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Draw concerns for Balmoral hotpot Sunray Major

A high draw is a concern for connections after ante-post favourite Sunray Major just made the cut for the Balmoral Handicap at Ascot on Saturday.

The lightly-raced four-year-old – a half-brother to the brilliant Kingman – crept in at the bottom of the 20-runner maximum field, but looks to be positioned on the wrong side of the course in stall 21.

Even so, Sunray Major is a warm order for the one-mile cavalry charge after comfortably winning a seven-furlong handicap on this course two weeks ago. Frankie Dettori will again do the steering.

“He just managed to sneak in at the bottom there which is very fortunate. He needed that penalty to get in so it was a good job he won,” said Thady Gosden, who trains the son of Dubawi jointly with his father, John.

“He’s very well bred and we’ve always liked him, but we haven’t had the smoothest of times with him over the last two years.

“He’s in good form at the moment, but the draw can be important in a race like this. You normally want to be low, so I’m not sure how stall 21 will play out, stuck in the middle of the track. Hopefully, he can overcome that.”

The team at Clarehaven have two other strings to their bow, in King Leonidas and Magical Morning.

“King Leonidas has had his issues as well and is still lightly raced. He’s been improving and he should handle the ground fine,” Gosden added.

“Magical Morning has been running in the big handicaps through the year, winning one and finishing second in another. He’s a bit in and out, but he’s run two very good races this year.”

Aldaary (top left) bids to repeat this success over the course in the Balmoral Handicap
Aldaary (top left) bids to repeat this success over the course in the Balmoral Handicap (John Walton/PA)

William Haggas is triple handed with Aldaary, Montatham and Johan – but describes Sunray Major as “a certainty” after getting a run.

“I’d been desperately trying to knock John’s (Gosden) horse out, who I think is a certainty,” Haggas told Sky Sports Racing.

“Montatham and Johan have not got anything in hand weight-wise and Aldaary has got a 6lb penalty and he went up 5lb for a facile success at Ascot. He’s a lovely horse, but he’ll probably have too much weight. I think John’s horse is a good thing.”

Sir Busker, fourth in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes 12 months ago, drops into handicap company for the first time time this season.

The William Knight-trained five-year-old relishes the straight mile at Ascot and was third to Palace Pier in the Queen Anne Stakes at the Royal meeting this summer.

It is not surprising he has to give weight to all his rivals, but connections still expect him to put up a good show.

“We’re really looking forward to it. He’s obviously got a lot of weight to carry, but he’s a big horse and should be able to carry the weight,” Sam Hoskins, racing manager for owners Kennet Valley Thoroughbreds.

“He loves the straight course at Ascot. The ground is perfect and he’ll love the quick pace.

“Although it will be a stiff task trying to give a lot of weight to unexposed horses, this race will suit him better than some of the small runner-tactical races he’s been in. And obviously we’ve got Oisin (Murphy), who knows him so well.

“We did talk about the QEII again but it is a very strong race this year, so we’re going to try to win this race. He is a Group One horse in a handicap, but he has got a lot of weight.”

Dettori seeks Cambridgeshire vindication on Magical Morning

Frankie Dettori will have to wait and see if he made the right choice in opting to ride Magical Morning in the bet365 Cambridgeshire at Newmarket.

The Italian could have ridden fellow John and Thady Gosden inmate and ante-post favourite Uncle Bryn in Saturday’s big handicap feature, but instead plumped for Magical Morning – causing a reshuffle in the market following declarations.

Magical Morning is saddled with second top-weight of 9st 8lb following his narrow second to Cruyff Turn in a York handicap last month, and Thady Gosden has expressed a minor concern that the good to firm ground may not be ideal for the four-year-old.

He said: “Frankie has obviously ridden both horses plenty – it was up to him to decide, and in the end he went for Magical Morning.

“The ground might be on the quick side for Magical Morning, but hopefully he’ll handle it OK.”

