Dubai: Mohaather may have had to do it the hard way, but in the end, he finished a scintillating winner of the Group 1 Sussex Stakes on the second day of the five-day Glorious Goodwood meeting on Wednesday.
First run in 1841, the race has been won by some of the sport’s greats and Mohaather justifiably joined that elite list with a hard-as-nails performance.
It was a messy race by any stretch of the imagination with several horses drifting sideways, but the winner displayed an imperious turn of foot to come from a seemingly hopeless position when trapped behind several horses and having to come around the field to win by three quarter lengths from frontrunner Circus Maximus.
Favourite Siskin, winner of the Irish 2,000 Guineas, was a half length back in third.
It was an epic first ever win in the race for Mohaather’s owner, Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance, whose horses continue to take the British racing season by storm.
Mohaather is trained by Marcus Tregoning who was landing a first Group 1 victory in almost 15 years following Sir Percy’s victory in the Epsom Derby (G1). Jim Crowley, Sheikh Hamdan’s retained rider, told ITV Racing: “I wanted to ride him a little bit more forward but because of that, I got caught in a pocket and he’s hard to do it the hard way.
“Everything went wrong for him. If I’d ridden him last, it might have gone better and he’d have won more comfortably.”
“I was quite well marked throughout and the horse really got me out of it. I didn’t think the pace was particularly very strong. I had to let the race unfold and then pull him around, when he saw daylight he absolutely flew.
“I thought it was a very special performance. He was exceptional.”
Tregoning, who has for long been well supported by Sheikh Hamdan, was struggling with emotions: “I’ve had to wait a long time, but we haven’t had the horses.
“When we left Lambourn we didn’t have very many and it was like starting from the beginning again. Luckily, Sheikh Hamdan supported me and I have to give a big plug to his racing manager Angus Gold, who found this horse as a yearling.
“I went to look at him and thought he was quite small, but thought we’ll give it a go as Angus is a good judge and we liked the horse’s pedigree,” he added.
“It was a tactical race and we thought it would be. I don’t blame anyone for that; it’s just racing. He struggled to get out as he’s not the biggest, but Jim kept his calm and the horse has that massive kick.
“He’s very impressive and if he’d got out earlier he’d have won easily – he won easily anyway!”