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Mostahdaf back in the groove with Sandown Listed success

Mostahdaf made the most of having his sights lowered when getting back on the winning trail in the Chasemore Farm Fortune Stakes at Sandown.

Having made it three wins from as many starts in the Heron Stakes over the same course and distance in May, the son of Frankel was stepped up to Group One level for the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot – where he beat only one rival home.

Dropping back down to Listed class for his latest assignment, John and Thady Gosden’s charge was the 7-4 favourite in the hands of Jim Crowley and ultimately got the job done in good style.

The keen-going Rhoscolyn was in there pitching as things started to hot up inside the final two furlongs, with Mostahdaf travelling strongly and the popular Sir Busker produced with his challenge between the pair.

It was Escobar who emerged as the biggest threat to Mostahdaf, however – and while the market leader carried his rival across the track when coming under maximum pressure, he was well on top as he passed the post half a length in front.

Thady Gosden said: “We were very pleased with him, because he has had a bit of time off. He hit a couple of ridges up the straight, but he handled the track as they had plenty of rain here yesterday. It was soft enough for him, but his class got him through.

“He is a nice horse for next year definitely, but we will see how he comes out of the race and if we do anything with him for the rest of the season.”

Mostahdaf was completing a double on the card for the Gosden team following the earlier success of 2-1 shot Damaar and Robert Havlin in the Blandford Bloodstock Novice Stakes.

Goldspur after winning at Sandown
Goldspur after winning at Sandown (PA)

The Charlie Appleby-trained Goldspur earned quotes for next year’s Cazoo Derby at Epsom following his impressive debut success in the Time Test EBF Novice Stakes.

Sent off the 2-1 favourite under James Doyle, the Dubawi colt looks destined for bigger better things – judged on the way he stretched six and a half lengths clear.

“I was pleased with that run,” said Appleby.

“He is a horse that has got plenty of stamina in his pedigree, so he will be a mile-and-a-half horse for next year.

“Going forward we will look at stepping him up to a mile and a quarter and point him at something like the Zetland Stakes.

“I’m very pleased that he is a big margin winner, but soft ground has come into play for him there.”

Jim Crowley misses three winners after Doncaster fall

It was an opening day of the St Leger festival to forget for Jim Crowley as not only was he taken to hospital following a fall in the first race at Doncaster, he also missed three subsequent winners.

Thankfully Crowley escaped serious injury in a nasty incident in the closing stages of the Take The Reins Nursery Handicap when Jadhlaan came down on crossing the line.

Clerk of the course Roderick Duncan provided an update on Crowley, who went to the Northern General Hospital in Sheffield.

Duncan added: “He was conscious and stood up walking, but he was very sore.”

Later in the afternoon Richard Hills, assistant racing manager for owners Shadwell Estate, had further good news.

“I just spoke to Jim. He’s missing all the winners. But he’s had an MRI scan, and that’s clear. He won’t ride tomorrow, but he’s OK,” said Hills.

Jadhlaan’s fall sadly proved fatal and Crowley was initially out of action for race two, which saw the very promising Israr come out on top in a battle of well-regarded newcomers in the British Stallion Studs EBF Maiden Stakes.

A son of John Gosden’s Oaks and King George winner Taghrooda and champion sprinter Muhaarar, the youngster was nevertheless sent off at 8-1 behind favourite and stablemate Frantastic, himself a full-brother to Cracksman.

Drawn on the wing in stall 10, Israr lost ground by jinking right at the start, but was soon back on an even keel and with Frantastic off the bridle with two furlongs to run, he moved stylishly into contention.

Despite looking green Frantastic made a pleasing debut, running on into third, but for Israr it was the perfect start, beating the outsider Savvy Victory by half a length.

Crowley was replaced by Robert Havlin who said: “It’s nice to ride a winner, but never nice in those circumstances.

“The doctor said he (Crowley) got up OK, but was feeling a bit of pain high in his back so they took him to get checked over.”

On the winner, who was given a 25-1 quote by Paddy Power and Betfair for the Derby, Havlin added: “He’s very laid-back. He’s like family – Taghrooda was very laid-back.

“We were going slow (early), and he wasn’t really taking the bit. So I sat closer then.

“He was just racing a little bit babyish – but when I gave him a squeeze, he was all there for me and finished out well.

“He picked up well. He’s from a mile-and-a-half family, but he’s a bit quicker.

“You can see he’s smaller and stockier and stronger than the others. He’s nice, and we hope he’s got a bright future.

“I love his mindset.”

Thady Gosden trains Israr with his father and said of their runners: “I was very happy with both of them.

“Obviously it was first time out for both, so there’s that lack of experience.

“I was very happy with the third there (too). He ran on nicely, got the hang of things late on.

“I’m very happy with the winner. They’re both exceptionally well-bred.”

Crowley would also have been aboard the Charlie Hills-trained Khaadem, who ran out a clear-cut victor in the Cazoo Scarbrough Stakes as the 5-4 favourite.

He was ridden by William Buick, who again deputised for Crowley in the I Love Julie Parkes Handicap which was won by Owen Burrows’ Anmaat (11-4).

‘Sore’ Crowley taken to hospital for checks after Doncaster fall

Jim Crowley was forced to miss a promising winner as Israr came out on top in a battle of well-regarded newcomers in the British Stallion Studs EBF Maiden Stakes at Doncaster.

A son of John Gosden’s Oaks and King George winner Taghrooda and champion sprinter Muhaarar, the youngster was nevertheless sent off at 8-1 behind favourite and stablemate Frantastic, himself a full-brother to Cracksman.

Drawn on the wing in stall 10, Israr lost ground by jinking right at the start, but was soon back on an even keel and with Frantastic off the bridle with two furlongs to run, he moved stylishly into contention.