Uncle Bryn will be ridden by Robert Havlin
Uncle Bryn will be ridden by Robert Havlin (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Uncle Bryn, who will be ridden by Robert Havlin, started the season as a Classic hope – but was gelded in May and returned to action with a front-running Ascot handicap success at the start of this month.

Gosden expects conditions to be in his favour, but would struggle to split the Clarehaven runners.

He added: “The ground should suit Uncle Bryn, I think.

“There’s probably not much between them. It just depends how it plays out on the day. Magical Morning has got plenty of weight as well, obviously.”

Astro King (second left) on his way to victory at Nottingham in April
Astro King (second left) on his way to victory at Nottingham in April (Tim Goode/PA)

Astro King is among the leading lights for Sir Michael Stoute after a season which has seen him turn in just one unplaced effort in five starts, when well down the field in the John Smith’s Cup at York.

The four-year-old had previously chased home Group Three winner Real World in the Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot and was last seen finishing third, beaten just a length by Magical Morning, at York last month.

Bruce Raymond, racing manager for owner Saeed Suhail, said: “He’s a horse that doesn’t show up much at home – he doesn’t do much, but his form on the racecourse is pretty good. He likes fast ground, so hopefully it stays fast.

“I think it’s the most difficult race to win, but hopefully he’s in with a good shout.

“You can’t say anything on his homework – but I think Sir Michael Stoute is very happy with his well-being, and he’s very fit.

“I think his last run was good form – he’s certainly better on a racecourse than at home.”

Astro King is in stall 17, and Raymond added: “I’ll let Ryan (Moore) worry about the draw – he’s the driver, we’re the engineer!”

Anmaat pictured before his Doncaster run
Anmaat pictured before his Doncaster run (Mike Egerton/PA)

Owen Burrows believes Anmaat has plenty in his favour as he bids to cap his season with victory in the ultra-competitive nine-furlong contest.

The three-year-old has won three of his five starts this term and is now rated 100, although he is able to race of 98 in this early-closing race.

That perch takes into account a 4lb penalty for winning at Doncaster last time out, beating the well-regarded Faisal by a length and three-quarters at the St Leger meeting.

Burrows is satisfied with Anmaat’s draw in stall 22, and expects the likely fast ground to suit the Awtaad gelding.

He said: “We’ve been very pleased with him since Doncaster. The ground looks like it’s drying out – it’s going to be on the fast side of good.

“I’m happy with where he’s drawn. He seems to have quite a few fancied horses drawn around him, which I think is important.

“We’re looking forward to running him.

“He’s a horse we’ve always liked. He won first time up this year at Lingfield, and then I thought he would go on from that. To be truthful, it just took a bit of time to find his level, but I think he’s improved from going up in trip.

“I think in general he’s improved – we seem to have found a bit of a key with him now, and hopefully that can continue tomorrow.”

Hollie Doyle will ride the well-backed Chichester
Hollie Doyle will ride the well-backed Chichester (Mike Egerton/PA)

Last week’s Ayr winner Chichester came in for a welter of support earlier in the week – and he will be ridden by Hollie Doyle for trainer Keith Dalgleish.

Saeed bin Suroor fields three for Godolphin, with the Marco Ghiani-ridden Long Tradition the shortest price as he is joined by Royal Marine – once a Group One-winning juvenile – and Bedouin’s Story.

Sunray Major set to run again this season

Sunray Major is likely to have a second run before the end of the current campaign following his successful return to action at Chelmsford.

As a half-brother to the brilliant miler Kingman, plenty was of course always expected of John and Thady Gosden’s Dubawi colt.

He could hardly have been more impressive on his racecourse debut at Newmarket in June of last year, but could then finish only fourth under a penalty a fortnight later on what proved to be his final start as a three-year-old.

Sunray Major returned from 15 months off the track in a minor event last week, and ultimately won comfortably in the hands of Frankie Dettori – suggesting he should be capable of stepping up in class.

“He’s obviously exceptionally well-bred and had a good bit of time off,” said Thady Gosden.

“He was a little bit rusty at Chelmsford, as you’d expect, but he did well to win.

