Jungle Cat bounds into view for Goodwood’s King George Stakes

Goldream at Newmarket earlier this season / Picture by Mark Westley
Goldream at Newmarket earlier this season / Picture by Mark Westley

Speed is the order of the day on day four of the Qatar Goodwood Festival (Friday, July 29), with the £312,100 Group Two Qatar King George Stakes (3.45pm) the highlight.

There are 19 confirmations, plus supplementary entry Jungle Cat (Charlie Appleby) owned by Godolphin, for the five-furlong sprint, including the two most recent winners of the race in Take Cover (David Griffiths), who took the spoils in 2014, and last year’s victor Muthmir (William Haggas).

Goldream (Robert Cowell) captured two G1 races over five furlongs in 2015, the King’s Stand Stakes and the Qatar Prix de l’Abbaye de Longchamp, and the seven-year-old could make his first appearance since finishing ninth in the G1 Al Quoz Sprint at Meydan in March.

The form of this year’s King’s Stand Stakes could also be well represented by Cotai Glory (Charlie Hills), Goken (Kevin Ryan) and Jungle Cat, who were second, third and fourth respectively in the Royal Ascot sprint.

No French-trained horse has landed the Qatar King George Stakes in the post-war period but out to change that statistic is Finsbury Square (Fabrice Chappet).

The four-year-old is a G3 scorer over five furlongs this season, having taken the Prix de Saint-Georges at Deauville in May. He was subsequently third in the five-furlong G2 Prix du Gros Chene at Chantilly on June 5 and was last seen out when fourth in the G3 Prix de Ris-Orangis over a furlong further at Maisons-Laffitte on June 29.

The horse is flying at the moment. He has won over five and six furlongs and his Group Three victory came at five furlongs - he has plenty of speed.

Fabrice Chappet

Chappet, who is based close to Chantilly at Lamorlaye, commented: “Finsbury Square is a definitely coming over to Goodwood for the Qatar King George Stakes.

“The horse is flying at the moment. He has won over five and six furlongs and his Group Three victory came at five furlongs - he has plenty of speed.

“This will be my first visit to Goodwood so I am not sure yet how he will handle the course but the distance will suit the horse. He is a good moving horse so I think he should be able to cope with the undulations.

“He has won on both good and soft ground, although I wouldn’t mind some rain for him. When was the last time it didn’t rain for a week!

“Finsbury Square will be my first runner at Goodwood and the prize money is very good. It’s very exciting.

“Christophe Soumillon usually rides him but has been injured and I am not sure if he will be ready to ride again by Friday. If he is unavailable, Ioritz Mendizabal will ride.”

Other sprinters going forward include G1 Commonwealth Cup runner-up Kachy (Tom Dascombe), who won the G3 Molecomb Stakes at the Qatar Goodwood Festival 12 months ago, plus three-year-old fillies Marsha (Sir Mark Prescott) and Easton Angel (Michael Dods).

The fourth day of the Qatar Goodwood Festival also features a trio of G3 contests including the opening £100,000 Betfred Glorious Stakes (2.00pm) over a mile and a half, which has 12 entries including Kinema (Ralph Beckett), Elite Army (Saeed bin Suroor) and Kings Fete (Sir Michael Stoute) who fought out the finish to the Duke Of Edinburgh Handicap at Royal Ascot last month.

Scottish (Charlie Appleby) gained an impressive victory over Berkshire (Paul Cole) in a Newbury Listed race on July 16, while G2 Hardwicke Stakes fourth Mount Logan (Roger Varian) has been successful on all three of his previous starts at Goodwood, including the Listed Intrinsic New For 2016 At Hedgeholme Stud Tapster Stakes in May.

The Sir Michael Stoute-trained pair of Thikriyaat and Forge were second and third in the G3 Jersey Stakes and both horses feature among 15 entries for the mile £100,000 G3 Bonhams Thoroughbred Stakes (2.35pm), alongside G1 St James’s Palace Stakes fifth Emotionless (Charlie Appleby).

Francois Rohaut saddled Amy Eria to glory in last year’s £80,000 G3 L’Ormarins Queens Plate (4.55pm) and the French trainer has two contenders this year with Growing Glory and Al Jazi featuring among the 17 entries. G1 Poule d’Essai des Pouliches runner-up Nathra (John Gosden) and Irish G3 scorer Queen Catrine (Ger Lyons) have also been entered in the seven-furlong contest.

The £150,000 Betfred Mile (3.10pm, 55 confirmations) is one of the biggest betting races of the entire season and Franklin D (Michael Bell) is 6/1 favourite with Betfred for the heritage handicap following a comprehensive six-length win at Newmarket on July 16.

Donncha (Robert Eddery), who was sixth behind Belgian Bill (George Baker) in last year’s renewal, and the well-supported White Lake (Roger Varian) also go forward for the very competitive contest, which has a maximum field of 20.

Day four also includes the £20,000 Betfred Supports Jack Berry House Nursery (4.20pm 41 entries) over six furlongs and comes to a close with the £20,000 Betfred Mobile Handicap (5.30pm, 48 entries) over 11 furlongs.

Latest going news

The going at Goodwood remains:

Good - Straight Course

Good to Firm, Good in places - Round Course

Seamus Buckley, Goodwood’s Clerk of the Course, said at 2.45pm: “We are having a warm day and the dry weather is forecast to continue.

“We started our watering programme on Tuesday evening, with the GoingStick reading 8.5 beforehand and today’s reading, after watering each night since, was 8.2 at 11am, showing that the ground is retaining moisture.

“We will carry on watering this evening and aim to maintain the current going descriptions.”

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