Despite looking green Frantastic made a pleasing debut, running on into third, but for Israr it was the perfect start, beating the outsider Savvy Victory by half a length.

Unfortunately for Crowley, however, he was replaced by Robert Havlin, having been unseated from his mount in the opening race, Jadhlaan.

Havlin said: “It’s nice to ride a winner, but never nice in those circumstances.

“The doctor said he (Crowley) got up OK, but was feeling a bit of pain high in his back so they took him to get checked over.”

Clerk of the course Roderick Duncan provided an update on Crowley, who went to the Northern General Hospital in Sheffield.

Duncan added: “He was conscious and stood up walking, but he was very sore.”

On the winner, who was given a 25-1 quote by Paddy Power and Betfair for the Derby, Havlin added: “He’s very laid-back. He’s like family – Taghrooda was very laid-back.

“We were going slow (early), and he wasn’t really taking the bit. So I sat closer then.

Jim Crowley had a nasty fall in the opening race at Doncaster
Jim Crowley had a nasty fall in the opening race at Doncaster (Adam Davy/PA)

“He was just racing a little bit babyish – but when I gave him a squeeze, he was all there for me and finished out well.

“He picked up well. He’s from a mile-and-a-half family, but he’s a bit quicker.

“You can see he’s smaller and stockier and stronger than the others. He’s nice, and we hope he’s got a bright future.

“I love his mindset.”

Thady Gosden trains Israr with his father and said of their runners: “I was very happy with both of them.

“Obviously it was first time out for both, so there’s that lack of experience.

“I was very happy with the third there (too). He ran on nicely, got the hang of things late on.

“I’m very happy with the winner. They’re both exceptionally well-bred.

“It’s obviously nice for Rab to ride the winner – but we hope Jim’s OK. It was a bit of a shock to see him fall there, and obviously it’s terrible to see things like that when they happen.

“But he seemed to get up fine, and hopefully he isn’t too much worse for it.”

Crowley missed another winner when the Charlie Hills-trained Khaadem ran out a clear-cut victor in the Cazoo Scarbrough Stakes as the 5-4 favourite.

Brilliant Baaeed delivers Group One gold at ParisLongchamp

Baaeed continued his meteoric rise as he stayed unbeaten with a decisive victory on his Group One debut in the Prix du Moulin at ParisLongchamp.

William Haggas’ colt took the measure of top-level opposition at his first attempt, extending his winning sequence to five in a career which only began in a Leicester maiden in June.

Jim Crowley had Shadwell’s son of Sea The Stars in touch in a field of six, as outsider Novemba still led by five lengths into the straight – having been rushed to the front, after missing the break.

Baaeed was moving well, however, and confirmed he had matters in hand, taking over two furlongs out and proving too strong in the finish to win by a length and a quarter as the 4-11 favourite from Aidan O’Brien’s Breeders’ Cup winner Order Of Australia.

A delighted Haggas was winning this race for the second time, after Aqlaam struck in the same colours in 2009.

The Newmarket trainer was not in attendance, but having watched the race on television, he sensed that Baaeed was perhaps a little fresh for his first start in more than five weeks.

He said: “It was a funny, complicated race for him because he got into a nice position and then the German horse (Novemba) came round and set him alight.

“He was a bit wide. He and (eventual fourth) Snow Lantern were both a bit free in third and fourth.

“But once he settled down, I liked the way he did it.

“He actually raced, for me, a bit fresh. He just looked pleased to be out, so that will have done him a lot of good.

“He’s won, which is the most important thing, and we’re delighted. We’ll celebrate.

Baaeed was very busy with four mid-summer runs and Haggas agreed it is remarkable how far the three-year-old has come in such a short space of time.

He said: “Absolutely – (but) he’s had a while since his last run.

“He hasn’t run for five weeks. I think he thought his season was over!

“He’d run quite a few times before that. But he just looked a bit pleased to be out. He was enthusiastic to post, and he raced more keenly than he has so far this year.

“But he’ll be fine. He’s a charming horse, and a good one – a fast one, too.”

Bookmakers Coral were among those impressed again by Baaeed, promoting him ahead of Palace Pier to be clear favourite at 7-4 (from 11-4) for next month’s Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot.

Haggas confirmed that will be his end-of-season target, as long as he is showing the right signs on his return from France.

“If he runs again (this season), that’ll be the race he’ll run in,” he said.

“But we’ll see about that, we’ll see how he is.”

Crowley reported that Baaeed did run more freely than he has in the past, but he was impressed nonetheless by how he settled matters when asked.

“Obviously he’s been winning races very easily back home,” he told Sky Sports Racing.

“This was his first step up to Group One company, fifth run of his life – and for me, he’s still learning.

“I thought he did very well, because the pacemaker missed it, and then chased him up – and I didn’t have any cover.

“He relaxed OK, and he picked up well. When he hit the front, he was just idling a little bit – and he was pricking his ears in front.

“It was a good performance. I hope he can keep progressing – I think he will do.”

Baaeed’s victories to date have come on ground ranging from just good to firm to this good to soft, but Crowley is confident he will be adaptable if necessary on a more testing surface.

“He stays the mile very, very well,” he said.

“He’s not too ground dependent – it’s beautiful ground out there today, and he went very well on it.

“He’s got a fantastic mind. He’s very laid-back.

Trainer William Haggas has confirmed Baaeed may well end his season in Ascot's Queen Elizabeth II Stakes next month
Trainer William Haggas has confirmed Baaeed may well end his season in Ascot’s Queen Elizabeth II Stakes next month (Nigel French/PA)

“He was a little bit fresh today. It’s the first time he’s been abroad, and he took it all in his stride.

