Will be up against Golden Lilac at Newmarket today.
Joviality gives Princess Haya hope for Group 1 Falmouth Stakes
NEWMARKET // The last time Princess Haya had a runner in the Group 1 Falmouth Stakes her horse finished last but today at Newmarket at least her Joviality has a fighting chance of victory.
In the first year of Etihad Airways' sponsorship of the mile contest in 2009 Cosmopolitan was 25 lengths adrift of Goldikova, the multiple Group 1-winning French mare.
Joviality is one of 11 fillies set to contest the £160,000 race, having won the Windsor Forest Stakes at Royal Ascot last month. None of the previous four winners of that Group 2 race progressed to success at the highest level, however, and not one, but three crack French raiders stand in the way of the Princess's filly.
Andre Fabre has sent over Golden Lilac, who was good enough to account for Cirrus Des Aigles, the Dubai Sheema Classic victor, in the Prix d'Ispahan in May. Last season she won the French 1,000 Guineas and the Group 1 Prix de Diane, and is overwhelmingly fancied. Golden Lilac crosses the Channel with Siyouma, trained by Francois Doumen, and Giofra, trained by Alain de Royer-Dupre and to be ridden by Christophe Soumillon.
It is the sort of task that many trainers would dress up in all sorts of spin, but Gosden was straight-talking enough to outline exactly how he saw Joviality's chances.
"Nobody is up to the favourite's level, nobody," Gosden said yesterday. "I expect Golden Lilac to win, as she is a wondrous filly. I saw her wins in the Pouliches and the Diane and they were exceptional. It's good for Newmarket to have drawn her here."
As an illustration of how quickly Joviality's jockey, William Buick, has arrived at the top table, it was Frankie Dettori who rode Cosmopolitan for Gosden three years ago. Buick did not even have a ride in the race.
He is now a jockey riding like a man possessed, having registered a strike-rate of 26 per cent in Britain last month.
The victory aboard Nathaniel in Saturday's Group 1 Eclipse Stakes maintained his momentum and he appeared to be buoyed by his mount's victorious effort at Ascot last month.
"Joviality is very tough and genuine and I think she outstayed them. She didn't handle the track at Epsom last time, but the race did her a lot of good.
"She is a nice filly and hopefully she can improve again. She has won the Windsor Forest now so she is not far off Group 1 level."
Today's meeting is sponsored by Abu Dhabi, and sure enough Sheikh Sultan Bin Khalifa's red and black-starred silks are set to be carried to post by Colourful Notion in the opening handicap, run over seven furlongs, although the weather could yet play a hand.
The three-year-old filly cut little ice when racing three times at Meydan Racecourse under Mirco Demuro during the Carnival, and Marco Botti has secured the services of another Dubai World Cup-winning rider in Dettori.
"We are not sure if we are going to run Colourful Notion as we don't know how much rain we are going to get overnight," Botti said.
"It would obviously be great for the owner to run her, but the ground just might be an issue."
Follow us @SprtNationalUAE