“I’m sure the team at (owners) Juddmonte will assess it and work out where to go next. We’ll try and find something before the end of the season.

“Happily he is back, and has retained his ability so far.”

Dhabab primed for latest big-race opportunity

Dhabab gets a third opportunity to bid for Group-race honours in the Dubai Duty Free Mill Reef Stakes at Newbury on Saturday.

An impressive winner on his racecourse debut at Leicester in early June, John and Thady Gosden’s juvenile has since been sent off favourite for both the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot and the Superlative Stakes at Newmarket.

And while the son of No Nay Never came up short on both occasions, the form of his third-placed finish on the July Course could hardly have worked out better, particularly with the winner Native Trail following up in the Group One National Stakes at the Curragh last weekend.

Thady Gosden said: “The form of the Superlative has worked out very well, especially with Native Trail winning in Ireland the other day.

“He’s had a nice break since then and done well.

“He’s dropping back in trip, but he shows plenty of speed and showed a good turn of foot in the Superlative. I hope the drop back in trip shouldn’t be a problem.”

Richard Hannon has high hopes for Super Sprint winner Gubbass, who was last seen finishing fifth in the Prix Morny at Deauville.

Gubbass winning the Weatherbys Super Sprint at Newbury
Gubbass winning the Weatherbys Super Sprint at Newbury (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

He said: “He’s going on Saturday and we’re looking forward to it.

“Hopefully he goes there with a great chance. We’re very happy with him.”

The Kevin Ryan-trained Gis A Sub and Ed Bethell’s Fearby renew rivalry after finishing second and fourth respectively in the Gimcrack Stakes at York last month.

Bethell is hopeful his charge can turn that form around.

Fearby impressed in Sandown's Dragon Stakes
Fearby impressed in Sandown’s Dragon Stakes (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

“Fearby has run some great races this season, and it’s all systems go for this weekend,” said the Middleham-based trainer.

“He’s in good form at home and I’m really looking forward to running him.

“His Sandown win was his standout run of the season in terms of speed figures. I think he would have been a lot closer in the Gimcrack at York, but seemed to have a few gaps close in front of him.

“A flat six furlongs at Newbury should play into his hands and show him at his best.”

William Haggas is represented by Maglev, who was runner-up to subsequent Doncaster sale race winner Harrow in a York nursery on his latest appearance.

Haggas said: “He’s doing well and obviously the form of his York run was given a nice boost by the winner at Doncaster.

“He’s certainly entitled to have a shot at a race like this, I would think.”

Free Wind blows away Prix Minerve field

Free Wind completed a big-race double for the Gosden-Dettori combination at Deauville with an impressive display in the Prix Minerve.

Just over an hour after stable star Palace Pier had successfully defended his crown in the Prix Jacques le Marois, Free Wind was an 11-2 chance to bag Group Three honours over an extended mile and a half.

Runner-up in a Listed event at Newmarket on her latest appearance, the daughter of Galileo raised her game to go one better in some style under Frankie Dettori, proving a length and a half too strong for Andre Fabre’s 11-8 favourite Burgarita.

Thady Gosden, who trains Free Wind in partnership with his father John, told Sky Sports Racing: “She’s a filly that tries her heart out every time and she’s progressed well through the year.

“She was obviously second in a Listed race at Newmarket over a mile and a half last time and she’s improved again today.

“She stays a mile and a half well and we definitely wouldn’t be afraid of stepping her up to a mile and six (furlongs) later on in the year.

“There’s races back here over a mile and a half and one at the end of the year over a mile and six, so we’ll speak to Mr Strawbridge (owner) and see what he wants to do.

“Frankie gave her a brilliant ride, as he did in the last race. He’s in flying form, which always helps.”

Earlier in the afternoon Oneforthegutter came close to claiming the Group Three Circus Maximus Francois Boutin Stakes for Ian Williams and William Buick, but was beaten a head by Who Knows.

