Gosden Returns Double-Handed To The Scene Of Former Glory
24 February 2023
24 February 2023 – Thady Gosden has very fond memories of Riyadh. In 2021, just weeks before his name was added to the training licence with his father John, he oversaw the final preparation by Mishriff before he lifted The Saudi Cup.
The appetite for further glory on the world’s richest raceday remains undimmed but even in the space of two years Gosden has noticed how much has changed at King Abdulaziz Racecourse.
"I nearly got lost coming here earlier," the trainer joked on Friday morning.
"Just looking at the racecourse, there are changes each year we are back with new buildings. It is getting bigger and better all the time. The stabling and quarantine facilities are fantastic also."
Gosden has returned with two contenders from their Clarehaven Stables base at Newmarket: Trawlerman (IRE) in the Longines Red Sea Turf Handicap and Mostahdaf (IRE) in the Neom Turf Cup presented by Altanfeethi.
Trawlerman, it is hoped, will develop into a horse for British Cup races as the year progresses.
"He’s an Ebor winner who was able to make the step-up to Group class when he was third in the Long Distance Cup on Champions Day at Ascot, so you would like to think he will continue to develop into a good stayer," Gosden said.
"But this is a very good race, not least with the return of Subjectivist, and he faces very tough competition in a very competitive handicap."
A review of the Godolphin-owned five-year-old’s success in the Ebor at York last August is worthwhile for a reminder of the wide course he charted under Frankie Dettori through the first half of the race, before displaying so much courage in the final 200m when it appeared he would be beaten time and again.
"He could have finished anywhere from second to third to fourth, but he really wanted to win that day and he battled so bravely. Frankie gets on very well with him. We always believed he would make into a nice horse and he has flourished since being gelded," Gosden continued.
Just over an hour earlier on Saturday’s programme, Mostahdaf resumes in the Neom Turf Cup presented by Altanfeethi and one suspects a big run could be imminent from the Frankel entire in the Shadwell silks.
"Mostahdaf is training well having had a nice break after the Arc when he didn’t handle the very heavy conditions," Gosden said.
"He looks great and seems to be enjoying the warmer climate. He is a lightly raced colt, still with plenty of potential and he has Group winning form between 10 and 12 furlongs [2000m to 2400m]. We don’t have any campaign mapped out for him yet, we would like to take it step-by-step, but I’d be hopeful of a good showing tomorrow."