“Walking round the paddock, he was cool as a cucumber.”

Baaeed appears likely to stick to a mile for the foreseeable future, but as with underfoot conditions, Crowley is confident a move up in trip would be feasible.

He added: “As for further – yes, I’m sure he’ll stay.

“Whether connections will want to go further with him at the moment, when he’s winning Group Ones, we’ll have to wait and see.

“I wouldn’t worry (about soft ground). He ran on good to soft before – at Goodwood (in the Group Three Thoroughbred Stakes) it was on the slower side.

“Because he stays the mile very well, I think if it came up soft over a mile, I wouldn’t be too concerned.”

Hukum makes it back-to-back Geoffrey Freer victories

Hukum registered back-to-back victories in comfortable fashion in the BetVictor Geoffrey Freer Stakes at Newbury.

The Owen Burrows-trained four-year-old looked a cut above the opposition as he pulled clear in the final furlong to defy a 3lb penalty for a Group Three success at York on his latest start.

Golden Pass set the pace, but Jim Crowley soon had the 8-11 favourite in second place away from any possible trouble in behind.

It looked an open contest three furlongs from home, although Hukum soon changed that when he hit the front with a quarter of a mile left.

He stretched away to win by three and a quarter lengths from the David Simcock-trained Rodrigo Diaz, who ran a big race with the Melbourne Cup in mind.

Pablo Escobarr was another length and a quarter away in third.

Jim Crowley enjoyed victory aboard Hukum
Jim Crowley enjoyed victory aboard Hukum (PA)

Shadwell racing manager Angus Gold said: “Jim said when he won at Goodwood he made a noise, so we tied his tongue down and since then he’s been really good.

“He’s a scopey horse that is putting it all together, and he has the speed to go shorter.

“He’s in the Lucien Barriere at Deauville in a couple of weeks, but looking ahead we might look towards the Breeders’ Cup Turf and the Hong Kong Vase.”

Crowley salutes ‘horse of a lifetime’ Battaash

Jim Crowley will never forget Battaash’s Nunthorpe victory at York in 2019 in a long list of memories he can treasure of the newly-retired sprinter.

The fact Battaash beat the legendary Dayjur’s course record, also owned owned by Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, and that his late boss was present on the Knavesmire that afternoon made it extra special.

Crowley only missed one of Battaash’s races since their association began in August 2017.

“He’s been an unbelievable horse for everyone involved and Charlie Hills has done a fantastic job with him,” he said.

Jim Crowley had some of his best days in the saddle on Battaash
Jim Crowley had some of his best days in the saddle on Battaash (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

“Bob Grace deserves a special mention for looking after him until his retirement and his new lad Bluey (Cannon), too.

“He’s been the horse of a lifetime and I’ll miss him dearly. To get a buzz like you got off him is very difficult to find.

“He was so fast – too fast for his own good sometimes, but it was always exciting riding him.”

But there was one day in particular that Crowley highlighted as the crowning moment of his career.

“The day he won the Nunthorpe I will never forget as long as I live, it was a special day,” he said.

“He silenced a few of his critics that day and broke Dayjur’s record, and Sheikh Hamdan was on track that day at York. There are lots of reasons that made it a special day.

“He was very good when he won the Prix de l’Abbaye and he loved Goodwood as well. It was also lovely to win the King’s Stand with him because Ascot wasn’t a track that played to his strengths with its stiff finish, as he was a speed horse.

“The Nunthorpe day was something else, though.”

Sheikh Hamdan greets Battaash after he broke the track record at York
Sheikh Hamdan greets Battaash after he broke the track record at York (Simon Cooper/PA)

The first day Crowley rode him on track was Battaash’s first win in the King George at Goodwood in 2017 – and he felt even then he was on something special.

“For sure that first day at Goodwood I got an idea he could be something special, but sometimes he was his own worst enemy,” said Crowley.

“He lost the plot at York the first year, but when he was good he was very good. He won the Temple one day and went through the field like a hot knife through butter.

“He was a special horse, I’ve got lots of fond memories of him. He was a very kind horse as well, he was part of the family for Charlie, his kids loved him. I’ll miss riding him.

“Along with Enable and Stradivarius he has lit up the last few Flat seasons. It’s very hard for a sprinter to be so dominant, because in a lot of the races you could run them five times and get five different results.

“He was a testament to Charlie and his team, Bob and everyone did such a great job. It’s been a lovely ride and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. I feel very lucky to have come across a horse like that and he’ll have a happy retirement I’m sure.”

Battaash – 5 of his best

As the curtain comes down on the career of the brilliant sprinter Battaash – having won 13 of his 25 races and £1,774,180 in prize-money – we take a look at five of his best performances:

Prix de l’Abbaye 2017, Chantilly

After meeting with his first defeat of the season in the Nunthorpe at York, when connections felt he lost his race before it had even begun, Battaash returned to winning ways in devastating style. With the race taking place in Chantilly as Longchamp was undergoing redevelopment, Jim Crowley bounced him out and he barely saw another rival, coming home four lengths clear of the Nunthorpe winner Marsha to win his first Group One.

King George Stakes 2018, Goodwood

Battaash first, the rest nowhere
Battaash first, the rest nowhere (Adam Davy/PA)

Battaash had already won the Group Two event as a three-year-old and it was never really a debate that of all the tracks he ran at the Sussex Downs suited him best. The downhill section enabled him to hit top gear early in the race under little pressure, and it was a pace very few could live with. Despite conceding a Group One penalty he blitzed a good field by upwards of four lengths.

