Dubai: Godolphin got their 2020 Glorious Goodwood campaign off to a promising start when Space Blues ran out a compelling winner of the Group 2 Lennox Stakes at Goodwood, a venue regarded as one of most picturesque and beautiful racecourses in the world.
With William Buick looking supremely confident aboard the son of Dubai, the race was won in a matter of strides inside the final furlong, with only Duke of Hazzard offering some opposition, but not enough to threaten the smart winner.
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It was a third success in the Lennox for Godolphin since it was established in 2000 courtesy Byron in 2004 and Iffraaj in 2006.
“He’s still got to make the leap into Group Ones but ran very well in the Prix Maurice de Gheest last year when third,” Buick told ITV Racing.
“He’s a horse who’s improving, he’s very professional and easy to deal with and it’s beautiful ground out there. I thought it was a really good performance today. Seven is his optimum trip but Charlie (Appleby) will leave all the options open.”
Appleby, who was winning his first Lennox Stakes after teammate Saeed Bin Surour supplied Godolphin’s previous winners, added: “I’m delighted. He got a nice clean run round there with plenty of pace on. “William was keen to keep it simple with him and that’s what he did. I was always confident he was going to pick up. It’s a good performance.
“It will be interesting to see how quickly we can get him fresh again as the Prix Maurice de Gheest is a nice race for him. He’s a stronger horse this year and is a great traveler with a gear change.
“It would be nice to give him a crack at a Group One again but it is in ten days’ time.”
Meanwhile, John Gosden’s superstar Stradivarius had to overcome traffic problems even as the winning post loomed large, to win a record fourth Group 1 Goodwood Cup.
The gap only appeared with 50 metres to run but Frankie Dettori extracted something extra out of his extraordinary mount to rundown all-the-way leader Nayef Road for a length victory.
Earlier, Maydanny, a son of Dubawi, outclassed his rivals to post an impressive victory in the Unibet You’re On Handicap.
Mark Johnston’s charge, who was ridden by former British champion jockey Silvestre de Sousa in the colours of Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance, crossed the line five lengths clear of 33/1 outsider Sky Defender (33/1) with Bell Rock back in third.
“To me, the ground is on the easy side of good and he loves that,” De Sousa said.
“They’re just getting a toe in and it suits him and he got in here with a very light weight. I never went behind the saddle today, I never went to the bottom of him, I hope he keeps improving.”
Johnston, who appears to have a romance going at the track, said: “It’s always nice to get off to a quick start and even better with a one-two. We expected a big run from him at Newmarket last time when he was very disappointing indeed.
“This was really a case of bouncing back to form which is great. It will be one little step at a time with him. He was very impressive at Yarmouth then after Newmarket we were worried was he flattered there? We’ll go home and think about it but we’re not rushing things with him.”