Indigo Girl targeting Valiant victory on seasonal bow

One-time Classic hope Indigo Girl is the star attraction in the British Racecourses Join Sunflower Lanyard Scheme Valiant Stakes at Ascot.

The daughter of Dubawi won two of her three starts as a juvenile last season, including an impressive Group Two triumph in the May Hill Stakes at Doncaster in September.

She met with defeat for the first time when runner-up to Pretty Gorgeous in the Fillies’ Mile at Newmarket the following month, but while the third home Mother Earth went on to win the 1000 Guineas this spring, Indigo Girl has not been seen in competitive action since.

John and Thady Gosden’s filly is one of two runners for prominent owner George Strawbridge in Friday’s Group Three feature along with Noel Meade’s Irish challenger Elysium.

The Belardo filly, who will be carrying the Strawbridge colours for the first time, also has to overcome a lengthy absence, having been off the track since winning the Group Three Weld Park Stakes at the Curragh last autumn.

Meade said: “She’s in good shape. We had kind of a miserable spring as she got a few little respiratory problems, which slowed her down.

“We struggled to get her right, but we think we’re nearly there now and we really hadn’t any place to start her (in Ireland).

“We wanted to start her in a Group race if possible and this looked the most suitable one. Her owner has another runner in it and she’s favourite, but that’s the way it goes.

“I’m hoping our filly will have a good run. She will improve for the run I’m sure.”

The biggest threat to the Strawbridge pair appears to be the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Lights On, who has won three of her four starts this season – most recently romping 10 lengths clear of her rivals in the Listed Pipalong Stakes at Pontefract.

Chris Richardson, managing director for owners Cheveley Park Stud, said: “We’ve been thrilled with her this year. She ran no race at Royal Ascot (eighth in Kensington Palace Stakes) because of the draw really.

“The ground is going to be different on Friday. A bit of juice in the ground might have been helpful, but it’s a logical race and we’ll see what happens.

“John and Thady Gosden’s filly was highly thought of last year, but our filly is in good form and has come out of her last race well.

“Hopefully they put a bit of water on.”

Palace Pier to miss Sussex Stakes

Palace Pier will miss next week’s Qatar Sussex Stakes at Goodwood following unsatisfactory blood results.

The Kingman colt is unbeaten in three starts this season – taking his Group One tally to four with top-level victories in the Lockinge at Newbury and the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot.

John and Thady Gosden’s stable star looked set for a mouth-watering clash with Jim Bolger’s 2000 Guineas and St James’s Palace Stakes winner Poetic Flare at Goodwood, but he has been ruled out of the summer showpiece meeting.

Thady Gosden said: “His bloods are off, and obviously it wouldn’t have been the right thing to do to try and push him into the Sussex.

“The next race that suits him is the Prix Jacques le Marois (at Deauville). We’ll have to miss Goodwood, which is frustrating.

“Hopefully we’ll take him to France. He obviously won the Jacques le Marois last year, so it’s a good back-up.”

Indie Angel heaven sent for Dettori in Duke of Cambridge

Frankie Dettori posted a landmark 75th Royal Ascot winner as John and Thady Gosden’s Indie Angel sprang a surprise in the Duke of Cambridge Stakes .

Dettori, striking for the second time for the Gosdens at this year’s meeting, bided his time on the 22-1 winner as Parent’s Prayer set out to make all and then Lady Bowthorpe made her bid for Group Two glory.

The Italian manoeuvred into position to challenge on the stands side, took over from eventual runner-up Lady Bowthorpe and had two and a half lengths to spare at the line – with favourite Queen Power staying on to take third, just another short head away.

Indie Angel, owned by Cheveley Park Stud, was overturning last month’s Newmarket form – having finished only fourth in the Dahlia Stakes behind both Lady Bowthorpe and Queen Power, over a furlong further than this.

“Everything fell right today,” Dettori said.

“She likes faster ground, cover, and she likes plenty of room – she got all three of those things.

“Well done to the Gosden team, the Clarehaven team.”

