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Sandown Park Raceday Review: Inaugural Breeders’ Day brings down curtain on 2021 Flat season

Press Release 15th September 2021 Sandown Park

By Graham Clark

Sandown Park’s 2021 Flat season drew to a close on Wednesday 15th September with the first staging of Breeders’ Day, a new initiative from The Jockey Club in conjunction with the Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association with the aim of providing racegoers with a unique insight into the breeding industry.

Claire Sheppard, Chief Executive of the Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association, said: “It has been a really good new initiative for the TBA. 

“We have had lots of familiar faces come up and see us along with some new members sign up and wanting to know more about breeding which is one of our key objectives for the day. 

“It was great for The Jockey Club to approach us about today and hopefully we can build on this and move forward. It has been a really good day. 

“For those that didn’t know it has given us an opportunity to show the care and love the horses are given even before they are born with the planning of the matings, the care of the mares, the birth of the foal. Hopefully a day like this has helped tell this side of the story. 

“Hopefully if Sandown invite us back again we would love to come. I’ve spoken to a number of the sponsors today and they are keen to come back. I think it has been really good for us to come and speak to a broader audience. It has all been positive from our side.”

We sent Graham Clark along to speak to the winners on the day….


Mostahdaf left connections “excited for next year” after making the most of a drop down in class to get his career back on track with a game success in the Listed Chasemore Farm Fortune Stakes, the feature contest of Breeders’ Day.

After running out the winner of the Listed Heron Stakes over course and distance in May, the John and Thady Gosden-trained Frankel colt was last sighted finishing down the field Group One St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot in June.

Tracking the early pace which was cut out by Bullace and Rhoscolyn, the 7-4 favourite moved into a slender advantage under former champion jockey Jim Crowley entering the final quarter of a mile.

Finding plenty when asked for his maximum effort, Mostahdaf put his stamina to good use to defeat the ultra-consistent Escobar by half a length with Sir Busker a further length and a half adrift in third.

Richard Hills, assistant racing manager to owner Shadwell Estate Company, said: “He had a throat infection after Royal Ascot but he has done that really well.

“John and Thady have been happy with him since. We wanted to run him over a mile and a quarter but this was the only spot for him. It has worked out as the ground was on the soft side so it has played into his stamina.

“He is a very exciting horse for next year. I don’t think ground wise it worries him as he will go on pretty much anything.

“You only have to look at his half-sister (Nazeef) and how well she did as a four year old so we are really excited for next year.”

Although Mostahdaf was cut from 50-1 to 25-1 by Paddy Power for the QIPCO Champion Stakes at Ascot on 16th October, joint trainer Thady Gosden stressed no immediate decision will be made over his potential participation in the Group One.

He said: “We were very pleased with him as he has had a bit of time off.

“He hit a couple of ridges up the straight but he handled the track as they had plenty of rain here yesterday. It was soft enough for him but his class got him through.

“He is a nice horse for next year definitely but we will see how he comes out of the race and if we do anything with him for the rest of the season.

“There was no point rushing him back and we just gave him plenty of time to let him come back to himself and he has done it well here today.

“He has had a nice blow afterwards and this will point him in the right direction.

“We will talk to Sheikha Hissa and see what she wants to do for the rest of the year. He should improve stepping up to a mile and a quarter.”


Goldspur looks set for an immediate step up to Group race company after earning quotes for next year’s Cazoo Derby at Epsom Downs following his impressive debut success in the Time Test EBF Novice Stakes.

The Charlie Appleby-trained Dubawi colt, who is out of the 2014 Group Two Lancashire Oaks heroine Pomology, could now be aimed at the Group Three Godolphin Flying Start Zetland Stakes at Newmarket on 9th October after proving a cut above his rivals on in the mile prize on his racecourse bow.

Racing prominently throughout the 2-1 favourite eased into the lead inside the final quarter of a mile before quickly putting daylight between himself and the rest of the field to cross the line six and a half lengths clear of runner-up Wolsey.

Following the race the Godolphin homebred was introduced at 40-1 for The Cazoo Derby by Paddy Power while William Hill went 33-1 for the same race.

Appleby, speaking away from the track, said: “I was pleased with that run. He is a horse that has got plenty of stamina in his pedigree there so he will be a mile and a half horse for next year.

“Going forward we look at stepping him up to a mile and a quarter and point him at something like the Zetland Stakes as that will suit him.

“I’m very pleased that he is a big margin winner but soft ground has come into play for him there.”

Equally delighted with the performance was winning rider James Doyle, who was impressed by the manner in which his mount handled the testing conditions.

Doyle said: “He didn’t begin all that well but he was quickly into stride. He was very straightforward and he seemed to be a quick learner.

“We didn’t go very quick, as we were mindful of these testing conditions, but I got him on the move around the two there and he stretched really nicely on that ground.

“His dam stayed very well and was a high quality mare and was a Group Two winner and it gave us confidence that he would hit the line today.

“We were on a fact finding mission rather than knowing exactly what he could do.”


Damaar has a long way to go to reach the same heights as stablemate Palace Pier, however he followed in the hoofprints of the multiple Group One winner when making his debut a triumphant one in the Blandford Bloodstock Novice Stakes.

Having saddled Palace Pier to glory in the seven furlong prize on his second start in 2019, trainer John Gosden, who now operates together with his son Thady, repeated the feat with the son of Decorated Knight.

Despite conditions being less than ideal the 2-1 chance found plenty under Robert Havlin to defeat fellow newcomer Wodeton (13-8 favourite) by a length and a quarter.

Thady Gosden said: “He has done it very well. The ground wouldn’t be exactly to his liking but he has handled it well enough and his class got him through there. He probably caught Rab (Havlin, jockey) a little by surprise with his turn off foot there.

“It was a competitive race and he will come on for the run. It is great for Decorated Knight, who seems to be an exciting young stallion.

“It is late enough in the season but he handled that ground well enough. We will take him home and go from there.

“He has won over a stiff seven and you would be happy to step him up to a mile and possibly even further next year.”


Oisin Murphy had nothing but praise for the attitude shown by the John Quinn-trained Melody King, who bounced back to winning ways when prevailing by a head in the Havana Grey At Whitsbury Manor Stud Handicap over five furlongs, which forms part of The Jockey Club Grassroots Sprint Series. 

Murphy said of the 11-10 favourite: “He did well to win. I wanted to follow Thegreyvtrain as he normally goes forward but he didn’t lead me very far.

“I thought the second horse (Firenze Rosa) had got away from us for a bit so top marks to the horse. 

“They’ve come a long way down but it was the right spot for him.”


William Muir believes he could now be “in business” with Sunset Melody after she gained the first success of her career in the concluding Barton Stud Fillies’ Handicap.

The combination of soft ground and a step up to a mile and a quarter appeared to have the desired effect on the former Charlie Appleby-trained filly, who survived a stewards’ inquiry to run out a length and a quarter winner on her sixth start.  

Muir, who trains in partnership with Chris Grassick, said of the 16-1 winner: “I ran her first time out (after a break) over a mile but I knew she wanted further and I think the ground has helped. 

“I backed her each-way as I really like the filly. I got her very cheap 11,000 guineas at the Tattersalls December mares’ sale last year and we could now be in business. 

“She is a real stamp of a filly and it is great for the owner (Foursome Thoroughbreds) and he has been a supporter throughout the whole of my career. 

“I came here today thinking I’m glad it has rained as we will see the best of her.”


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