Nunthorpe Stakes 2019, York

Battaash was in a different league to his rivals on the Knavesmire
Battaash was in a different league to his rivals on the Knavesmire (Simon Cooper/PA)

Battaash had made the journey to York for the previous two seasons only to trail home in fourth on both occasions, so there were many suggesting the Knavesmire was not the place for Battaash. However, he was absolutely brilliant in laying the York ghost to rest, winning by almost four lengths. Conceding 15lb to the runner-up Soldier’s Call, Battaash cruised into the lead and looked in a different league to his rivals.

King’s Stand Stakes 2020, Ascot

Battaash strides out to claim his first Royal Ascot win
Battaash strides out to claim his first Royal Ascot win (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Just like he had done at York the previous season, Battaash conquered another of his unchartered waters at Royal Ascot. Twice second to Blue Point, with that one retired the coast was clear. He might have been helped by the fact there was no crowd there due to the pandemic, meaning he was calmer than normal pre-race – but there was to be no disputing his authority over the others, with stablemate Equilateral chasing him home.

Scurry Stakes 2017, Sandown

The race where it all started in earnest. After winning on his debut at two he disappointed at Ascot and was subsequently gelded due to his tendency to want to get on with things, but he was beaten three more times in his first season. He reappeared at Sandown unheralded, yet despite running keen early after missing the break, he showed a glimpse of the speed which was to define him for the rest of his career.

Maydanny confirms liking for Goodwood

Maydanny notched his second win at the Qatar Goodwood Festival with a facile success in the Unibet Golden Mile.

Mark Johnston’s charge won the 10-furlong handicap on the opening day of the meeting last season. He was due to defend his crown on Tuesday, but was withdrawn on account of the testing conditions.

With the ground having dried out since, the five-year-old was an 8-1 shot to open his account for the year in this £150,000 handicap and ultimately won with something to spare.

Always travelling well in the hands of Jim Crowley, Maydanny quickened through a gap on the far rail before kicking a length and three-quarters clear of David O’Meara’s Rhoscolyn, who finished strongly to beat stablemate Escobar to the runner-up spot.

Johnston said: “It’s great, it’s particularly special with that family, anything out of Attraction.

“He’s another horse we were very hesitant about this week with the soft ground, we weren’t sure if he could handle it but he’s done it really well, he obviously likes this track.

“Attraction herself was obviously very, very unique due to her action and she was particularly a fast ground horse, but that may have been more physical than in the genes.

“The common theme among the family is that they’re very strong and powerful and muscular horses, clearly some of her attitude comes through as she’s certainly one of the toughest I ever trained.

“We make no secret of the fact that it’s a special meeting for us, I’ve always said that Goodwood and Royal Ascot, we’ll pass easier races to have a go at a race here, which we wouldn’t do otherwise.

“He’s obviously gone back and forward between top handicaps and Group races, each time he wins a big handicap like this it means he’s less likely to run in one again.

“We’ve got no specific race marked out for him, but I’m sure he’ll be back in Pattern races.”

Calling The Wind won the opening race at Goodwood on Friday
Calling The Wind won the opening race at Goodwood on Friday (Francesca Altoft/PA)

Calling The Wind provided Richard Hughes with his first Glorious Goodwood victory as a trainer when triumphant in the Unibet 3 Boosts A Day Goodwood Handicap.

Hughes was prolific at the track as a jockey, taking the Sussex Stakes twice aboard Canford Cliffs and Toronado and also claiming the Nassau Stakes in 2012 with The Fugue.

A victory at Goodwood’s headline event as a trainer has been six years in the making and it was 8-1 chance Calling The Wind who obliged in Friday’s opening race under Pat Dobbs.

“It was brilliant,” Hughes said of the one-and-three-quarter-length success.

“I actually watched it on the owner’s phone, we were stood out the front and there was no big screen. I was tempted to run in but I said ‘what will be will be’, luckily he went well all the way round.”

Calling The Wind was second in the Queen Alexandra Stakes at Ascot on his last run, a performance that was his first foray into the staying ranks.

“I was confident after Ascot,” Hughes added.

“I thought if he could reproduce that, in the same conditions over two and a half miles, he’ll take all the beating.”

Asked where this victory ranked alongside his other Goodwood successes, Hughes said: “It’s probably right behind Canford Cliffs.

“Riding is easy, there’s more disappointments than winners here for sure.

“It’s so unique and the best horse doesn’t always win, tactically some jockeys can make better decisions than others, I just think it’s so exciting and it’s a beautiful setting.”

Ever Given was another winner for Danny Tudhope
Ever Given was another winner for Danny Tudhope (John Walton/PA)

Danny Tudhope made it three wins at the meeting when steering Ever Given home in the Unibet Deposit £10 Get £40 Bonus Nursery.

On the 4-1 favourite he had too many guns for top-weight Jadhlaan and Robjon.

With trainer Tom Dascombe an absentee, Tudhope said: “He’s a progressive two-year-old, who put the race to bed nicely. He’s better on this slower ground.

“It’s been a good week. One winner is always good, but to have three is a bonus.”

There was a royal winner to close the card as the Queen’s Wink Of An Eye (11-4 favourite) triumphed in the TDN Australia Handicap.

Trained by William Haggas and ridden by Ryan Moore, the three-year-old was caught in a three-way finish and eventually lunged into the lead just before crossing the line.

Haggas said: said: “Wink Of An Eye is getting better, which is amazing because last year he was hopeless. This year he has matured and doesn’t take much out of himself, which helps his progression.

“He’ll run in another handicap now. I think he’ll get a mile and a half no problem, but the Queen has another one with us that will run over that trip, so we will have to separate them.”

Baaeed blitzes Goodwood opposition

Baaeed continued his seemingly relentless march to the top with another brilliant victory in the Bonhams Thoroughbred Stakes at Goodwood.

