Mohaather’s final flourish secures Sussex Stakes
Crowley praises trainer after shaking off Queen Anne blow Tregoning colt surges from last to shock Classic winners
Mohaather used a devastating turn of foot to put his team’s frustrations behind them and record a popular victory in the Qatar Sussex Stakes. Marcus Tregoning’s four-year old, who missed most of the Classic season with injury, had six rivals in front of him two furlongs out but Jim Crowley drew a superb finish from his ride at Goodwood.
Back in the mists of time, Marcus Tregoning’s forebears were tin miners from north Cornwall, but it was gold that the trainer found on top of the South Downs yesterday when Mohaather used a devastating turn of foot to overcome all sorts of problems in running to record a popular victory in the Qatar Sussex Stakes.
Billed as the race of the season so far, it did not disappoint and went a long way to sorting out the best miler. However, it was a slowly run, tactical affair early on. From three furlongs out, the gaps started tantalising Jim Crowley on the 3-1 shot, only to keep closing on him and two furlongs out Mohaather, having been shuffled to the back, still had all six rivals in front of him.
For Tregoning, it was uncomfortable viewing; like a recurring bad dream for the trainer, who had watched similar misfortune befall the colt in the Queen Anne at Royal Ascot.
But the lightly raced four-yearold, who missed most of his Classic season recovering from a condylar fracture of his off cannon bone, finally delivered on the promise he had shown in last year’s Greenham.
Pulled to the outside by Crowley, he showed a sprinter’s turn of foot to mow down his rivals. At the furlong pole, he was only just winding up and still had five in front of him, but he flew down the outside to beat the front-running Circus Maxihe
mus a cosy three parts of a length. A half-length back in third, Siskin, the Irish Guineas champion, won the battle of the three-year-old Classic winners, beating the 2,000 Guineas first Kameko by two lengths, although the latter, short of room inside the last furlong, was certainly unlucky not to be closer.
The way it panned out, being shuffled back to last and forced to play his cards late might have helped Crowley. Had he used up some of that acceleration to get through a gap, he might have got there too soon.
Besides it being popular, there was a touch of redemption about the victory. At one point, Tregoning was training 100 horses in Lambourn and won the 2006 Derby with Sir Percy. But seven years ago he moved to Whitsbury – where Mohaather’s sire, Showcasing, stands – with just 30 horses and only his head lad, head lad’s wife and David Crofts, a part of the Whitsbury furniture who led up Mohaather yesterday, as staff.
Ironically, Sir Percy was his last Group One winner, and though Tregoning joked afterwards that his wife and his dogs might find him a little less grumpy last night,
has never changed or become bitter at his change in circumstances. Sometimes it takes a good horse to remind people, however, that you can still do the job.
“It was a bit of a nightmare watching it,” he said. “But I knew if he got out he’d have the speed. He finds heaps under pressure and I couldn’t have been happier with him coming into the race.
“When Angus Gold [Sheikh Hamdan’s racing manager] showed me him at Tattersalls Book 2 sale as a yearling and said he wanted to buy into this particular family [the same family as his breeder Gaie Johnson Houghton’s Accidental Agent], I thought he was a bit small. But then I thought about Dominica, who was not an inch over 15 hands and won the King’s Stand for us – it’s not all about size.
“This is also very important for Showcasing. I hope they drop my rent and put up the stallion’s fees! I was assistant trainer to Dick Hern for 14 years and he loved Goodwood. That’s where I get it from. It’s very special. If you wanted to sell racing to a new owner, bring them to Goodwood.
“Of course I’d like a few more horses at this level, but there aren’t many about. But I’d like to run a few more here and not leave it all to John Gosden.”
Crowley, who is having his own golden season in Sheikh Hamdan’s colours, having won six races in them at Royal Ascot, said that two out his only option was to get on the back of Siskin down the outside and come late.
Recalling the disappointment of the Queen Anne, he said: “It ate away at me for a few days, so I was very happy to see him win the Summer Mile there for Dane [O’Neill]. I’d ridden work on him early on and had a feel like nothing else. He has so much pace you can see why we were contemplating sprinting with him. He’d definitely win over six furlongs.
“It’s special for Marcus. He’s a wonderful guy. He’s a great trainer, has a beautiful place and it’s nice to show with the right ammunition he can do the job.”
Out in front: Jim Crowley rides Mohaather (right) to victory in a dramatic finish to the Qatar Sussex Stakes on day two of the Goodwood Festival
Headline act: How Marcus Armytage flagged up Mohaather’s chances yesterday