x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Sheikh Hamdan's high hopes for star filly

Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid hopes the often-inclement English weather will be kind to his star filly, Ghanaati, as she bids to beat the boys in today's BGC Sussex Stakes.

GOODWOOD // Ghanaati's mammoth bid to beat the boys and the older generation in today's BGC Sussex Stakes is a tough enough test for the lion-hearted three-year-old but her owner, Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid, hopes the often-inclement English weather will be kind to his star filly. With showers possible over the West Sussex racecourse this morning, there is a danger that Goodwood's going could be revised to the softer side of good, a surface on which fleet-footed Ghanaati is unproven. "We tried her in the 1,000 Guineas and she won that and then we tried her in the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot and she won that too, so she has won against the fillies," said Sheikh Hamdan yesterday as he watched his Betfair Gordon Stakes-winner Finjaan in the parade ring at Glorious Goodwood. "So now we have to set her a harder test and that's why we will try her against the males and the older horses tomorrow." But the ground could play a part in the filly's tilt at glory. Showers held off on the opening day of the five-day meet, with only seven millimetres recorded the evening before, but there is no guarantee the clouds will not move in today. "We have to hope that we will find the going good," said Sheikh Hamdan. "We haven't tried her on softer ground and we hope that will be okay." Ghanaati's foray in the BGC Sussex Stakes, the first group one of the Goodwood festival, pits her against Rip van Winkle from Aidan O'Brien's consistently-successful Irish yard and the Richard Hannon-trained Paco Boy, who got the better of Godolphin's disappointing Gladiatorus in the mile-long Queen Mary Stakes at Ascot in June.

stregoning@thenational.ae