the gap two (furlongs) down and he sort of floated home in the last furlong.

“I was really keen that Rossa rode him absolutely cold today, and it’s panned out perfectly – as it can do sometimes.

“I was a bit worried he was getting into a row with Danny Tudhope at the top of the hill – I thought we were going to be shoved down on the fence, but it opened up and all was well.”

Kinross has realised his previous potential this season, with two Group-race wins in as many starts since being gelded in March.

Beckett added: “He’s not been a difficult for to train – he’s just been a difficult horse to read.

“I felt last year that I was always trying to get him ready, but I didn’t bother getting him ready for Kempton (last November) – I just got him there in reasonable shape when he won the Hyde Stakes.

“Taking him to Dubai (then) seemed like a good decision at the time – but that didn’t work.

“He was enjoying himself too much, enjoying his holidays – so gelding him was a good idea and sticking to this ground was a good idea.

“The form book doesn’t lie – his mother was very good on soft ground, and we’ll be sticking to good or soft from now on.

“He’ll definitely go up in grade. He’s in the (Prix) Maurice de Gheest, and the (Prix de la) Foret is a race I’ve always thought would suit him – so I think we’ll work back from that.”

Ryan voiced his gratitude to Beckett for the opportunity.

“I was pretty shocked to see myself booked to ride,” he said.

“But Ralph has shown in recent years that he’s never afraid to give lads a chance. That’s what he’s done, and I’m very thankful.”

Charlie Appleby was not too downcast over Creative Force and Space Blues.

The Godolphin trainer said: “Both horses ran well, but unfortunately as far as William’s (Buick) horse (Space Blues) is concerned it was not the strongest-run race and he said they were always picking up at a crucial point. I think we will look to the Hungerford in a couple of weeks.

“It was another solid run from Creative Force. He was going forward right to the line having travelled very well. We might contemplate bringing him back (in trip) for the Maurice de Gheest, but I’m just as keen to give him a break before heading to Haydock (for the Sprint Cup).”

Angel heaven sent for Dettori and Beckett

A quick reappearance proved no barrier to success for Angel Bleu, as Frankie Dettori steered Ralph Beckett’s colt to victory in the Unibet Vintage Stakes at Goodwood.

Runner-up in the Listed Pat Eddery Stakes at Ascot on Saturday, the Dark Angel youngster was sent off at 100-30 to go one better in this Group Three contest just three days later.

Having sweated up on the way to post, Angel Bleu raced enthusiastically for much of the race, but quickened up smartly in the rain-softened ground once popped the question by Dettori.

He did hang quite badly rightly when delivering his challenge, interfering with The Acropolis in the process.

The previously-unbeaten Coventry Stakes winner Berkshire Shadow (13-8 favourite) was doing his best work at the finish, but Angel Bleu had enough in reserve to hold him at bay by three-quarters of a length.

Beckett said: “Frankie got off him on Saturday and said ‘he’s been busy, give him a break’, so I thought we should leave him alone.

“(But) I fed him on Sunday and I looked at him sideways and thought ‘you don’t look like you’ve had a hard race to me at all’.

“I jogged him up and he bounced up the yard, (owner) Marc Chan’s racing manager called me up and said ‘why don’t we geld him now and send him to Hong Kong in the autumn, he can go there and have a good time’ – he was a little surprised when it rained and we decided to declare him!

“If we hadn’t declared and the field had fallen apart like this, I’d have been really, really cross with myself. With the rain last night I could hardly believe my luck.”

“He like a bit of juice and he likes soft ground, we’ll think about the Dewhurst now I should think.”

Of the Andrew Balding-trained Berkshire Shadow, rider Oisin Murphy said: “Off a slow pace he relaxed very well, but took a while to get going. When I gave him a kick he stayed on well and hit the line hard.

“I think he needs another furlong, as he saw out the trip really well.”

Migration charts winning route in Goodwood opener

David Menuisier’s Migration was a ready winner of the Unibet “You’re On” Chesterfield Cup Handicap after throwing down a late challenge.

The five-year-old made light of the heavy ground and built on a promising seasonal debut to strike as 2-1 favourite under William Buick.

