John and Thady Gosden’s Courage Mon Ami will look to put Goodwood defeat behind him in the Weatherbys Hamilton Lonsdale Cup at York.
The gelding was the hero of the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot in June, beating 11 rivals to score by three-quarters of a length from Andrew Balding’s Coltrane.
Both horses headed next to the South Downs for the Goodwood Cup, where Hughie Morrison’s Quickthorn galloped into an unassailable lead and prevailed by sixth lengths, with Courage Mon Ami unplaced in the trailing pack having started as the 2-1 favourite.
Despite suffering the first defeat of his career, the performance does leave the horse fresher than he would have been otherwise as he looks to get back to winning ways on the Knavesmire.
John Gosden said: “We all know the Goodwood Cup was an interestingly different sort of race and not dissimilar to the Lonsdale last year, really.
“He came out of it well. He didn’t have much of a race.
“He couldn’t get a run and then when he did get a run, the race was over. So, he had what I call a nice racecourse gallop, really!
“We’d like to run there (York) and then after that wait for the Prix du Cadran on Arc weekend.”
As referred to by Gosden, Quickthorn employed similar tactics in this race last season and was successful by 14 lengths under Tom Marquand.
The same jockey will take the ride again this time as the duo look to retain their title for owner-breeder Lady Blyth.
“He’s a fantastic horse, obviously. He’d already done it in the Prix Maurice de Nieuil in France when he did it in the Lonsdale Cup last year, but Goodwood was still a bit surreal,” Marquand said.
“In the Lonsdale he pretty much ran away with me if I’m honest. I was going to make the running, but I didn’t intend to go that fast and he was doing too much really. But he’s a lot more measured now and at Goodwood he never felt as though he was going that quick. He was always comfortable and he was able to fill up where he needed to, whereas at York he was always tanking.”
He added: “Everyone thinks they know what we are going to do and I don’t suppose we’ll stray too far away from what works, but I think it would be silly for anyone to think that it’s just a case of taking him on to get him beat, because he’s won races after taking a lead as well.
“Hughie has done an amazing job having Quickthorn right on the day so far, and he’s no one-trick pony. Far from it. He doesn’t have to make the running, so long as he finds a rhythm and is in his comfort zone, and he only has to beat horses he has beaten before.”
Marco Botti’s Giavellotto also brings course form to the race having landed the Yorkshire Cup over a lesser trip in May.
The chestnut also went for the Goodwood Cup next but he too was victim to Quickthorn’s tearaway tactics and he finished fifth, though only narrowly behind the second-placed horse as he was prominent in the chasing pack.
Botti said: “He’s in good form, the ground should be good to firm, it should be quicker than the ground he ran on at Goodwood – which was on the easy side.
“He’s well, he won at York and the main players have been declared, so it looks a tough race but he seems in good order and he’s only run three times this year so he is relatively fresh. We’re looking forward to it.
“That was a funny race to watch (Goodwood Cup), but he ran well and wasn’t beaten far where he was. The track and the ground will be more to his liking at York than they were at Goodwood.
“Hopefully this time the jockeys will be more alert and understand he’s (Quickthorn) a horse you can’t just give a big advantage to, he doesn’t stop, he just keeps going.
“There’s only seven runners, ideally we want to be somewhere in the middle and just get a lead. I will leave it to Andrea (Atzeni), he knows the horse well and gets on with him.”
Coltrane and Nate The Great represent Andrew Balding, while Aidan O’Brien’s internationally-campaigned seven-year-old, Broome also features.
The field is completed by Ralph Beckett’s River Of Stars, the only filly entered and the winner of the Bronte Cup at York earlier in the year.