Gosden said: “In fairness she won very well last backend, it went a little wrong and I probably ran her before she had come to herself in the spring and she had a little complication in her last race. But we knew she could be competitive with the top fillies – (but) to say that she’d win by two and a half lengths? No, that would have been wishful thinking.

“She relaxed beautifully and she’s bloomed. She looked a different filly today than when we last ran her back in May.

“You’ve got to be looking forwards. She’s now won a Group Two so maybe you start trying to climb even higher up the ladder. We won it last year (with Nazeef) and there are nice races like the Sun Chariot and the nice fillies’ race (Falmouth) at the July meeting for her, so those are possibilities.

“Right now, we’re savouring this moment.”

Frankie Dettori celebrates
Frankie Dettori celebrates (Steven Paston/PA)

Of Lady Bowthorpe, trainer William Jarvis said: “All credit to the winner who was very impressive, but I feel easier ground would have suited us better.

“When a filly is running as well as she is my inclination is not to give her a break. She’s in the Falmouth, but ideally I would love her to try at a mile and a quarter on decent ground in the Nassau (at Goodwood), with the Sun Chariot a possibility longer term.”

Sir Michael Stoute added of Queen Power: “She’s a model of consistency, that’s for sure, and I guess the trip was a little short of her best.”

Palace Pier preps for Lockinge date with Sandown outing

Palace Pier is the star attraction in the bet365 Mile at Sandown on Friday.

A dual winner at the Esher venue as a juvenile, the Kingman colt made his mark at the highest level last season with Group One victories in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot and the Prix Jacques le Marois at Deauville.

He met with defeat for the first time when only third behind French ace The Revenant on his final start of 2020 in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot, but will be widely expected to make a successful return to action for the father-son team of John and Thady Gosden.

Thady Gosden said: “The plan was to go straight to the Lockinge (at Newbury), but we have decided to give Palace Pier a run at Sandown as he seems quite fresh at home.

“He started life off last season in a handicap at Newcastle and ended up winning two Group Ones, so he did well throughout the season, but he had previously shown some good form as a juvenile.

“He lost a shoe coming out of the gate at Ascot on Champions Day. Although he had won on soft ground, the ground at Ascot was bottomless and it was a bit too deep – finishing third was a credit to him.

“He has been working nicely, he appears to be enjoying himself and seems to have improved from three to four.

“I’m sure there will be some nice three-year-old milers emerge, but hopefully he can be among the best of the older ones.”

Palace Pier’s biggest threat appears to be the Roger Varian-trained Khuzaam.

A gelding operation during the off-season appears to have done the trick for the five-year-old, who was thoroughly impressive on All-Weather Championships Finals Day at Lingfield three weeks ago.

Angus Gold, racing manager for the late Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum’s Shadwell operation, said: “Taking on Palace Pier is certainly no easy task, but it will tell us where we are with the horse.

“He’s gone the right way. We gelded him at the end of last year and he has come out and won well twice.

Khuzaam on his way to victory at Lingfield
Khuzaam on his way to victory at Lingfield (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

“We want to see where he fits in by running him on Friday.”

Andrew Balding’s Happy Power, who won in Group Three and Group Two company last term, steps up in distance after finishing ninth in the Qipco British Champions Sprint when last seen.

David Simcock’s Bless Him completes the line-up.

Megallan on top in Burradon Stakes

John and Thady Gosden’s impressive start to their new arrangement was given another boost by the victory of Megallan in the Listed Burradon Stakes at Newcastle.

Highly tried after winning on his debut last season, Megallan ended his campaign in the Futurity Trophy at Doncaster.

He got bogged down in the heavy ground on that occasion, but was better judged on his fourth to One Ruler in the Autumn Stakes – and the Gosdens are clearly keen to crack on with him this year.

Out early for the Spring Cup over an inadequate seven furlongs at Lingfield where he was a fast-finishing second, he was back over a straight mile on the Tapeta this time.

His presence scared plenty of the potential opposition away – with only three taking him on, but they included Roger Varian’s lightly-raced Legion Of Honour.