Leaving the stalls slowly and racing at the rear of the field for much of the contest, the gelding remained on the far rail as a small group broke off in search of better ground on the stands side and cut through his rivals to gain the lead with half a furlong remaining.

Driven out under Buick, the bay was an eventual two-length winner over Ed Walker’s Caradoc in second and Roger Fell’s Cockalorum a further length and three-quarters behind in third.

“I wasn’t worried, I’m absolutely delighted,” Menuisier said.

“I’ve run him over a mile but I really felt that a mile (and) two (furlongs) is his favourite trip, so it was just a matter of where.

“He should have run at Newmarket the other day but the ground, I felt, was too quick, so I ruled him out.

“He is very straightforward and he has a good turn of foot so he can get out of trouble, what he doesn’t like is having to do too much.

“About two furlongs out I was thinking ‘come on William’, but he probably felt that he had a massive tank underneath him.”

Alison Swinburn ready to savour ‘superstar’ Audarya’s Nassau exploits

Owner Alison Swinburn will savour the occasion as her star mare Audarya bids for a third Group One success in the Qatar Nassau Stakes at Goodwood.

The James Fanshawe-trained five-year-old enjoyed a meteoric rise in 2020, graduating from a Newcastle handicap win off a mark of 99 to strike at the top level in both the Prix Jean Romanet at Deauville and the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf in the autumn.

Swinburn said: “She really has been a superstar – almost beyond your wildest dreams. Of course when you go to the sales and you buy a horse, you’re always hoping that they’ll be good. I was hoping I’d buy a filly that would be good enough to race and enjoy and then breed from. I don’t think I ever imagined she’d be as good as she is.

“To come from winning at Newcastle to go and win the Group One Romanet, be placed in the Prix de l’Opera – then of course the icing on the cake last year was the Breeders’ Cup, which was just magical really.”

Audarya was only narrowly beaten at Ascot
Audarya was only narrowly beaten at Ascot (David Davies/PA)

Audarya has run just once since her Keeneland victory, taking on five-time Group One winner Love in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot, where she was beaten three-quarters of a length in second after racing a touch keenly through the early exchanges.

Swinburn felt that was a fine effort from her daughter of Wootton Bassett, saying: “In an ideal world she would have had a run before, but things didn’t pan out like that.

“It was a big ask going straight to Ascot against Love, one of the best fillies in the world, but I was so thrilled with how she ran, because I felt it really endorsed her form.

“Her form has been abroad – and as much as that’s amazing, it’s so nice to see her run that well in the UK.

The ground at Goodwood is testing following overnight rain
The ground at Goodwood is testing following overnight rain (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

“We couldn’t have been happier with it, and she’s come out of the race really well, so we now look forward to the next one.”

The ground at Goodwood was described as heavy, soft in places before the first day of the festival – and while Audarya’s ability to handle conditions does not concern Swinburn, the 9lb she must concede to four three-year-old rivals on Thursday would be more of a worry.

“She’s won in the soft, so I think it might be less of a concern to us than it might be to others,” she said.

“The only thing is she will have quite a weight (9st 7lb) to lug in softer ground.

Because of coronavirus restrictions, Swinburn was not able to enjoy Audarya’s international successes in person last year, so she is eager to make the trip to Goodwood with her father Peter Harris – a former trainer and owner, whose former colours Audarya sports.

She said: “I’m really looking forward to it – I’m coming with my dad and a couple of friends, so we’ll make the most and enjoy the day, but then everything she does this year is a bonus. It’s just nice to be able to go and watch her run and enjoy it.”

Swinburn is planning to retire her star performer at the end of the season – although Audarya’s targets for the rest of the year are far from determined at this stage.

She added: “I think probably at the beginning of the season that (France and Breeders’ Cup) would have been the plan, but I think we will take it quite race by race and see how she comes out of it.

“The Breeders’ Cup is right at the end of our season. It’s west coast this year, so we’ll just do whatever is best for the filly – because everything she does this year is a bonus, and then she will go to the paddocks. We will just judge it on how she is.

