Japan’s love affair with European racing continued in the Group 1 Nassau Stakes as Deirdre came from off the pace to deny the front-running Mehdaayih in Thursday’s big race at Goodwood.
The five-year-old mare had travelled over to Britain to contest the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot last month but did not enjoy the rain-softened ground. Goodwood’s good going was much more to her liking and she was ridden patiently by jockey Oisin Murphy before being unleashed inside the distance.
Frankie Dettori looked to have stolen a march on the John Gosden-trained Mehdaayih but as the petrol tank started to run dry inside the last half furlong, Murphy galvanised Deirdre and the duo stormed home up the far rail to take the prize by a length and a quarter.
Thursday’s victory was the second time that Japan has won a Group 1 contest in Britain following Agnes World’s triumph in the 2000 July Cup at Newmarket. Deirdre was the first ever Japanese-trained winner at the Qatar Goodwood Festival.
Owned by Toji Morita and trained by Mitsuru Hashida, Morita’s Racing Manager Seiko Hashida Yoshimura said: “That was a special performance from Deirdre. It’s fantastic to have a winner at the Qatar Goodwood Festival. This is very important not only for us, but also for the whole of Japan to come over to Britain and have a big-race winner.
“We have been in Britain for three months with Deirdre and we are so pleased that we kept believing in her. We had a lot of support and this has made this victory possible.
“A lot of credit has to go to Oisin Murphy. We didn’t give him any instructions and just decided to let him ride the horse in the way he felt right. He’s a brilliant jockey.”
Murphy said: “I’m so glad the Japanese have brought a horse here and she has performed. I’ve been telling people since I came back from Japan of the regard they hold their horses in, and it’s fantastic they have won a Group 1 here – she was already a Group 1 winner but it is great to do it in Britain.”
Deirdre is by Harbinger, a stallion who will be familiar to race fans in Britain. Harbinger was trained by Sir Michael Stoute to win the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes before he was sold to Japanese interests to stand at the Shadai Stallion Station.
Other top-level winners supplied by the son of Dansili include Blast Onepiece, Mozu Katchan, Normcore and Persian Knight.
Horde strikes gold in Richmond
Clive Cox and Adam Kirby have teamed up to great effect over the years and the pair combined again to plunder the Group 2 Qatar Richmond Stakes with Golden Horde.
The two-year-old is a son of Lethal Force, a stallion both Cox and Kirby know well as they were responsible for masterminding his Group 1 victories in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes and July Cup in 2013.
Golden Horde and Threat, who had tracked early leader Misty Grey, took up the running a furlong from home. It looked as if Threat had a slight advantage, but Kirby guided his charge to win by three quarters of a length.
Cox said: “Golden Horde did it well today. Adam said he felt like his father [Lethal Force] throughout the race. He didn’t feel like he was going very fast. Golden Horde is a joy to have. He is improving all the time.
“We bought him at the Doncaster Sales last year for £65,000 and we always knew he would keep improving throughout the season with his size. Even in his work at home and just saddling him today, we’ve really got him where we want him.
“He’s a different colour to Lethal Force but like him, he has a lot of ability!”
Nayef Road’s gutsy victory in the Group 3 Qatar Gordon Stakes saw trainer Mark Johnston become the winning-most trainer at the Qatar Goodwood Festival with 81 winners.
Johnston had equalled Sir Michael Stoute’s record score of 80 on Wednesday when Mrs Bouquet struck in the Alice Keppel EBF Fillies’ Conditions Stakes.
“We target the meeting and it’s nice to be up there making records, but I would swap them for a few of John Gosden’s Group 1 wins,” said Johnston.
“At an early stage in my career we latched onto the great opportunities here at Goodwood, we really enjoy it, the owners really enjoy it, and we have some overseas owners here this week and they are really enjoying it. There is no better place to come to advertise British racing.
“My Scottish side means I firmly believe in racing horses for money, not racing them at home. People are always saying our horses run a lot, but a horse like Nayef Road won’t have galloped since before his first run of the season. We save the effort for the racecourse.”
The Middleham handler didn’t have to wait long for his 82nd winner at the Sussex course as Ryan Moore guided Governor Of Punjab to victory in the Telegraph Nursery Handicap.
Another fine prospect for Juddmonte
The Charles Hills-trained juvenile Vividly overcame a wide draw in the EBF Maiden Fillies’ Stakes (7f) to notch her first career success.
A homebred for Khalid Abdullah’s Juddmonte Farms, Vividly had made a pleasing debut at Newbury earlier this month when she finished third behind So Sharp in a 6f fillies’ novice stakes. Kieran Shoemark defied stall 16 to make every yard of the running on the daughter of Charm Spirit, holding off Craylands by a short-head.