The pair had it between themselves for the last two furlongs – and while Andrea Atzeni briefly looked to be going better on Legion Of Honour, Megallan’s depth of experience told close home.

Robert Havlin always looked as if he held the upper hand, and in the final 100 yards Megallan (4-6 favourite) began to pull away to win by half-a-length.

Havlin said: “He ran over seven (furlongs) at Lingfield – which we knew was going to be a bit sharp for him, but it sharpened him up mentally.

“That showed today, and I think you have to give him a lot of credit.

“Last year he was a bit too keen in heavy ground at Doncaster in the Futurity Trophy, but I think he’s grown up a lot. I ride him a bit myself at home, and he’s come on a lot.

“I think he’s better than this (class). It was a good old ding-dong battle with the second, but he was going away at the line.

“I wouldn’t rule him out going over a mile-and-a-quarter later in the season, because his mind is much better now – he used to be really racy.

“He might end up in something like the Feilden Stakes at Newmarket over a mile-and-one (furlong) – that could be an option.”

Paddy Power cut the winner to 20-1 from 33-1 for the 2000 Guineas, while the runner-up is now 25-1 from 50-1.

Mishriff and Lord North thrill Gosden on day to remember

Mishriff and Lord North are to be freshened up for major engagements this summer after they headlined a super Saturday for John and Thady Gosden on their first weekend with a joint licence.

The father and son team not only scooped two of the top prizes at Meydan, but took the Lincoln at Doncaster with Haqeeqy and had a double at Kempton through Otyrar and Global Giant.

The two heads of Clarehaven Stables in Newmarket had the perfect lift-off on Friday when Regent, their first official runner together, won at Lingfield.

Gosden reflected on a remarkable Saturday.

Mishriff proved his class in the Dubai Sheema Classic
Mishriff proved his class in the Dubai Sheema Classic (Dubai Racing Club/Mathea Kelley)

“It was an extraordinary day. A tremendous amount of work and planning had gone into it with all our team here at Clarehaven Stables and sometimes it comes off,” he told Racing TV’s Luck On Sunday programme.

He was delighted with the two high-profile winners in Meydan, where Lord North took the Dubai Turf and Mishriff backed up his Saudi Cup triumph in the Dubai Sheema Classic.

“Lord North showed his class. In the Prince of Wales’s Stakes last year he scooted away from them. He’s a grand horse with a wonderful attitude,” said Gosden.

“I think he’ll go back for the Prince of Wales’s Stakes again (at Royal Ascot). We’ll freshen him up now for the summer.”

Mishriff could be set for a busy summer campaign, after a well-deserved break.

Lord North was brilliant in the Dubai Turf
Lord North was brilliant in the Dubai Turf (Mathea Kelley/Dubai Racing Club)

“I will discuss it with Prince Faisal, but it was always the plan to see if he could be an Arc horse and I think he proved he gets the mile and a half,” said Gosden.

“They went quick to the bend, then they slowed it up and he finished well, so I think he’ll freshen for the summer.

“My feeling would be races like the Eclipse, the Juddmonte International, the Arc and the King George. Those are the races to be looking at and seeing where we are at the time.

“That’s a long way off. He deserves a pretty good holiday.”

However, Gosden is not keen on going for the Breeders’ Cup Classic on dirt in Del Mar as he feels the course would not suit Mishriff.

“Having had a lot of success at Del Mar over the years I do know that straight very well and I always feel they should pick up the finishing wire and move it another 100 yards down,” he said.

“It’s a very short straight and a different style of racing. You’ve got to have real tactical speed and you ping off the bend. This is a horse who enjoys the length of the straight. I don’t think it’s going to suit him.”

Young apprentice Benoit De La Sayette shone aboard Haqeeqy in the Lincoln
Young apprentice Benoit De La Sayette shone aboard Haqeeqy in the Lincoln (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Closer to home, a new star was born when 7lb-claiming apprentice Benoit De La Sayette, 18, partnered Haqeeqy to an emotional victory in the Unibet Lincoln at Doncaster in the colours of Hissa Hamdan Al Maktoum, daughter of Shekih Hamdan who died earlier in the week.