“She will go to the Swinburn family stud, Genesis Green, which is run by my brother-in-law Michael Swinburn. That will be lovely, because we will get to see lots of her and her offspring.”

Lady Bowthorpe is among the Goodwood opposition
Lady Bowthorpe is among the Goodwood opposition (Edward Whitaker/PA)

Audarya is one of six fillies declared for the 10-furlong Nassau Stakes, which is part of the Qipco British Champions Series.

Fellow five-year-old Lady Bowthorpe, representing William Jarvis, is one of her main rivals – along with Aidan O’Brien’s pair of Joan Of Arc and Empress Josephine, winners of the Prix de Diane and Irish 1,000 Guineas respectively.

The Roger Varian-trained Zeyaadah and Martyn Meade’s Technique, who were split by just a head when first and second in the Hoppings Stakes at Newcastle last time, complete the field.

Audarya tops six-strong Nassau field

Breeders’ Cup heroine Audarya heads a field of six runners for the Qatar Nassau Stakes at Goodwood.

James Fanshawe’s mare enjoyed a tremendous campaign in 2020, progressing from a narrow victory in a Newcastle handicap to claiming Group One honours in both the Prix Jean Romanet at Deauville and the Filly And Mare Turf at Keeneland.

Audarya made an encouraging return to action when runner-up to Love in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot last month and is likely to be a hot favourite to get back on the winning trail in the feature event on day three of the Qatar Goodwood Festival.

Audarya is unlikely to have things all her own way on Thursday, however, with Aidan O’Brien having also declared a pair of Classic winners in Empress Josephine and Joan Of Arc.

Empress Josephine denied her stablemate by a short head in the Irish 1,000 Guineas at the Curragh, since when Joan Of Arc has gone one better in the Prix de Diane – the French Oaks.

William Jarvis runs his stable star Lady Bowthorpe, who bids to break her top-level duck on her first appearance over a mile and a quarter. Her fast-finishing fourth in the Falmouth at Newmarket three weeks ago suggested a step up in trip could bring about further improvement.

Lady Bowthorpe is a leading contender
Lady Bowthorpe is a leading contender (George Selwyn/PA)

The sextet is completed by Roger Varian’s Zeyaadah and the Martyn Meade-trained Technique.

The pair were split by just a head when first and second in a Group Three at Newcastle last month, with both fillies having previously been down the field in the Oaks at Epsom.

Wonderful Tonight tops 23 in Lillie Langtry contention

Wonderful Tonight is one of 23 entries in Saturday’s Qatar Lillie Langtry Stakes at Goodwood following her late withdrawal from the King George at Ascot last weekend.

Trainer David Menuisier banked on the weather forecasters being correct in their assertion that heavy showers would hit Ascot in the lead up to the meeting, but unfortunately for Wonderful Tonight’s connections, nothing of substance arrived.

On taking his pride and joy out of the biggest race of the season to date, the Frenchman said: “When you train a soft-ground horse you always need a bit of luck, with races in the middle of the summer.

“She’s the filly of a lifetime with big targets in the autumn, so we’ve got to do right by her.

“We’d like to give Goodwood a go, and she’s entered in the Lillie Langtry Stakes, so could run there.”

Should she run, Wonderful Tonight could have most to fear from Sir Mark Prescott’s Alpinista, winner of the Lancashire Oaks last time out.

Ralph Beckett’s Albaflora sports the same Kirsten Rausing colours and could also take her chance. Beckett has also entered the Juddmonte-owned Yesyes, unbeaten in two starts to date.

Roger Varian sent Believe In Love to Ireland to win a Group Three last time out and she could be joined by stablemates Cabaletta and Save A Forest.

David O’Meara’s consistent Makawee, Hugo Palmer’s improving Golden Pass, Aidan O’Brien’s Passion and George Boughey’s Oaks runner-up Mystery Angel are among the initial entries.

Andrew Balding’s Chil Chil is top weight in the Unibet Stewards’ Cup. She was last seen finishing a four-length ninth in the Group One July Cup. Balding also has Stone Of Destiny in the mix.

Last year’s winner Summerghand is back for more for O’Meara with Eve Johnson’s Houghton’s progressive Punchbowl Flyer going up in grade.

