Delight for Murphy as Japan's Deirdre steals show
It was always going to take something special to beat John Gosden and Frankie Dettori. In the end, it took a horse that had flown a third of the way around the world to do it when the Japanese 20/1 shot Deirdre ran on strongly to beat Mehdaayih by one-and-a-quarter lengths in yesterday's Qatar Nassau Stakes.
Dettori attempted to make all the running on Mehdaayih but, crucially, she was harried for the first quarter-mile by Aidan O'Brien's dual Guineas winner Hermosa.
The Gosden filly paid for that in the last furlong as the imposing mare Deirdre and Oisin Murphy stayed on strongly up the inside rail.
Murphy is Japanese racing's favourite Irishman after a successful 10-week stint there last winter, a trip he intends to repeat this year, and although Deirdre got stuck in the mud at Royal Ascot, it proved highly worthwhile keeping her in the UK for Goodwood.
"I'm so glad the Japanese have brought a horse here and she has performed," said Murphy. "I've been telling people since I came back from Japan of the regard they hold their horses in and it's fantastic they have won a Group One here.
"I had a lovely draw and I'd have liked to have sat a bit closer but couldn't go the pace. There was no pressure and so I rode her from instinct. It paid off, she picked up really well. She's a big masculine mare, and I'm not surprised she was able to carry 60kg (9st 7lbs), which is a lot more than she would carry in Japan."
Racing manager to owner Toji Morita is Seiko Hashida Yoshimura. She said: "This is very important, not only for us but for the whole of Japan to come over to Britain and have a big-race winner. Goodwood is beautiful but very different to Japan's racecourses, which are oval. We were sure that she would like the track though."
The other thing to glean from the race was that some Ballydoyle horses seem to be under a cloud. Anthony Van Dyck was second-last in the King George while Hermosa was last yesterday.
Only one person travelled further than Deirdre to Sussex yesterday and that was Australian Rob Ferguson, owner of Governor of Punjab, the second Mark Johnston winner of the afternoon, in the Telegraph Nursery Stakes.
"I bought three off Mark, he's won three, Visinari has won one and the other hasn't run yet," said Ferguson.
"It's tragic. I owned a horse before I owned a car so I've got the disease real bad."
That, coupled with the victory of Nayef Road in the Gordon Stakes, means that having drawn level with Michael Stoute on Wednesday as the trainer with the most wins at Goodwood, a day later Johnston is already beginning to draw clear on 82.
Clive Cox has a good bunch of two-year-olds this year and Richmond Stakes winner Golden Horde, a son of his top sprinter Lethal Force, is one of the fastest of them.
"Apart from being a different colour he is quite like his sire; pots of ability and a good mind," said the trainer. (© Daily Telegraph, London)