The William Haggas-trained colt has made giant strides since making a winning debut at Leicester in early June, following up with a wide-margin novice win at Newmarket before successfully stepping up to Listed class in the Henry Cecil Stakes at the July meeting.

In theory this Group Three contest represented another hike in grade, but the son of Sea The Stars ultimately justified prohibitive odds in devastating style.

Jim Crowley was content to bide his time aboard the 2-5 favourite – and just had to give him a tap down the shoulder early in the straight to encourage him to close the gap on those in front of him.

But he soon came back on the bridle and after ranging alongside El Drama a furlong out, he scooted clear under to prevail by six and a half lengths without being fully extended.

A delighted Haggas said: “It was very impressive, I was thrilled because I wasn’t sure about the ground, but every time he runs he just keeps doing that, it’s fantastic.

“What he (Crowley) said was that he missed a loose shoe that came flying, that would have been interesting.

“Jim was very happy, we’re all soaking it up and enjoying it.

“I didn’t (see him as a miler) to start with, but I said to Jim and Angus (Gold) there, I can’t see any point in going up in trip from here at the moment. We’ll keep him at a mile, I don’t know where we’ll go.

“The three races he’s in are the Jacques le Marois, the Celebration Mile and the Moulin at Longchamp.

“I don’t suppose he can do all three, the Jacques le Marois might be a bit quick, it’s the 15th (of August) so it’s not very long.

“What they do at home is really not that relevant, it’s what they do on the racecourse.

“A lot of cricketers are good in the nets, but when they get out in the middle it’s a different story.

“He’s very good in the middle so we’ll just enjoy that and forget about him at home.”

Asked if he had been tempted to run in the Sussex Stakes, Haggas said: “Yes, but he wasn’t in it because when the Sussex Stakes closed he hadn’t run. Not many put an unraced horse in a Group One like that. We toyed with the idea of supplementing and I guess if this race hadn’t been here we’d have liked it more.

“But when the unscheduled rain came on Monday night I was very glad we hadn’t supplemented. I’m very happy to run him in a top-class race next time.”

Gold, long-standing racing manager for the late Sheikh Hamdan and his Shadwell operation, said: “I couldn’t see an awful lot. It looked like he got there very quickly when Jim asked him. He has a fantastic attitude and you’ve got to think he is a Group One horse.

“We all keep saying do we need to go up to 10 furlongs? Until he proves us wrong or gets caught out over a mile, what’s the point? He is very much a mile-and-a-half horse (on pedigree), but you just have to stand behind this horse and look at his quarters to see where his speed comes from. We are lucky to have him.

“Should we go Jacques le Marois? You’d love to end up at Ascot for the QEII, unless it is real bad ground. I have not asked William yet. There is not much else after the Marois until Ascot, so what do we do? Unless somebody says, ‘let’s try a mile and a quarter and go the Juddmonte’. But as I say I just can’t see the point at the moment.

“Nice problem to have – too much speed!”

Baaeed first, daylight second...
File photo dated 30-07-2021 of Baaeed ridden by Jim Crowley wins the Bonhams Thoroughbred Stakes during day four of the Goodwood Festival at Goodwood Racecourse, Chichester. Issue date: (enter date here). PA Photo. See PA story (enter Topic Keyword). Photo credit should read John Walton/PA Wire.

Crowley said: “Baaeed has an engine on him, hasn’t he?

“I was quite happy to sit where I was. I had a low draw, but I didn’t want to go up the inside and complicate it at Goodwood. I knew I had plenty of horse. He got into a nice rhythm and when I pulled him out, he was always going nicely.

“We had a few concerns about the good to soft ground as he has not gone on it before, but as you could see it was no problem.

“He is a proper horse. You would like to think that he is a Group One horse, but he’s got to go and do it.

“I don’t see any reason to step him up in trip at the moment. From a stallion’s point of view, you’d love him to win Groups One races over a mile, but I am sure at some stage he will go up in trip.”

Of the placed horses, Roger Varian said of El Drama: “It was a solid effort but we ran into one today. He’s getting better with every race, but the winner looks like a Group One horse.”

Sir Mark Todd added of third home Tasman Bay: “The aim was to give him a warm up today to put the final touches on him for France (Prix Guillaume d’Ornano, Deauville) in two weeks.

“To be now Group-placed over a mile is just great, we tried to stretch the winner but have been blown away.”

Zeyaadah back on track with Hoppings success

Zeyaadah put her Oaks disappointment behind her as she produced a telling late challenge to win the William Hill Hoppings Fillies’ Stakes at Newcastle.

Roger Varian’s Shadwell Estate filly could finish only a distant 13th of 14 behind the impressive Snowfall when sent off a single-figure price in the Epsom Classic at the start of this month.

But she put her career back on track in this Group Three, down to 10 furlongs on Newcastle’s Tapeta surface.

Jim Crowley held Zeyaadah up well towards the rear, and still had just one horse behind entering the straight. But she quickly made ground and overhauled eventual runner-up Technique in the final furlong to win more comfortably than the official margin of a head suggested – justifying her status as 15-8 favourite.

Crowley told Sky Sports Racing: “It just didn’t happen (for her at Epsom) – the rain tipped down that day, and she’s obviously a top-of-the-ground filly.

“She did win on it (heavy ground) one day at Newmarket, but I think she’s better on a better surface.

“Obviously today, I just had to sit a little bit. I was drawn eight, and didn’t really want to go three wide the whole way.

“They went a nice pace, and the horse in front was a nice target to aim at.

“She won pricking her ears. I thought she was going to go and win well, but she was probably just keeping a little bit up her sleeve as well.

“It’s a nice confidence-booster for her today, and I hope she’ll take a step forward again.”

