Highlights from Goodwood and Galway

It was bittersweet to see Due Reward get pipped with only a matter of yards to go in the Galway Hurdle, as I’d quite liked him and he was given a peach of a front-running ride by Mark Enright.

One Cool Poet also won three times in six days for trainer Matthew Smith – a rare achievement that should be celebrated.

On the Sussex Downs, Stradivarius maintaining his winning streak and Too Darn Hot continuing Frankie Dettori’s phenomenal season were both nice narratives, but it was the victory for Khadijah Mellah on Haverland in the Magnolia Cup on Thursday that stands out the most.

She hadn’t sat on a racehorse before April, so to ride a winner of a race in August was amazing. The applause she returned to in the winners’ enclosure was outstanding and a real ‘I was there’ moment.

Is Khaadem really Group 1 quality?

Khaadem blew his rivals away in the Stewards’ Cup on Saturday, and certainly lived up to his billing as being a Group horse in a handicap.

Connections have outlined the Group 1 Sprint Cup as his next target, but I’m not so sure he’s up to that at this stage of his career.

It reminds me of Magical Memory, who won the same race as a three-year-old for the same trainer, Charlie Hills, before finishing a gallant third in the Sprint Cup.

Another place is probably the most they can hope should they follow the same path.

What about Battaash?


The same connections of Khaadem also have Battaash, who made light-work of the King George field at Goodwood.

All being well, his next race will be the Nunthorpe Stakes at York, but I’m not sure I’d want to be on his side, either.

I’ve got this thing about good horses getting beaten at York in August, having seen plenty of good things go there and get turned over when expected to win.

He’s fast, but I think there are other sprinters that are slightly more reliable, although I’d be happy to be proved wrong should he put up an incredible performance in a few weeks’ time.

Is Pinatubo a potential 2000 Guineas winner?

Pinatubo is the best two-year-old we’ve seen this side of the Irish sea, but I’d be surprised if Aidan O’Brien doesn’t have a whole heap of horses who will improve past him as a three-year-old.

He’s not the biggest and strikes me as more of sprinter, so I’d rather be backing him for the Commonwealth Cup at this stage.

Honourable mentions


Charlie Hills had a very good week with the horses mentioned above, but his two-year-old maiden winners both looked very smart.

Vividly obviously improved for her first run and wasn’t for catching on Thursday under a great ride from Kieran Shoemark. Persuasion, who won the maiden on Saturday, also looked very good and I’d be surprised if he doesn’t turn out to be Group class later in his career.

John Gosden seems to keep getting good horses has another talented filly in the making with Enbihaar, who won the Lillie Langtry in good style and will be of note wherever she goes next.

Ones to watch this week

The Shergar Cup fixture at Ascot is always entertaining as it brings some of the world’s best riding talent to the UK.

Last year, Betway Ambassador Andrew Balding saddled three winners on the card, so here’s hoping he can do the same again!

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