Ejtilaab has been making good progress for Ian Williams but should he run, it will be for Charlie Fellowes on this occasion with Lampang, Motagally and Commanche Falls all engaged.

The maximum field size is 28 with a Stewards’ Cup consolation race for those that don’t make the cut.

Appleby duo dominate Lennox line-up at Goodwood

Charlie Appleby appears to have a stranglehold on the Unibet Lennox Stakes at Goodwood, with both Space Blues and Creative Force lining up for the Godolphin trainer.

Appleby has enjoyed a dream season, with Adayar and Hurricane Lane dominating the three-year-old middle distance races, but Space Blues and Creative Force will not be hanging about over seven furlongs on Tuesday.

Space Blues won the race 12 months ago, while three-year-old Creative Force had his winning streak brought to an end in the July Cup but lost little in defeat when just two lengths behind Starman.

“He’s a past winner of the Lennox and is part of the furniture at Moulton Paddocks,” Appleby said of Space Blues, who disappointed when last seen in the Al Quoz Sprint.

“He hasn’t been seen since running down the field at Meydan. I think now we can quite safely say Meydan is not his track – especially over the six there.

“But we’ve seen in the past what a seven-furlong specialist he is, including at Goodwood.

“He looks fantastic – and of all our runners at Goodwood, he’d be the one I’d be looking forward to. He might not be a Blue Point, but he’s very solid.”

Creative Force was a Royal Ascot winner in the Jersey Stakes
Creative Force was a Royal Ascot winner in the Jersey Stakes (Steven Paston/PA)

Of Creative Force, the Newmarket trainer told www.godolphin.com: “We are looking forward to stepping (him) back up to seven furlongs – it’s a sharp seven at Goodwood, which will suit him.

“The ground was a bit quick for him at Newmarket last time, but should be more to his liking here. He is a very solid horse, who is getting a three-year-old allowance, and he goes there in great shape.”

Safe Voyage finished fourth in the race 12 months ago for John Quinn, and put two disappointing early-season runs behind him when winning at Chester last time.

Quinn said: “We were very pleased with him at Chester, and he’s come out of the race well.

“He likes Goodwood – he ran well in this race last year. It’s a spicy race, as you’d expect, but we’re hopeful of a big run.

“The rain has come, and cut in the ground is spot on for him.”

As for his two poor runs, Quinn added: “He had a hard time in America at the Breeders’ Cup – it just didn’t work out. The ground was like concrete, and it maybe took him longer to get over it than I first thought.

“In the Lockinge it didn’t work – we got involved in a frenetic early pace, and then he actually ran better than his finishing position at Haydock without quite running up to his best.

“From Haydock we were very happy going into Chester, and it was nice to see him bounce back there.”

Andrew Balding runs Happy Power.

The Kingsclere trainer said: “Happy Power will love the ground. He was a bit disappointing last time, so he’s on a retrieval mission, but he’s a course-and-distance winner and takes his racing well.”

Last year’s third Escobar is also among the eight contenders remaining, after six non-runners were announced because of overnight storms which turned the ground heavy – almost halving the initially-declared field.

Berkshire Shadow seeking Vintage victory on day one at Goodwood

Royal Ascot hero Berkshire Shadow puts his unbeaten record and tall reputation on the line in the Unibet Vintage Stakes at Goodwood.

A narrow winner on his racecourse debut at Newbury in the spring, Andrew Balding’s juvenile successfully stepped up to Group Two level on just his second career start when running out an impressive winner of the Coventry Stakes.

The Dark Angel colt moves up to seven furlongs for his latest assignment on Tuesday, with the rain-softened ground on the Sussex Downs his trainer’s only concern.

Balding said: “The likelihood is he’s going to encounter different ground conditions to what he did at Ascot, which is an unknown, but I’m very happy with the horse – and I think the extra furlong will suit him well.

“It was a very good performance in the Coventry, and likewise first time out he was very impressive.

“He’s obviously a horse with a huge amount of talent. It was always the intention to step up to seven furlongs after Ascot, and I hope if he handles the ground he’ll go very well.”

