Dunlop’s double hope burns bright as Goodwood Cup field takes shape

The Qatar Goodwood Cup takes place on Ladies' Day / Picture by Malcolm Wells
The Qatar Goodwood Cup takes place on Ladies' Day / Picture by Malcolm Wells

Trip To Paris (Ed Dunlop) heads 14 contenders going forward for the £300,000 Group Two Qatar Goodwood Cup, run over two miles and the highlight of the third day of the Qatar Goodwood Festival on Thursday, July 30.

The four-year-old landed the Group One Gold Cup over half a mile further at Royal Ascot on June 18 and is set to attempt to become the first horse since Yeats in 2008 to win both stayers’ contests in the same season.

Among Trip To Paris’ potential rivals is Big Orange (Michael Bell), who caused a 25/1 upset when landing the 12-furlong Group Two Princess Of Wales’s Stakes at Newmarket earlier this month.

Sheikhzayedroad (David Simcock) ran a rare bad race when eighth behind Big Orange at Newmarket, but was successful at the highest level in 2014 when taking the Grade One Northern Dancer Turf Stakes over a mile and a half at Woodbine, Canada. The six-year-old has only run once before over two miles when ninth, beaten five lengths, in the Group Two Gold Cup at Meydan, Dubai, in March, 2014.

Simcock said today: “We will have to look at the ground and discuss it with the owner, but the Qatar Goodwood Cup is a possibility for Sheikhzayedroad.

“His run at Newmarket was just a very rare bad run. I think it was the first time in 10 or 11 races that he has run poorly.

“We don’t really know if he will get the two miles. He ran over the distance in the Dubai Gold Cup at Meydan last year, which is a little different to two miles around Goodwood, but he wasn’t stopping at the end of that.”

Chances of the lucrative prize remaining in Sussex rest with Eye Of The Storm (Amanda Perrett) and Aussie Reigns (William Knight). Eye Of The Storm got the better of Angel Gabriel (Richard Fahey) by a head when landing the Listed Coral Marathon at Sandown Park on July 4. Perrett, who trains at Pulborough, has yet to taste victory in the Qatar Goodwood Cup although her father Guy Harwood recorded two wins in the race with Sadeem (1988) and Mazzacano (1989).

There are two Irish-trained entries going forward in Kalann (Sabrina Harty) and Simenon (Willie Mullins). The latter was a staying-on fourth behind Trip To Paris in the Gold Cup, while Kalann was third to Estimate in last season’s Group Two Doncaster Cup.

Quest For More (Roger Charlton) has won his last two starts, landing the Lidsey Silver Anniversary Handicap over a mile and three-quarters at Goodwood on May 23 before going on to take the Northumberland Plate at Newcastle last month.

Mark Johnston could be double-handed with Oriental Fox, who was successful in the marathon Queen Alexandra Stakes over an extended two miles and five furlongs at Royal Ascot and the three-year-old Vive Ma Fille, who was a staying fourth in the Listed Queen’s Vase at the same meeting.

Also entered are Group Three Ormonde Stakes scorer Clever Cookie (Peter Niven), who is due to run at Ascot tomorrow, Scotland (Andrew Balding), who was sixth in the Gold Cup and Pallasator (Sir Mark Prescott) who won a Newmarket Listed event last year over two miles.

The Qatar Goodwood Cup is part of the QIPCO British Champions Series, as is the £1 million highlight of the Qatar Goodwood Festival, the Qatar Sussex Stakes (Supported by Qatar Petroleum) and the £600,000 Qatar Nassau Stakes.

Coventry Stakes runner-up Air Force Blue (Aidan O’Brien IRE) features among 15 contenders for the £200,000 Qatar Richmond Stakes (2.35pm) over six furlongs. Shalaa (John Gosden) and Birchwood (Richard Fahey) both scored at Group Two level at Newmarket’s July meeting, while the Richard Hannon-trained pair of Log Out Island and King Of Rooks could re-oppose each other.

The 14-furlong £100,000 Group Three Markel Insurance Fillies Stakes (3.45pm) looks set to have an international flavour with German Group Three scorer Kaldera (Paul Harley GER), French challenger Lady Dragon (Mikel Delzangles FR) and Irish raider Dark Crusader (Tony Martin IRE) featuring among 20 entries.

Resonant won at Goodwood earlier in the season before going on to capture a valuable handicap at Newmarket this month and the Mark Johnston-trained three-year-old heads 29 entries for the £50,000 Land Rover Handicap (2.05pm) over just short of 10 furlongs.

Group One winners Midday and Amazing Maria have contested the £25,000 EBF British Stallion Studs New Ham Fillies’ Maiden (4.20pm) in recent years and 31 entries for the seven-furlong contest include Newmarket runner-up Nemoralia (Jeremy Noseda).

The racing action concludes with the seven-furlong £20,000 Telegraph Nursery (4.55pm, 34 entries) and the £20,000 Tatler Handicap (5.30pm, 31 entries) over five furlongs.

Goodwood hosts the Magnolia Cup, a six-furlong charity race for female riders, ahead of the first race, which this year will support the charity Amref Health Africa. Riders competing are set to include TalkTalk CEO Dido Harding and Jemima Hannon, wife of champion trainer Richard.

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