“Frankie Dettori is a friend of the De La Sayette family and it was he who asked if their son could join the Clarehaven team. It evolved through Frankie and his father being good friends,” said Gosden.

“Frankie asked if he could come to us and he’s a pleasure to work with. He’s work riding and he’s been with us some time riding during school holidays. He’s exceptionally talented.

“I don’t like to see apprentices rushed. We’ll try to manage it very carefully and do what’s right and prudent for a young jockey who’s hopefully got a long career ahead of him, but he certainly won’t be riding left, right and centre every day and burning himself out by August.

“His parents have been so much part of this They have taken him to England, France, pony racing. They taught him everything. He’s just a natural.”

Thady Gosden was on duty for the team in Dubai and is jetting to Florida with a view to adding to the stable.

Thady Gosden is a key part of the training operation with his father
Thady Gosden is a key part of the training operation with his father (Julian Finney/PA)

“He’s going to Florida for the two-year-olds in training sales,” said Gosden senior.

“He’s going to look at some horses at the sales here there. He says he’s got a client. Who knows, he’ll be taking over soon.

“You couldn’t have choreographed it. It was meant to be January 1, but with the modules that got put behind by Covid so it’s happened by the beginning of the turf season which is great.

“We didn’t quite plan this. It came to fruition, but if we had won of those races we’d have been overjoyed. They are very hard to win.”

Magical Mishriff digs deep in Sheema Classic

Mishriff delivered another brilliant performance to win the Longines Dubai Sheema Classic at Meydan.

John Gosden’s colt, already a winner of the world’s richest race in the Saudi Cup at Riyadh last month, displayed versatility as well as the highest class by switching back to turf here and winning on his first attempt at a mile and a half.

Mishriff had to do it the hard way too, challenging down the outside after being last of the nine-strong field exiting the back straight, and then proving his stamina as well as his acceleration to hold off two Japanese challengers Chrono Genesis and Loves Only You in a driving finish.

For Gosden, and son Thady who now shares their British trainer’s licence, it was a second big win in under an hour on the Dubai World Cup card – following Lord North’s success in the Turf.

Mishriff, who won at 4-1, had a neck to spare from Chrono Genesis at the line, with Loves Only You and Oisin Murphy another neck back in third.

Gosden junior was quick to pay tribute to winning rider David Egan.

He said: “They were two absolutely flawless rides (here and Saudi) from David – brilliant.

“It sounds sycophantic when you’re sitting next to him. But he obviously made a decision, when he didn’t break as well from that draw, to drop him in. You have to have a pretty cool head to be able to do that in that race.

“Over a mile and a half for the first time, if you try to send him to the lead to get him up there, there’s a pretty significant risk you’re going to end up setting him alight – and the race would be over before it really started.

“So David obviously made the correct decision to drop him in and switch him off and strike when he did.

“He’s a very versatile horse, and a brilliant and tough horse as well – and he definitely wasn’t for beating today.

“We’ll take him home and see how he is, and he’ll tell us what he’d like to do in the very near future.”

Put to him that the yard is in great form since the training link with this father was made official, Gosden smiled: “It’s a wonderful start.

“I think I’ll probably have to retire now!”

Egan is enjoying every moment with the Prince Faisal-owned Mishriff.

He said: “I was able to get a pitch at the back of the pack. I didn’t bounce him out of the gates, like I did in Saudi. I did more of the complete opposite – I was very relaxed going out.

“He jumped slowly, which was ideal, and I was able to slot across and have someone on my inside and get a smooth run up the middle of the track.

“He showed a good turn of foot to cruise up there from that position. I thought he was really tough in the last 100 yards – another horse could have easily thrown in the towel. He showed a lot of grit and just about got the mile and a half.”

He added: “I’m just thankful to everyone around me for putting me in the position to be able to ride such a champion in Mishriff.