Earlier on the card, Caspian Prince proved yet again that age is no barrier to him as he won the William Hill Gosforth Park Cup Handicap for the second successive year – at the age of 12.

Mick Appleby’s veteran sprinter showed his customary early dash, and the necessary determination too, to get to the front from the equally speedy Ornate and then hold off all challengers for a popular 12-1 victory under 3lb claimer Theodore Ladd.

Caspian Prince was winning for the second time in succession, and 23rd in all, on his 114th appearance – resisting the late thrust of May Sonic by a neck, with outsider Blue De Vega another three-quarters of a length back in third.

Ladd said: “It’s the biggest winner of my career so far.

“Last year, he actually sat second – which is unlike Caspian Prince. But that Ornate (third 12 months ago) has such early toe, so if you take each other on you burn each other out.

“Mick said to me ‘if that Ornate wants to go on, don’t get in a battle with him – and he’ll come home strong at the end’.

“I’m absolutely over the moon.

Stephen Louch, who co-owns Caspian Prince with Rutland trainer Appleby, added: “Words can’t describe him really – he’s taken us to some fantastic places.

“He’s 12 years old, and he’s still running like he’s four. He’s coming up against some cracking horses today – that was a really tough race.

“We won it last year. But to come back and win it twice, against good opposition and 12 years old, he is amazing.

“He just loves racing. A horse will fall out of love with racing at one point in his life – (but) he just seems to love it, and thrives on it.”

There was drama in the opening Three Mile Handicap, in which Ben Curtis suffered a suspected dislocated shoulder while riding a finish on Henry Spiller’s Crack Regiment.

The 5-1 shot collared favourite Tarroob to be first past the post by a head  – and he kept the race after a stewards’ inquiry, despite carrying the runner-up right in the closing stages with Curtis unable to take corrective action.

The winning jockey was clearly in pain and dismounted on pulling up, however, and had to give up his three remaining rides on the card.

Crowley chalks up Nottingham double for Shadwell

Jim Crowley took the riding honours at Nottingham with a double on Asadjumeirah and Taraashoq for his retained owners Shadwell Estate.

The former champion jockey had just one winner at Royal Ascot last week, compared to six in 2020, but his two at Colwick Park showed he has plenty of ammunition provided by Shadwell.

Both his winners gave the impression more success may well come their way.

Asadjumeirah (5-1) appreciated the step up to six furlongs to register a second career success in the Watch Irish Racing On RacingTV Handicap.

Taking on six older rivals, the Owen Burrows-trained three-year-old suggested he was on the upgrade with this victory on his third start this term.

Strongbowe, the 11-10 favourite and 2lb well in despite a 5lb penalty, could not get to the winner – who prevailed by half a length.

Crowley said: “Physically he has done well. I rode him here two runs ago (in April), and even between then and now he feels like he has done well.

“Last year he wasn’t much to sit on. He was a scrawny little thing, but he’s filling into a nice horse now. It was nice to get his head in front – the step up to six suited him. Before, he wasn’t strong enough to get home over six – but he is now.

“That was a good performance for him. He’s going in the right direction, and I hope he can continue to progress.”

Taraashoq could finish only fifth behind the exciting Baaeed, in the same colours, at Leicester on his reappearance – but he had no trouble in getting off the mark in the Bet At racingtv.com Novice Stakes.

Jim Crowley was in double-winning form at Nottingham
Jim Crowley was in double-winning form at Nottingham (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

William Haggas’ 9-4 favourite led a furlong out and galloped on strongly to hold Mo’assess by a length and a half.

Crowley said: “I was very pleased – they went a nice gallop.

“He was always doing enough – and he lost a front shoe, which probably didn’t help him. You can always tell when they lose a shoe. It’s like letting air out of a tyre.

“His pedigree says he’ll get a bit further, no problems. He looks a nice type of horse, and that race at Leicester looks good.

“I’ve not had chance to ride Baaeed this year. But he set some very good fractions at Newmarket last time, and he looks very exciting.”

South Audley (14-1) reaped the benefit of his racecourse experience to get off the mark on his third start in the racing.com Restricted Maiden Stakes.

South Audley after opening his account in a six-furlong maiden at Nottingham
South Audley after opening his account in a six-furlong maiden at Nottingham (Keith Hamer/PA)

The Richard Hannon-trained youngster made his debut early this month, and was then third at Lingfield 10 days ago.

He put that to good use to comfortably defeat 6-5 favourite Last Hoorah by two and a quarter lengths, in the hands of Pat Dobbs.

“It’s a big step forward from his first two runs,” said the winning jockey.

“He’s always shown a fair amount of ability at home. He’ll get better as he gets stronger. I don’t think he needs to go further.”

Injazati (6-4 favourite) confirmed the promise of his two previous runs to open his account in pleasing fashion in the racingtv.com Novice Stakes, under Louis Steward.

The Charlie Fellowes-trained colt was always close to the pace set by Diavolo,, before going on in the final furlong and scoring by a length and a quarter.

“He’s a horse I’ve held in high regard at home,” said Steward.

“He’s been working well, but it’s just been about of getting him to run his race the right way. He’s still very raw.

Injazati reurns to the winner's enclosure after his success in a 10-furlong novice stakes
Injazati reurns to the winner’s enclosure after his success in a 10-furlong novice stakes (Keith Hamer/PA)

“We didn’t go much of a gallop, and he was caught on heels a few times. When I pulled him out it took him half a furlong to get into top gear – but when he did, he really took off.”

Favourite backers were rewarded when Dickens was awarded the Racing TV Profits Returned To Racing Handicap following a stewards’ inquiry.

