Sussex Stakes: Mohaather ‘could have won much easier’ while Murphy says ‘jockey error’ cost Kameko

By Nicholas Godfrey

So you know Mohaather captured the Qatar Sussex Stakes with an electrifying turn of foot in a thrilling race at Goodwood on Wednesday. In fact, you’ve probably seen the race – but here’s some other stuff you might also like to know.

What’s going on?

Mohaather ‘could’ve won much easier’

Mohaather’s brilliant turn of foot got him out of a spot of bother before he overwhelmed his Sussex Stakes rivals – and he did not win as easily as he might have done, according to trainer Marcus Tregoning.

“It was a tactical race and he struggled to get out,” he said. “He is not the biggest horse and he struggled to find a gap, but Jim kept his calm and with the knowledge that he has that massive kick.

Horse Racing Mohaather Sussex Stakes Jim Crowley Goodwood
Mohaather (Jim Crowley): overwhelms rivals to win the Qatar Sussex Stakes at Goodwood. Photo: Racenews

“It was a little bit of a nightmare to watch, but I knew if Mohaather got out, he would have the speed; he has got a very good turn of foot, as you can see. He could’ve won here much easier if he had the chance to, but that’s tactics.

“I thought he would win. All the indications were that we had him right, and he has done nothing but please me.”

Kameko: ‘jockey error’ says contrite Oisin Murphy

Champion jockey Oisin Murphy was hard on himself – perhaps overly hard – regarding Kameko’s troubled passage in the Goodwood straight, where he could not get a run before finishing fourth.

“I couldn’t find any room and I thought the best horse didn’t win on the day,” he said, speaking frankly on ITV Racing.

“Unfortunately these things happen sometimes and it’s jockey error,” he went on. “Apologies to his connections. A lot of hard work goes into preparing these horses and nobody wants hard-luck stories.”

Marcus Tregoning: long time between drinks

Mohaather’s sensational Sussex Stakes success was Marcus Tregoning’s first G1 triumph for 14 years since Sir Percy won the Derby at Epsom in 2006.

The popular trainer, who turns 61 on Friday [July 31] moved to Whitsbury Manor from Lambourn in 2013, since when Mohaather has provided every one of Tregoning’s four Group-race wins; otherwise, his most recent Group success came via Hawaafez in the G3 Cumberland Lodge Stakes in October 2012.

“I have had to wait a long time for this, but quite honestly we didn’t have the horses,” he said. “Having always been lucky enough to train more than 100 horses, I started again with 30 or so. It was like starting from the beginning. Luckily, Sheikh Hamdan supported me very well.”

Breeders’ Cup: win and you’re in – or maybe just get placed!

The Sussex Stakes is part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge offering the winner an automatic fees-paid berth in the Breeders’ Cup Mile at Keeneland on November 7. 

Mohaather was cut to 5-1 (from 10) for that race by Paddy Power. “The Breeders’ Cup Mile is a possibility,” said Marcus Tregoning. “We know one thing – tactical speed round those tighter tracks is what you have to have.”

Circus Maximus, Sussex Stakes runner-up for the second year in a row, was fourth at last year’s Breeders’ Cup, while the Mile was also mentioned as a target for third-placed Siskin.

Mohaather was ‘a tiny little thing’

Marcus Tregoning gave credit to Sheikh Hamdan’s racing manager Angus Gold for finding the Sussex Stakes winner. “Angus Gold sourced the horse for Sheikh Hamdan at Tattersalls Book Two, and sent me to look at him,” he explained. 

“He was a tiny little thing, but he came from a very stout family, and Angus was quite insistent we got into it if we possibly could, if I could stand the look of the yearling.

“He has done nothing but thrive, and I should have known better because I trained a filly called Dominica, who wasn’t even 15hh, to win the King’s Stand Stakes, so it isn’t always about big horses.

“He is a lovely-looking horse and I thought in the paddock he had a lot of quality – I know I train him, but he had more quality than the others. He is a beautiful horse and we are so lucky to have him.”

Jim Crowley: Mohaather ‘would definitely win over six’

Horse Racing Mohaather Sussex Stakes Jim Crowley Marcus Tregoning Goodwood
Jim Crowley with Marcus Tregoning after Mohaather’s Sussex Stakes win. Photo: Racenews

After getting what he described as “redemption” following Mohaather’s Royal Ascot travails, jockey Jim Crowley said the son of Showcasing could win G1s over 6f.

