x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Moore hoping for rain at Newbury

The trainer Gary Moore is hoping for just the smallest drop of rain before his charge, Mourilyan, runs in the Group Three Geoffrey Freer Stakes.

DUBAI // The trainer Gary Moore has been hoping for just the smallest drop of rain before his charge, Goodwood Cup runner-up Mourilyan, takes to Newbury's turf on Saturday in the Group Three Geoffrey Freer Stakes. The Dubai stayer has evidently thrived during his sojourn in England's milder climate, running what Moore described as "the race of his life" under the trainer's son, Ryan Moore, in the Group Two Goodwood race. He trailed Godolphin's German multiple Group One-winner, Schiaparelli, by a length and with Age of Reason and Kite Wood among the rivals in today's line-up, it is likely that Godolphin that will once again stand between the son of Desert Prince and the finish line.

At Goodwood, Mourilyan, who hung back in second-last during the brisk gallop over two miles before making a well-timed sprint for the line, was gifted his ideal ground by an overnight shower which softened the track. Today Moore hopes that the gentlest of precipitations will reproduce those conditions, although the torrential rain which greeted his galloper in the parade ring following last month's race will not be welcomed.

"I'd like just a drop," he said. "Mourilyan likes a bit of cut in the ground and I think, with him coming back to a mile and five furlongs, it will just help even things up a bit." Mourilyan, who is trained in Dubai by Herman Brown, lines up against two former stable mates in today's contest, Kings Gambit and Basaltico, who were both Brown's charges in the UAE. He will be piloted once again by champion jockey, Ryan Moore, who rode the horse regularly in Dubai.

But though Kings Gambit beat Mourilyan over one mile four furlongs at Nad al Sheba last season, the danger, according to Moore, is Godolphin. "I think you've got to look to the Godolphin horses and in particular, Kite Wood, as the threats," he said. "Godolphin are running out of their skins at the moment and the stable is coming into form." Three-year-old Kite Wood, who will have Goodwood Cup-winning jockey, Frankie Dettori in the leathers, is fresh from a two-and-a-half-length victory in July's Group Three Bahrain Trophy at Newmarket.

Kite Wood, a well-bred son of Galileo, has dropped down in class since disappointing in the Dante Stakes and the Epsom Derby and seems to have found his niche. It is likely that Godolphin trainer, Saeed bin Suroor, will use the Ted Durcan ridden, Age of Reason as a pacemaker. But Mourilyan is thought to be up to the task by his connections. "He came out of his Goodwood race very well and the Newbury course is a pretty flat, fair course. He will have come on from that second-place and we are looking forward to seeing what he can do," said Moore.