Gold Cup hero Courage Mon Ami and his Queen’s Vase-winning stablemate Gregory both remain in contention for the Al Shaqab Goodwood Cup on Tuesday.
Courage Mon Ami provided jockey Frankie Dettori with a fairytale final victory in last month’s Royal Ascot showpiece, 24 hours after the Italian had steered Gregory to success in the same colours of owners Wathnan Racing.
Both horses were left in the Group One feature on the opening day of next week’s Qatar Goodwood Festival at the confirmation stage and John Gosden, who trains the pair in partnership with son Thady, is not ruling out the possibility of them locking horns.
He said: “At present, both horses will be left in the race and then we will make a decision nearer the time whether one of them runs or they both run.
“Gregory saw the mile and six furlongs out the other day and I think he will see the two miles out, too. I think he is very much a progressive sort. He is a three-year-old getting the weight in the race, which is a very big edge. We have done it before with Stradivarius.
“Goodwood has its own demands, you swing left right, up, down. It demands a lot of agility from a horse.
“Interestingly enough both horses have won there, though I have to say they looked a bit up in the air galloping at some stages, but they would have learnt a lot from those experiences previously at Goodwood.”
Courage Mon Ami and Gregory were both purchased by the Emir of Qatar’s Wathnan Racing before Royal Ascot, with Gosden keen to underline the significance to the owners of having big runners at the Qatar Goodwood Festival.
He added: “It is extremely important, as the owners put a great deal into the meeting. To me it has lifted the whole event, particularly with the sponsorship and presence there. To that extent I think it’s key and let’s hope we can at least be running well for them.
“Goodwood is a great meeting. Let’s face it, you have Royal Ascot, then the July Meeting, and then Goodwood followed by York. They are the huge summer meetings.
“They are very important to the whole fabric of British racing and, in a sense, the British sporting summer, which turned a little soggy in Lancashire with the cricket and the golf in pouring rain. We can’t put a roof on it like centre court at Wimbledon – we’ve just got to get on with it.”
The Gosden team will be well represented across the week at Goodwood, with top-class fillies Inspiral and Nashwa also set to be in action.
Inspiral, who was beaten a neck by Triple Time in the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot, is set to take on the brilliant colt Paddington in the Qatar Sussex Stakes on Wednesday.
Nashwa, meanwhile, will bid for back-to-back wins in the Qatar Nassau Stakes on Thursday week after notching her third Group One win in the Falmouth at Newmarket.
“Inspiral ran a great race on her return in the Queen Anne. She has come on for that and been in great form since,” said Thady Gosden.
“Paddington is a horse who has made rapid progression. He is a horse with plenty of speed and plenty of ability. He won the St James’s Palace and then went on to the Eclipse. That is quite an unusual route but it demonstrates how brilliant he is. It will be tough taking him on but a championship race like the Sussex Stakes is never going to be an easy race.
“Inspiral has a low action and plenty of speed. She is a very strong filly and hopefully the track will prove no problem to her at all.
“Emily Upjohn was taking on Paddington two furlongs below her optimum trip (in the Eclipse), whereas Inspiral will be taking him on at her ideal trip. Paddington is a three-year-old stepping into older miler company for the first time, which is always an interesting one.”
Of Nashwa, he added: “She has taken a bit of time to come to herself this year as can often happen with fillies who are going from three to four.
“You could tell in the couple of weeks after the Hoppings Stakes that she really had taken a step forward. She looked very well in herself before the Falmouth, relaxed during the race and quickened up past some smart fillies.
“She is going to a track that she knows, having won the Nassau last year. She seems in good order and stepping back up to a mile and a quarter shouldn’t be an issue. It is a fast mile and a quarter, which should hopefully play to her strengths.
“Blue Rose Cen is a brilliant filly and this year she has shown what she can do, having won both fillies’ French classics. It will be a different test for her coming over here and taking on some different fillies, but she is certainly a brilliant filly.
“We have to give her 8lb in the race, so we’ll have to see how things go.”