30 July 2020

Mogul comes good in Gordon Stakes

30 July 2020

Mogul opened his account for the season with a hard-fought success in the John Pearce Racing Gordon Stakes at Goodwood.

Well-touted during the winter as a leading Classic contender, Aidan O’Brien’s charge was only fourth on his return at Royal Ascot before finishing sixth in the Derby at the beginning of the month.

This Group Two affair was something of an Epsom re-run, with second-placed Khalifa Sat, fast-finishing fifth English King and 10th-placed Highland Chief all renewing rivalry, with English King sent off the 5-4 favourite.

It was Subjectivist who set out to make all though, building up a healthy lead that he did not relinquish easily once the race began to heat up in the straight.

Khalifa Sat was the first to really challenge, but while Subjectivist repelled his spurt he could not find another gear as first Highland Chief and then Mogul swept down the outside.

It was Mogul (9-2) who had most in reserve, responding to Ryan Moore’s urging to pull three-quarters of a length clear at the line, with Highland Chief second and Subjectivist hanging on for third.

English King appeared to be in trouble from over two furlongs out and had to settle for fourth.

Aidan O'Brien was delighted to get Mogul back on the winning trail (PA Wire)

O’Brien said of the winner: “We always felt he was a lovely horse, but we always felt he was going to take two runs and we were hoping to get that into him before the Derby. Obviously the Derby was only his second run and today was his third.

“He’s built like a miler – he’s a big, strong, powerful horse who carries a lot of weight, so it was always going to take racing to get him tuned up.

“We were delighted with him today and we still think there’s more to come from him.”

We're thinking of going to the Grand Prix de Paris next

Mogul could be set for a rematch with his Derby-winning stablemate Serpentine in France on his next appearance, with O’Brien viewing Santiago a more obvious contender for the St Leger at Doncaster.

O’Brien added: “We’re thinking of going to the Grand Prix de Paris next – that was the plan if everything went well today.

“We felt that was a race that would suit and if both horses (Mogul and Serpentine) are well and we feel it’s the right thing to do, they’ll both run.

“We think so (Santiago is the yard’s main St Leger contender), but there are other horses there. We’ll see as we get a bit closer.

“We weren’t really sure whether Mogul would get a mile and a half or not, but he toughed it out and it looked like he got it today.”

Highland Chief raised his game to finish second in the Gordon Stakes (PA Wire)

Joint-trainer Paul Cole was delighted with the performance of runner-up Highland Chief, saying: “It was a very exciting race. We knew the horse was quite good and that was a good run.

“He is having a bit of a blow afterwards, which is surprising me slightly, and he has fulfilled the promise we thought he had.

“I’ve put him in a Group Two in Deauville and that is a possible, as is the Voltigeur at York. We will get him back and see how he is.”

Subjectivist ran a career-best to finish third for the Mark Johnston team.

The Middleham trainer’s son and assistant, Charlie Johnston, said: “I need to get back and watch it again. It looks like they were going quite fast as they were strung out. They were brave people giving a good horse like that a lead of 10 or 15 lengths and he only tired in the last 50 yards.

English King now has something to prove (PA Wire)

“They seemed to go from six lengths behind to one length behind easily, then they couldn’t get by him right until the death.

“He just needs to relax a little bit better than today to stay that far in the Leger. We could look at the Voltigeur or come back here for the March Stakes, which is normally a little bit easier than the Voltigeur.”

English King met trouble in running on his way to finishing fourth, but owner Bjorn Nielsen was not making any excuses post-race.

He said: “He was never travelling like he was when he won the Derby Trial at Lingfield. If he was a Derby horse, or a good mile-and-a-half horse, he would be picking them up.

“I’ve won the Leger and finished third in it twice. I would say we would go straight there if we go for it.”

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