The 9-4 shot, trained by Alan King and ridden by David Probert, was beaten a nose by 28-1 outsider Muhalhel – but the officials deemed interference had taken place and reversed the placings.

Mulhalhel’s jockey Kieran O’Neill was banned for two days (July 8 and 11) for careless riding.

Tyler Heard was seen to good effect when taking the Farewell And Thank You Steve Jeffries Handicap on Boudica Bay (100-30 favourite) for trainer Eric Alston.

Steel An Icon (5-1) completed a four-timer in the Racing TV Extra ‘Hands N Heels’ Apprentice Handicap. He has provided winning jockey Rose Dawes with all three of her career victories so far.

Mohaafeth prevails in dramatic Hampton Court

Mohaafeth continued his rapid progression up the ranks when winning a dramatic running of the Hampton Court Stakes at Royal Ascot.

William Haggas’ charge was among the favourites for the Cazoo Derby earlier this month, but heavy rain on the Friday turned the ground softer than the trainer felt his charge wanted.

Having agonised over the decision to run, Haggas took him out just over an hour before the race and immediately nominated this contest as his alternative target – and from the point of view of connections the late switch was justified.

It turned into a messy contest, however, with Matchless, Movin Time and Snapraeterea all racing keenly in the early stages and Jim Crowley content to let them get on with it on Mohaafeth (11-8 favourite).

Haggas would have been delighted the forecast heavy rain overnight failed to materialise and Crowley moved his mount wide to challenge in the straight.

Unfortunately Mohaafeth then began to hang right handed towards the rail – while also quickening clear with Roman Empire – and although going clear of his only rival, the Frankel colt ended up drifting to his right and Ryan Moore had to stop riding briefly on Roman Empire.

The stewards inevitably had a look, leading to a tense wait for connections of Mohaafeth before he was confirmed the winner by a length and three-quarters.

Mohaafeth was clear at the line
Mohaafeth was clear at the line (David Davies/PA)

Haggas was delighted with the result, but was not getting too carried away.

He said: “He’s only up to Group Three from Listed, but he’s a pretty good horse.

“I think it probably didn’t go his way today. Jim was concerned about the horse of Roger Varian’s (Movin Time) who was up the front and he was quite far behind and he said, by his own admission, he’d gone a bit early, but the horse kept going, that’s the main thing.

“He did run across the track a bit, but he’s probably used up a lot of petrol getting there.”

Mohaafeth was immediately halved in price to 8-1 by Coral for next month’s Eclipse, but Haggas was in no rush to map out plans.

“I think if he’s going to go one way, he’ll go shorter not longer. I was always concerned about the trip in the Derby, but there is only one of them and then when it rained it became, for me, an easier decision not to run him. That’s history now, let’s move on.

“He’s won a Listed and a Group Three, he’s not tackled an older horse yet so he’s got a lot to prove, but I think he’s got some talent.

“I think he’s pretty good. I don’t make comparisons with others, but he’s a useful horse. He’s always been a nice horse and he’s bred to be a good horse. I thought he looked great today and he doesn’t look a stayer physically.

“He’s in the Eclipse, he’s in lots of things and will continue to be in lots of things and we’ll see where we go. That’s obviously the first target, if there is one, but it can’t be good to soft, soft or anything like that – he’s a quick ground horse.”

Al Aasy in cruise control – now Coronation Cup beckons

Al Aasy oozed class and is now a short price for the Coronation Cup following what amounted to a victory stroll in the Al Rayyan Stakes at Newbury.

Sent off the 10-11 favourite for the Group Three following a similarly impressive display in the John Porter earlier in the year, the four-year-old faced stiffer opposition this time.

Last year’s Dante winner Thunderous and 2019 St Leger winner Logician were among the opposition – but Jim Crowley did not move in the saddle as the William Haggas-trained colt breezed to a four-length success.

Thunderous chased him home, but the winning distance could easily have been doubled.

“He won very well. He settled well and won very well and I can’t really say more than that, as he looks like that at home – he’s a talented horse,” said Haggas, who has never hidden his admiration for his charge.

“He’s done well this year and we’ll find out in the Coronation Cup – as that is where he is going next – how good he is.

“They never get quick ground at Epsom and we’ve got one in the Derby (Mohaafeth) that needs it quick and it is bound to rain for him – if it does that will suit Al Aasy.

“He didn’t surprise me. We were really gutted with him in the Gordon Stakes last year, but that race was a mess and the ground was very quick.

“He’s talented and is in everything we could possibly put him in. We’ll put him in the Arc, but there’s a long way to go before then.

“I’d fancy coming back to 10 (furlongs) with him, but I’m not sure. He’s pretty good at a mile and a half and there are some pretty nice races at that trip, starting with Epsom and then Ascot in the summer (King George).

“If he’s going to run in the Arc he’ll need a break at some stage. I wasn’t going to run him today, I was going to go straight to Epsom, but he needed a race as he was too well.

“He’s got a long way to go, he’s won two Group Threes, but he’s a good horse.

“He’s a very enthusiastic horse, but the good thing is in both races this year he’s dropped the bridle. Jim is getting his confidence in him now which we’ve always had, but he – quite rightly – had lost a bit after Goodwood.”

Crowley was equally as impressed and said: “He’s a monster of a horse, I just had a double handful throughout.

“He’s a bit of a handful and I think that is why William wanted to give him another race, but he gave me a great ride – he sort of dragged me to the front.

“You don’t get many horses give you that sort of feel. He appreciated the cut in the ground, but hopefully he hasn’t stopped improving.

“We’ll see where we go from Epsom.”

Paddy Power initially cut Al Aasy into 2-1 (from 9-2) for the Coronation Cup, but were forced to go shorter still at 7-4.