“You could see why at the start of the year we were contemplating going down the sprinting route with Mohaather,” he explained. “I never had any doubt he could win a G1 over six furlongs.

“I remember Guy Harwood saying to me that all his good horses could also win over six furlongs and could have won July Cups and things like that – I would say this horse is in the mould of some really good horses. He would definitely win over six, he is that good.”

Siskin: Lyons ‘delighted’ despite defeat with ‘no excuses’

Ger Lyons said he was delighted with Siskin, despite the Irish Guineas winner having forfeited his unbeaten record. “He came to win his race and he was outstayed by two older horses,” he said. “There were no excuses and that is all I asked for coming into the race that we would have no excuses.”

Vatican City struck into

William Buick reported that Vatican City, who was last, had been struck into. The veterinary officer reported that a post-race examination revealed the colt had an irregular heartbeat, lost its right-hind shoe and finished lame on its right-hind.

Shall we talk about it?

Marcus Tregoning (Mohaather’s trainer): “I would have been pretty sore if he hadn’t been able to win, because I thought he was in really good order. Obviously, it was a tactical race but luckily he came out on top. I thought he would win. All the indications were that we had him right, and he has done nothing but please me. It was a tactical race today and we thought it would be.
“The Breeders’ Cup Mile is a possibility. We know one thing – tactical speed round those tighter tracks is what you have to have. This horse has so much pace; I love watching him. He will work on his own if you wanted him to – he’s just a pleasure to be around – but he would have the speed for it, I am sure. There’s also Champions Weekend at Ascot. He is in the Prix Jacques Le Marois, but that might come a bit quick for him, we’ll have to see.”

Jim Crowley (Mohaather’s jockey): “He’s an absolute aeroplane. This is serious. In that race, you’re talking about the best milers in Europe and I wouldn’t say he’s made them look ordinary but he won very well. I thought that was a very special performance. The way it panned out, he was exceptional.
“The race today didn’t really go to plan as I would have liked. I was quite well marked throughout and Mohaather really got me out of that. I was in a bit of a pocket and I knew I was going to need some luck.
“We had to let the race unfold before him and then pull around Siskin. When he saw daylight, he just absolutely flew. He showed the most electric turn of foot. To give weight away to younger horses and pick them up was just special really.”

Paul Smith (representing Coolmore, Circus Maximus’s co-owners): “He ran his heart out and you get that every time with him. He is a solid G1 horse and he has run a great race. Ryan was very happy with him and we are delighted.
“It was goosebumps just looking at them around the parade ring as there were some quality individuals there. We will get him back and see how he is and see what the lads want to do with him – he is going to be a competitive horse wherever he goes.”

Colin Keane (Siskin’s jockey): “It was a brilliant run I thought from Siskin. They went a good, even gallop throughout and my horse travelled into it well and came there to win. He just bumped into two older, hardened horses and maybe the ground just being on the slow side blunts his speed a little bit, but we are very happy.”

Ger Lyons (Siskin’s trainer): “I am delighted with the run from Siskin – he is the best three-year-old. He came to win his race and he was outstayed by two older horses. There were no excuses and that is all I asked for coming into the race that we would have no excuses.
“Colin said the ground blunted his speed a bit. One thing we have learned is he is a proper miler and the faster the ground the better. There will be no decisions made, but he probably has Breeders’ Cup written all over him.”

Teddy Grimthorpe (racing manager to Siskin’s owner, Khalid Abduallah): “Siskin has run a really good race. We have got absolutely no complaints and he has come out of the race as the best three-year-old miler so that is a positive. He has had every chance and run really well so there we are. It was a good race, but he wasn’t beaten far. There is always a moment where you think you have a chance. We have no complaints at all.
“We are going to discuss a whole lot of options. It was only his second race of the year, so there is still more to come from him.”

Andrew Balding (Kameko’s trainer): “I have only seen it once with the naked eye and I would have to watch it again, but he looked unlucky. He has finished on the heels of them and Oisin was a bit unlucky on him, but it happens round here.”

Oisin Murphy (Kameko’s jockey): “He jumped very smart and obviously I wanted to take a lead. I thought Circus Maximus would make the running but up the straight I couldn’t find any room and I thought the best horse didn’t win on the day. Unfortunately these things happen sometimes and it’s jockey error and I hope the horse is sound in the morning and he lives to fight another day. But apologies to his connections. A lot of hard work goes into preparing these horses and nobody wants hard-luck stories.
“You saw the way he travelled. I was full of horse for most of the race. I’d imagine ideally he is very much a miler.”

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