Muthmir’s magic lands Goodwood’s big Friday prize

Muthmir edges ahead of Take Cover to win the King George Stakes / Picture by Malcolm Wells
Muthmir edges ahead of Take Cover to win the King George Stakes / Picture by Malcolm Wells

Newmarket trainer William Haggas was back in Goodwood’s winner’s enclosure after the big race of day four of Glorious week – to the disappointment of ex-Pompey boss Harry Redknapp.

The 3/1 favourite Muthmir - owned by Sheikh Hamdan - won the most valuable prize on the penultimate day of the Qatar Goodwood Festival.

Moviesta came back to the South Downs for another stab at a race he won as a three-year-old in 2013 but was well down the field, finishing 12th under Paul Mulrennan.

Redknapp was there to see it but there was no fairytale return to the course for him as five-year-old gelding Muthmir, a 130,000gns yearling purchase, won the £300,000 Group Two Qatar King George Stakes, collecting £170,000 as his share of the purse.

It was a bit of a blink-and-you-miss-it affair as the winning horse took just 56 seconds to complete the five furlongs.

His jockey, Paul Hanagan, gained a clear run along the far rail which enabled Muthmir to reach the front and defy the rally of second-placed Take Cover, last year’s winner, who finished a head behind, but half a length in front of Move In Time.

They went really fast and there was little chance to tuck him in, but he loves fast ground and a fast pace, and he has a bit of foot as well.

As a Group Two winner, Muthmir carried a 4lb penalty, and Haggas said: “He was good today. They went really fast and there was little chance to tuck him in, but he loves fast ground and a fast pace, and he has a bit of foot as well.

“I’m not sure a 4lb penalty is right - it’s rather a large penalty and for this sort of money we should be encouraging class horses to come to a race like this. He earned his penalty and did well to win with it - it’s always hard to win a Group race with a penalty.

“It’s been a little frustrating with him this season and I was gutted after the King’s Stand Stakes [at Royal Ascot, in which he was third] because I thought that was his race this year. He didn’t do well in the July Cup [at Newmarket] but sprint races can be messy and that was a messy race for him. But he’s won two Group Twos and he’s a very good horse - after his handicap performance in the Portland everyone was expecting him to be a superstar, but he hasn’t raced many times and we’re working him out slowly.

“He’s quick and I think we will stick to five furlongs, and probably go for the Nunthorpe Stakes [at York] next time. He will contest all the best five-furlong races here and I hope this won’t be the last one he wins. Paul’s first winner for me was when he was claiming 7lb, so I have known him a long time and I am delighted for him. He is a very nice guy and much stronger than you think - he is only small and light but, God, he is strong and he is a great guy.”

Hanagan added:” He is very good and everyone knows how strong he is now. Sometimes he can come out the gates too well and this lad is a bit ridiculous because he gets a length on most horses. You have to be a bit a bit brave with the blind, you don’t want to take it off too quick because, if you do, he will hit the gates too well. Luckily he missed the beat a little bit and was able to kind of relax in behind them.

“When he won the Group Two in France, I thought that he pricked his ears a little bit but he really knuckled down today - his head was nearly on the floor, he was trying that hard.”

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