Berkshire Shadow’s biggest threat appeared to be the Richard Hannon-trained Lusail – but that rival was ruled out when the going turned heavy after an overnight thunderstorm.

Hannon will therefore rely on outsider Secret Strength, of whom he said: “(He) is no mug. He’s got plenty of ability, and if he goes in the ground he could run a big race.”

Eldrickjones (black and white colours) was not far behind Berkshire Shadow at Ascot
Eldrickjones (black and white colours) was not far behind Berkshire Shadow at Ascot (David Davies/PA)

The Nick Bradley Racing-owned Eldrickjones has ground to make up on Berkshire Shadow, having filled the runner-up spot in the Coventry.

“I’d be hopeful we could at least finish a bit closer to Berkshire Shadow, based on the fact I think we were on a less favoured part of the track than the winner at Ascot,” said Bradley.

“I think the step up to seven furlongs will be a help for us, and probably a help for him as well.

“With horses like this, there’s only so many races you can go for – and I’ve had this race in mind for some time for our horse.”

Aidan O’Brien’s The Acropolis, the Ralph Beckett-trained Angel Bleu and Austrian Theory from Mark Johnston’s yard complete the line-up.

Poetic Flare tops bill as 10 bid for Sussex Stakes

Poetic Flare is the star attraction among 10 contenders for the Qatar Sussex Stakes at Goodwood.

Jim Bolger’s charge has been kept busy since claiming Classic glory in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket in May – finishing sixth in the French Guineas and runner-up in the Irish Guineas before his sensational victory in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot.

The son of Dawn Approach is a red-hot favourite to add to his Group One tally when he faces his elders for the first time on Wednesday.

Aidan O’Brien, who has saddled five previous winners of the Sussex Stakes, this year runs Breeders’ Cup Mile winner Order Of Australia and Queen Anne runner-up Lope Y Fernandez. Battleground, who won the Vintage Stakes at Goodwood last summer, was initially also declared for Ballydoyle but is a non-runner after a bad scope.

The two fillies in the field are familiar rivals Alcohol Free and Snow Lantern. Andrew Balding’s Alcohol Free came out on top when the pair met in last month’s Coronation Stakes, but the Richard Hannon-trained Snow Lantern turned the tables in the Falmouth three weeks ago.

Hannon has a second string to his bow in Chindit, who finished fifth behind Poetic Flare in both the Guineas and the St James’s Palace, while Tilsit is stepped back up in grade by Charlie Hills after winning Ascot’s Summer Mile.

Andre Fabre’s French raider Duhail, Simon and Ed Crisford’s Century Dream and Space Traveller from Richard Fahey’s yard also feature.

Blues back for more in Lennox heat

Space Blues heads 14 declarations for the Unibet Lennox Stakes as he attempts back-to-back victories in Tuesday’s Group Two over seven furlongs at Goodwood.

Charlie Appleby’s five-year-old went on to Group One glory in the Prix Maurice de Gheest afterwards and he won the very valuable Turf Sprint in Riyadh in February. However, he was beaten in the Al Quoz Sprint in Meydan on his only subsequent start.

Appleby also has Creative Force, who returns to seven furlongs after his four-race winning run ended with a fifth place in the July Cup.

The second, third and fourth from this contest 12 months ago – Paul and Oliver Cole’s Duke Of Hazzard, David O’Meara’s Escobar and John Quinn’s Safe Voyage – are set to do battle again while Jessica Harrington’s Real Appeal is the sole Irish-trained challenger.

Others in the mix include Roger Varian’s Khuzaam, the Ralph Beckett-trained Kinross, and Pogo from Charlie Hills’ stable.

Berkshire Shadow will try to uphold his 100 per cent record in the Unibet Vintage Stakes.

The Andrew Balding-trained juvenile has not run since scoring at Group Two level in the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot following a debut success at Newbury.

Among the seven declared runners are the Richard Hannon-trained Lusail, winner of the July Stakes, and Coventry Stakes runner-up Eldrickjones for trainer Roger Fell. Aidan O’Brien’s The Acropolis represents Irish interests with the field completed by Angel Bleu, Austrian Theory and Secret Strength.