Goodwood: It sometimes pays to keep it simple and Godolphin’s Cross Counter drove home the fact with a clinical front-running display under stable jockey William Buick to land the Group 3 Gordon Stakes on the final day of this year’s Glorious Goodwood Festival.
Stepping up to Group race company for the first time in his career, the three-year-old son of Teofilo tracked the leader, Bombxy, during the early stages of the mile-and-three-furlong contest before being pushed to lead at the 10-furlong marker.
Buick settled his horse into a nice steady rhythm and never looked back thereafter. Cross Counter crossed the line four-and-half lengths clear of Epsom Derby runner-up Dee Ex Bee to set a new course record for the distance.
Trainer Charlie Appleby, who was not present at the course, said: “He is a horse that had a lovely, progressive profile going into the race today.
“We were confident we could give Dee Ex Bee a fight. On the back of that, our long-term agenda is to take him to Australia for the Melbourne Cup.
“We will get him back and see how he is, but that is where his next start is likely to be. He is a gelding so he can’t run in the St Leger.”
The Melbourne Cup is one of the world’s major races that Godolphin have been trying to win since the stable was established in the mid-1990s.
Mark Johnston felt that the fast ground at Goodwood undermined Dee Ex Bee’s chances.
“He just doesn’t have the gears on fast ground and was on and off the bridle and never able to get into a rhythm, while not quick enough running down the hill into the straight,” said the Middleham handler.
“Given some cut in the ground, I think you would see a different horse and the St Leger is still on, that’s for sure.”
Dee Ex Bee is raced by Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai.
Meanwhile, Gifted Master landed the Stewards’ Cup for Dr Ali Redha Al Hashimi, the Administrative Director of the Dubai Equine Hospital, who recently survived a freak accident when his car plunged into an open well in the desert.
Apprentice jockey Jason Watson rode a perfect race aboard Hugo Palmer’s five-year-old who defied the top weight to win in impressive fashion, although by a narrow margin and had to put up a fight to hold off Declan Carrol’s Justanotherbottle.
The Jim Goldie-trained Tommy G won the Stewards Sprint Handicap in hands of champion jockey Silvestre De Sousa.
Beaten by three-quarters-of-a-length last year, the winner was the fourth victory by De Sousa at the meeting.
Goldie said: “He’s a nice wee horse and I’ve trained three generations of the family, but unfortunately he won’t get into the Ayr Gold Cup.
“During the summer I’ve kept him on the all weather and away from the fast ground. I thought it might be a bit quick for him today and told Silvestre to let him roll.”