Can Mostahdaf continue upward curve in puzzling Gordon Richards Stakes? | Horse Racing News

Mark Cranham (

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Mostahdaf: winner of the Group 3 Darley Stakes last season

Mostahdaf: winner of the Group 3 Darley Stakes last season

Mark Cranham (

Friday: 2.25 Sandown
bet365 Gordon Richards Stakes (Group 3) | 1m2f | 4me+ | ITV4/RTV

The Gordon Richards Stakes is another race to be dampened by a meagre turnout during the early stages of the Flat turf season, but thankfully the three runners pitching up at Sandown are accomplished Group horses.

Realistically, nobody was expecting anything like a double-figure field anyway as an average of 6.4 runners have lined up over the last decade. The bigger head-scratcher is the query of who among the three will provide the pace.

Juan Elcano went forward for the first furlong of the 2020 Hampton Court Stakes, when Andrea Atzeni was content to surrender the lead to King Carney, is the only line even remotely resembling front-running form.

Short-priced favorites have plundered the last three runnings and barring a wild market drift, Mostahdaf will go off odds-on.

The scratching of Al Aasy reduces the complexity of his assignment and this colt knows how to get the job done with five victories from his six starts.

Mostahdaf’s sole disappointing effort came in the St James’s Palace Stakes, but that was only his second run on turf, first on fast ground and first in top company.

Subsequent displays demonstrated his top-rate potential and only 38 horses in training improved the Racing Post Rating of 119 he recorded at Newmarket in October. He is 2-2 at Sandown and possesses a turn of foot the other two probably don’t have.

Juan Elcano, although talented on his day, is inconsistent and quite exposed, while Foxes Tales has lower mileage and is expected to serve up the biggest challenge to Mostahdaf.

The four-year-old may want softer ground to thrive over this 1m2f trip, but three-runner races are prone to becoming tactical and he is only rated 3lb lower than the favourite, who carries a 3lb penalty.
Race analysis by Robbie Wilders

what they say

John Gosden, joint trainer of Mostahdaf
He was a bit unlucky not to be unbeaten last year as he had no luck in running at Royal Ascot. He’s won twice at the track including on heavy ground in the Heron Stakes and shaped as if this trip would suit him when winning the Darley Stakes at Newmarket at the end of the season. This looks the right race to bring him back, but it looks trappy with only three runners.

Alastair Donald, racing manager to King Power, owner of Foxes Tales
He’s done extremely well physically from three to four and we feel this is a good starting point for him. Ultimately we feel he’s going to be better at a mile and a half. We think he’ll run a nice race but it’s a bit of a prep.

Adam Ryan, assistant trainer of Juan Elcano
It’s a shame to see a race like this cut up so badly but it’s a good starting point. He was great last season. He won at Royal Ascot and was unlucky not to win the York Stakes. He’s fit and has wintered well. He’s up to this level and it is likely to be a tactical race.
Reporting by Jonathan Harding

Friday’s race previews

1.50 Sandown: All-weather form not to be dismissed and neither should Botti runner

2.40 Perth: ‘He looks overpriced to end a strong season for his yard on a high’

3.00 Sandown: How vulnerable is Alcohol Free in the bet365 Mile as she makes her reappearance?

3.35 Sandown: Is Charlie Appleby about to unleash another Adayar in the Classic Trial?

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