Muntahaa completes a special week for Gosden
MUNTAHAA led home stablemate Weekender to provide John Gosden with a one-two in the Sky Bet Ebor at York. It has been quite a week for the Clarehaven handler, having seen
Roaring Lion dominate his rivals in
Wednesday’s Juddmonte International before star stayer Stradivarius landed a £1million bonus with victory in the Lonsdale Cup on Friday.
He saddled two runners in yesterday’s £500,000 feature and both were to the fore as the field approached the final two furlongs.
Top-weight Weekender, ridden by
Frankie Dettori, committed for home early, briefly racing into a clear lead.
However, Muntahaa (11-1) could be spotted travelling ominously well in behind in the hands of Jim Crowley and he came home best to win decisively by three and a quarter lengths.
Irish challengers filled out the places, with Jarlath Fahey’s Sea The Lion third ahead of the Ger Lyons-trained Mustajeer in fourth. Willie Mullins saddled the first two in the betting, but both Whiskey Sour and particularly 3-1 favourite Stratum suffered troubled passages and never threatened to land telling blows.
Angus Gold, racing manager to Muntahaa’s owner Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, said: “His ability was never in doubt. It was just a case of getting him in good form mentally. John said to me last week he had never had this horse better.”
Asked whether a tilt at the Melbourne Cup could be considered, Gold added: “If entries haven’t closed yet, we’ll put him in. Whether he’d take to it mentally with the hustle and bustle, I don’t know.”
Former champion jockey Crowley said: “We could have had egg on our face. It was Mr Gosden’s plan to stay out wide because he’s quite a keen horse and he works very well on his own and he prefers to have his own space.
Meanwhile, Anthony Van Dyck is the star attraction in the Galileo Irish EBF Futurity Stakes at the Curragh today. Aidan O’Brien has saddled 11 previous winners of the prestigious juvenile prize, with Giant’s Causeway, Hawk Wing, Gleneagles and Churchill all on the roll of honour. Anthony Van Dyck appears the trainer’s chief hope this year under Ryan Moore, having followed up a runaway victory in a Killarney maiden with a dominant display in the Tyros Stakes at Leopardstown.
Seamie Heffernan takes the ride on dual winner Christmas, while Donnacha O’Brien partners the third Ballydoyle runner Mohawk, who was last seen winning at Cork in June.
Klute is an interesting contender for Jessica Harrington, having beaten a subsequent winner in Guaranteed when making a successful debut over this course and distance last month.
“He’s in good form and the form of his maiden has worked out well,” said Harrington. “We’ve been happy with him since and we’ ll find out where he stands in the pecking order.”
Jim Bolger’s Guaranteed renews rivalry with Klute. Like O’Brien, the Coolcullen handler also has a fine record in the Futurity, with St Jovite, Teofilo and New Approach among his six winners.
Patrick Prendergast’s Could Be King, who was third on his Leopardstown introduction, completes a six-strong field.