John Gosden admitted it was great to see the talented Mostahdaf “back on song” after proving a class above his rivals following his emphatic success in the Unibet September Stakes at Kempton Park today.
Having saddled the mighty Enable to victory in the Group Three prize in 2018 and 2020, along with claiming it with Jack Hobbs (2015) and with Royal Line (2019) the Newmarket handler, who now trains in partnership with his son Thady, continued his recent domination of the event thanks to the son of Frankel’s seventh career success.
Although Mostahdaf finished last on his most recent start in the Group Two Princess Of Wales’s Close Brothers Stakes at Newmarket’s Moét & Chandon July Festival, he left that effort behind when looking back to his best to open his account over a mile and a half.
Racing just off the steady pace set by Solid Stone the 6-1 chance, a four year old Shadwell homebred, moved effortlessly into contention under Dane O’Neill as the field turned for home before hitting the front just outside the final quarter of a mile.
Once in command, Mostahdaf, who is a half-brother to the now-retired Group One winner Nazeef, opened up a sizeable advantage before crossing the line two and three quarter lengths clear of 10-11 Favourite Dubai Honour to make it three from three on the all-weather.
Gosden said: “He has won here before. He quickened up well. Richard (Kingscote on Solid Stone) was setting what I would call a sensible pace up front with Joseph’s (O’Brien) horse (Gear Up) beside him.
“As for Dubai Honour it was going to be tough to come from that far back off that pace is my feeling.
“He was in the perfect position where we wanted to be one off the rail and we were able to kick in the straight.
“He just got himself a bit edgy (at Newmarket last time) and it was too close to Royal Ascot where he put in a huge run in the Hardwicke. It seemed like a race there for the winning, a Group Two, but it was a mistake to have run him.
“We were keen to have another go at the mile and a half. It is nice to see him back on song as he ran great in the Hardwicke.
“We will work out what is for him in October and we probably won’t run him again this month and take it from there.”
Equally delighted was winning rider Dane O’Neill who was celebrating his first domestic Group race winner of the year.
O’Neill added: “He has bounced right back to form. I said to John I’ve not had many dealings with the horse but he seemed to thrive on that surface.
“In defeat he has been beaten by some nice horses and there have been reasons for them. He hasn’t done much wrong and like I said today after a break he has bounced right back.
“We have to rule out the last day for whatever it was but he gets the mile and a half well. He is nice and is back on track and that is the main thing but we can start aiming a bit higher now.”
Eve Johnson Houghton was quick to praise the work of former trainer Joe Tuite, who called time on his career last weekend, after Zealot made his stable debut a triumphant one with a five length victory in the division one of the Daily Price Boosts At Unibet Handicap (1m).
Johnson Houghton said of the 100-30 winner: “I’ve only had him three or four weeks. It was not a great training performance by me it was a great training performance by Joe who kindly suggested I had him.
“He is huge and I can’t believe he ran as a two year old as he must have been very unfurnished. He is very easy to deal with.
“You would not know what trip he wants. I said (to Charlie, Bishop, jockey) you don’t want to get stuck behind horses with him. All I’ve had to do is keep him fit. He is a bus to do anything with.”
Jockey Frederick Larsson might have been rueing his luck after Dewey Road fluffed the start in the opening race, however he was not to be denied win number five on the Mick Appleby-trained Mostallim (2-1 Favourite), who secured a neck success in the Unibet Horserace Betting Operator Of The Year Handicap (6f).
The winning rider said: “This horse doesn’t have an instant turn of pace you just need to keep him rolling. He is so genuine when he is in front but he couldn’t quite get there but I just wanted to hold him near the pace.
“You would have no doubts stepping him back up to seven furlongs as he is so genuine and tough that he never stops in front.
“That’s my fifth win on him. We definitely get on well but it probably helps that I can still claim five off him. He is as game as you like.
“As for Dewey Road his last three runs he has had problems coming out of the stalls but today it was accentuated in the first time visor.”
The Jockey Club Press Release