Easy does it for classy Al Aasy

Al Aasy justified strong market confidence with an imperious display in the Dubai Duty Free Finest Surprise Stakes at Newbury.

The Group Three, registered as the John Porter Stakes, has been used by some smart types as a starting point in recent years, including subsequent Coronation Cup winner Defoe and a Melbourne Cup runner-up Marmelo.

It would be no surprise if Al Aasy (6-4 favourite) went on to prove himself every bit as good as those two, given the manner of this display.

Settled at the rear by Jim Crowley as Euchen Glen and Tyson Fury set the gallop, Al Aasy cruised into contention at the two-furlong pole.

Without A Fight briefly hit the front but before Andrea Atzeni had chance to think about winning, Crowley loomed up on his outside and quickened up impressively, going on to score by four and a half lengths.

The victory topped a great weekend for William Haggas, whose globetrotter Addeybb grabbed another Grade One in Australia on Saturday.

Assistant trainer Maureen Haggas said: “He was fresh today, he’s a bit of a character and needs racing to make him grow up. He was pretty much above himself today, but is visibly twice the horse to look at before he won over a mile and five.

“The plans are William’s department, but I think the Coronation Cup is an option.”

Mutasaabeq advertises Classic potential with Newmarket strike

Mutasaabeq emerged as a potential Classic contender after making an impressive start to his campaign at Newmarket.

A winner at the track on his sole juvenile start in October, the Charlie Hills-trained colt was a 7-2 chance on his return to the Rowley Mile for the bet365 British EBF Conditions Stakes.

Ridden by Jim Crowley, the son of Invincible Spirit – owned and bred by the late Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum – was sent straight to the lead and it was impossible not to be impressed by the way he extended six lengths clear at the line.

Hills said: “The way the track is and with the wind behind them, it is a bit of an advantage being in front. He has won on heavy ground, but he loved the ground today.

“We are always learning, but I think he is a very talented horse.”

Mutasaabeq is out of the top-class racemare Ghanaati, who won the 1000 Guineas in 2009 for the same connections.

Hills decided against entering Mutasaabeq for the 2000 Guineas on May 1, but did not rule out the possibility of supplementing the colt, with Betfair giving him a quote of 12-1.

Hills added: “We’ll discuss it with the management and discuss what’s best for the horse.

“We didn’t put him in the 2000 Guineas and we spoke about it at length as we were a little bit concerned temperament-wise, so we wanted to go down the soft route.

“We can have a discussion now about putting him in a race like that, but there are plenty of good races after – we could run him in a Listed race here and then go on to Royal Ascot, maybe.

“We are mindful it is a long season and there are plenty of good races we can aim for.”

Carolus Magnus stretches clear of his Newmarket rivals
Carolus Magnus stretches clear of his Newmarket rivals (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Andrew Balding’s Carolus Magnus confirmed debut promise with victory in the opening Alex Scott Maiden Stakes.

Third on his Doncaster debut a couple of weeks ago, the 11-2 chance opened his account with a near two-length verdict under Oisin Murphy.

“He has done really well as he had a pretty serious injury as a two-year-old. Very unusually, he split both front pasterns, so full credit to him – he has done amazingly well to come back,” said Balding.

“They are patient, understanding owners, Kennet Valley Thoroughbreds, and they always come up with good horses. It helped he knew what he was doing today, but he is a fair horse.

“He could go a mile, so we will look at our options and make a plan from there.”

Forca Brasil (purple) edges ahead
Forca Brasil (purple) edges ahead (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Murphy went on to complete a first and last race double aboard Arecibo (9-2), who made a successful first start for trainer Robert Cowell in the bet365.com Handicap.

Forca Brasil made a winning introduction for George Boughey in the bet365 British EBF Novice Stakes.

The 4-1 shot, who runs in the colours of football agent Kia Joorabchian’s Amo Racing Limited, was due to run in the Brocklesby Stakes at Doncaster, but had to be withdrawn on veterinary advice.

He proved his class at Newmarket, however – scoring by three-quarters of a length in the hands of Rossa Ryan to leave connections dreaming of Royal Ascot glory.

Joorabchian said: “Hopefully he will be a good horse and lead us into more fun things to come.

“It is still a little bit of a way to go to Ascot, but that is the aim and we are always trying to get there.”

Boughey added: “He has worked a few times here and it has been good.

“He looks a Norfolk horse probably, but he has done it nicely today.”

Overwrite (right) under Franny Norton
Overwrite (right) under Franny Norton (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Mark Johnston’s Overwrite (16-5) claimed a narrow verdict in the Pat Smullen Memorial Handicap under a power-packed ride from Franny Norton.

Charlie Johnston, assistant to his father, said: “That was top class from the jockey and it was a masterclass on how to ride this track. I think I knew from about 200 yards in that he was going to win.

“It was a good performance. He is probably the type to try to get high enough up in the weights to sneak into the Royal Hunt Cup.”

Of Smullen, Johnston added: “It is a very nice race to win for sure. He is not someone I knew particularly well, but he was obviously a very inspirational figure in the industry, particularly what he did in his later years in trying to do as much for the benefit of others when his time was coming.”

Double Or Bubble (15-2), not seen since scoring at Ascot in September, made a superb reappearance for Chris Wall in the Price Promise At bet365 Handicap, with Jack Mitchell the winning pilot.

Wall said: “Mix And Mingle (full sister) won this race, then she won the Chartwell at Lingfield and we thought that would be on the radar for Double Or Bubble.

“She is a bit more laidback than Mix And Mingle and she will probably get a mile, so the Conqueror Stakes at Goodwood on May 1 could be another option, but we will have to see how she takes the race.

“I thought she would run well as she has been working well. I didn’t quite expect her to do that, but you live in hope.”