It would be a bit churlish to deny Sheikh Joaan al-Thani the pleasure of a winner at the rebranded Qatar Glorious Goodwood festival after the millions he has stumped up in the new 10-year sponsorship deal and it turned out to be a dream start for his whole enterprise as Galileo Gold, a colt he bought only this month, carried his Al Shaqab Racing colours home in front in the Group Two Vintage Stakes.
In terms of timing, he and his racing manager Harry Herbert could not have pulled off a neater trick, although trainer Hugo Palmer was not quite so well organised, choosing this week to laze on a Turkish beach on his honeymoon instead.
In truth, Palmer’s team is running quite nicely on automatic pilot at the moment, this win the latest in a wonderful run of high-profile midsummer victories that have included Group wins for New Providence and Home Of The Brave and a first classic triumph, the Irish Oaks, with Covert Love.
“Sheikh Joaan saw him [Galileo Gold] win last time at Haydock and he wasn’t just looking for a sharp horse; you just have to look at him, he has size and scope,” Herbert said. “He can only get better and I would imagine races like the Dewhurst would definitely be on the agenda.”
Three previous winners of the Vintage Stakes, Troy, Dr Devious and Sir Percy, went on to capture the Derby the following year, but it is something of a long shot that Galileo Gold will become a fourth, partly because his breeding suggests he is likely to fare best at shorter distances than 12 furlongs. “He could get a mile and a quarter next year and then we’ll take it from there,” added Herbert.
This was a messy affair, too, slowly run with the inevitable traffic problems, and the form probably does not amount to a great deal in Group Two terms. Having said that, Galileo Gold showed a smart turn of foot under Frankie Dettori to settle matters and has the physical range to improve further; bookmakers were not overreacting by cutting his odds for next year’s 2,000 Guineas to 33-1 – a follow-up last achieved by Mister Baileys in 1994.
Toormore, having his first run for Godolphin, paid a compliment to Solow, as if he needs one, ahead of the French grey’s assault on Wednesday’s Sussex Stakes, when grinding out victory in the seven-furlong Lennox Stakes.
Two years ago Toormore won the Vintage Stakes and ended the season as the champion juvenile, but he has become frustrating, seven defeats in a row before their revival here, admittedly all at Group One or Two level, most recently when fourth to Solow at Royal Ascot.
“He needed that and he chose the right day to do it,” said trainer Richard Hannon. “They all came at him and he could easily have chucked it in, but he didn’t.
“It’s a big thing for these horses to get confidence and it makes us think he needs to go back to a mile. Now he can go to the Prix Jacques Le Marois [at Deauville next month] with a great chance.”
Sheikh Mohammed Obaid al-Maktoum delivered a public vote of confidence to his retained rider Adam Kirby – replaced on last Saturday’s King George and Queen Elizabeth Stakes winner Postponed by Andrea Atzeni – after the pair successfully teamed up with Mount Logan in the opener.
Kirby was ‘jocked off’ at Ascot in the wake of accusations of “foul riding” on the same horse by John Gosden, the trainer of rival Eagle Top, at the Royal meeting last month.
But the Sheikh insisted: “I have never lost faith in Adam. It is only that he could not have luck on Postponed. It was only one horse – that’s all – because all of my horses will be ridden by him. If I had something against Adam, you would have seen me taking the job off him.”
Kirby, naturally enough, has mixed feelings about the whole affair. “I was delighted for Postponed, who deserved to pick up a big one, and for the boss [Luca Cumani], the owner and the whole team,” he said. “But obviously I felt a bit of a niggle.”
Cumani later confirmed that Postponed will have a short break now before returning for the Prix Foy at Longchamp in September. He will then go back to the same course the following month for his principal objective, the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.Reuse content