Free Wind seeking to return to winning ways at Goodwood

Free Wind looks to put defeat at Royal Ascot behind her in the Qatar Lillie Langtry Stakes at Goodwood on Saturday.

A winner at Group Three and Group Two level in 2021, the daughter of Galileo made just one competitive appearance last season, claiming another Group Two prize in the Lancashire Oaks at Haydock.

She made a successful comeback in the Middleton at York in May and having seen the runner-up Rogue Millennium go one better in the Duke of Cambridge Stakes, Free Wind was a hot favourite to claim a Royal Ascot success of her own in the Hardwicke.

Supporters of John and Thady Gosden’s mare were ultimately left counting their losses, with the five-year-old beaten three lengths into fifth place by the popular winner Pyledriver – but hopes are high that she can get back her head back on track with plenty in her favour.

Thady Gosden said: “She won the Middleton over a trip below her optimum on her first run of the year and then she found the ground a little too fast for her by the Saturday of Ascot.

“Obviously we’ve had rain at Goodwood this week and there’s more forecast. Hopefully it doesn’t get too deep, but she seems to be in good form.

“She has course form and we’re looking forward to running her.”

Connections of Time Lock began the year with high hopes after the Frankel filly pushed fellow high-class Juddmonte-owned filly Haskoy close in the Galtres Stakes at York last summer.

She kicked off her campaign with a runner-up finish to Luisa Casati in a Listed race at Goodwood and has since finished fourth in both the Pinnacle Stakes and the Lancashire Oaks at Haydock.

Having expected the prevailing quick ground on Merseyside to suit the four-year-old, Juddmonte’s racing manager Barry Mahon is now looking forward to seeing her return to an easier surface.

“She’s in good form and we think a mile and six (furlongs) will bring out a bit more improvement in her,” he said.

“It’s similar opposition to what she’s met so far, apart from Free Wind.

“I think we’ve got her wrong ground-wise. Last year one of her most impressive performances was on quick ground at Newmarket and she looked to skip off it, but Ryan (Moore) felt she really didn’t like it at Haydock.

“Looking at her we always thought she wanted soft ground, but that performance at Newmarket had us thinking we were wrong.

“Over a mile and six with a bit of cut in the ground, I’m not saying she’ll win, but I think she’ll be competitive.”

Luisa Casati beat Time Lock at Goodwood in the spring, but finished a length behind her when fifth in last month’s Lancashire Oaks.

Her trainer Tom Ward also expects a return to softer ground to yield an improved performance.

“She’s in good shape and I thought she ran well the other day at Haydock, although she got back in a slowly-run race on slightly quicker ground than ideal,” he said.

“A step up in trip and slower ground should really suit her, so she’s going there with a nice chance on Saturday I hope.

“She likes the track, it’s not a big field and Richard (Kingscote) knows her well, so fingers crossed.”

River Of Stars is a leading contender for Ralph Beckett, having backed up a York success over Free Wind’s stablemate Mimikyu with a narrow defeat in a French Group Two three weeks ago.

Gosden second string Ghara, Roger Varian’s Peripatetic, Paul and Oliver Cole’s Sumo Sam and Divina Grace from Rae Guest’s yard complete the field.

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