“He’s so versatile – he can run over any trip on any surface. Any trip for Mishriff, he’s taken it all in his stride. So we’ll take on any trip, and any horse.

“Coming off the Saudi Cup win, maybe some would say the pressure was more immense (for me) – because he had more of a chance and he’s stepping up against top-class horses here.

“But I felt pretty cool – which I probably needed to be, to get him to relax and switch off in the first half of the race.”

Lord North rules for Dettori in Dubai Turf

John Gosden’s Lord North produced an irresistible surge down the outside to deliver a famous victory for Frankie Dettori in the Dubai Turf.

Lord North, an impressive winner of the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot in the summer, struck from well off the pace but was dominant in the final furlong of the Meydan straight.

Dettori, riding ostensibly for the new joint licence holders of Gosden and his son Thady but with the former’s name exclusively on the racecard as trainer in Dubai, was content to sit well behind the lead early on.

Once he asked Lord North to pick up the pacesetters, it was game over – and the 6-4 favourite was three lengths clear at the line, from Japan’s Vin De Garde, with Felix staying on into third for Oisin Murphy and Newmarket trainer Marco Botti.

Dettori said: “It was a nice pace. I followed William’s horse (William Buick, on Al Suhail). I had plenty of horse, and I know he stays really well.

“So I kicked him early, and he flew. I didn’t do much else after that – he did the rest.

“He was a handful in the early days, so he was gelded. He’s much more focused now, and he’s done nothing wrong.

“He’s a horse to go to war with in all the big races this year. Let’s try the Prince of Wales’s again … but I’m sure Mr Gosden will have a plan, and we’ll have lots of fun.”

The Italian added of his successful spell back in Dubai during the winter: “It’s not been so bad, has it?

“I love it – coming back to where I started years ago. Twenty-five years of the World Cup, and I think I’ve been at most of them – they have been tremendous memories.

“Long may it continue.”

Thady Gosden said: “He ran very, very well over a mile and a half (in the Breeders’ Cup Turf). (But) the drop down in trip definitely helped him.

“He was ridden similarly to Mishriff, sitting out the back and sent round the bend – and he picked up very well in the straight.

“He showed plenty of speed. As he’s got older, he’s got stronger, and he was fresh and well over here. He really loves his racing – you can see that enthusiasm when he attacks the ground.

“We’ll get him home and see how he takes the race. There’s a little bit of time to Royal Ascot still – so depending on what he tells us, he could have a run before or go straight to something like the Prince of Wales’s.

John and Thady Gosden team up to share training licence

Thady Gosden is looking forward to “exciting times” ahead after confirming he is set to hold a joint-licence with his father and multiple champion trainer John from the start of the new Flat turf season.

The father-and-son team will become the highest-profile partnership yet, since joint-licence arrangements were introduced last year.

Among those to have joined forces already are two other father-and-son partnerships in Simon and Ed Crisford and Paul and Oliver Cole – who consolidated their new licence quickly with a piece of turf history when they triumphed at Royal Ascot with Highland Chief.

The Gosdens’ new licence should be officially in place by the end of this month, with British Horseracing Authority administration expected to be complete in time for the start of the new season at Doncaster on March 27.

Mishriff is one of the superstars at the Gosden yard in Newmarket
Mishriff is one of the superstars at the Gosden yard in Newmarket (Edward Whitaker/PA)

Thady Gosden said: “It’s exciting times, definitely.

“The plan was to have it done a little bit earlier, but it’s taken slightly longer than we previously thought – getting all the paperwork in place.”

He is a regular on-course representative already for his father’s famous Clarehaven yard in Newmarket, as assistant trainer – including in Riyadh last month when Mishriff won the world’s richest race, the Saudi Cup.

Gosden, trainer of a string of equine superstars such as dual Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe heroine Enable over the past decade, won his latest trainers’ title in 2020.

He will be 70 this month, but his son said: “Things aren’t going to change dramatically.

“We’ll carry on as we are mostly, but it’s good to have it in place for the season coming up.”