Muthmir’s magic lands Goodwood’s big Friday prize

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

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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.

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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.

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.

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“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.

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“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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