Here Comes When stuns Ribchester in Sussex
CHICHESTER, West Sussex, England (Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2017) — Here Comes When pulled off a 20/1 shock when landing today’s £1m G1 Qatar Goodwood Sussex Stakes, which was run in pouring rain.
The Andrew Balding-trained gelding, ridden by champion jockey Jim Crowley in the colours of Fitri Hay, scored by a neck from the 8/13 favourite Ribchester, with Lightning Spear a further three-quarters of a length third of the seven runners. The expected clash between Ribchester and Churchill failed to materialise when the last-named colt was withdrawn on account of the going, as was Zonderland.
Here Comes When was entered in a handicap at the meeting on Friday. Instead he became the first seven-year-old winner of the Qatar Sussex Stakes (it was restricted to three-year-olds until 1959), and while he was fourth in it two years ago, and had landed a pair of Group Two contests in 2014, this was his biggest triumph. In six seasons of racing he had won £280,000, a worthy sum by any standards, but today he doubled it, adding £560,000 to his tally.
Balding said: “He was always travelling strongly through the race and that gave him a chance of being placed, but I thought Lightning Spear would beat us and then Ribchester. Happily they didn’t.
“This rain was forecast, so the conditions are not totally unexpected. We hoped he would run well, there’s good money all the way down and he loves the ground and likes the track. He’s been in great form this year. Jim [Crowley] thought we would be in the first three and he gave him a great ride.
“He won two Group Twos as a four-year-old and has always been a handy horse, but he needs these conditions. We were lucky the race fell away a little bit, but you still have to run to a very good level to win it, which he did. It’s one of my more improbable Group One triumphs, but he was 20/1, so not completely without a chance.
“We entered him a long time ago because he was impressive when winning a Listed race at York, and he’s very handy on his day. He’s a strong traveller on this ground.
“I should think he will have just one more run, probably at Ascot [Champions Day] in the autumn when I hope he gets these conditions again, and then we’ll look forward. His racing career will have to end at some point and we’ll have to find a nice home for him.
“I’m very happy for Mr and Mrs Hay [Jim and Fitri], who have been wonderful owners for us – they’ve had horses with us a long time and I’m pleased for them because they love Goodwood.”
HERE COMES WHEN’S SUSSEX STAKES WIN: A FIRST GROUP ONE VICTORY FOR FITRI HAY AS SOLE OWNER
Owner Mrs Fitri Hay enjoyed her first Group One success as a sole owner today with Here Comes When’s Qatar Group One Goodwood Sussex Stakes victory.
“We had lots of top wins with the likes of Cape Blanco,” said husband Jim Hay, “but this is our first as a sole owner and not in a partnership. This is Fitri’s horse and it’s a real team effort from all.
“The going today really played to our strengths, but this horse has always been knocking at the door in Group Ones and Twos, he has always had a lot of ability. Andrew has got him at the peak of performance for today.
“Alex [Cole, racing manager], Andrew and I had a long discussion about this race at Ascot on Saturday and we decided to run. We thought we’d go for fourth prize – there is big prize money – as we didn’t think we’d beat Ribchester or Churchill.
“But as the weather changed and the going got softer and softer, I can’t say we were confident, but thought we’d be in with a chance. When they pulled out Churchill, I looked at Here Comes When in the parade ring and I thought he’s going to run a good race for us. I thought he’ll be in the first three and if he did that we’d be over the moon.
“Watching through the race we were quite happy with where we were, and I thought we’re going to pick the leaders. As they came down the straight, Here Comes When was just getting stronger and stronger, and we were praying ‘Jim don’t go, don’t go yet!'”
Despite the rain, jockey Jim Crowley, the current champion and a former NH jockey, who is retained to ride all the Fitri Hay-owned horses, was all smiles.
“He’s a very good horse with his conditions – which are these!” he laughed. “But he’s deserved it, he’s battled hardened, he’s run plenty of times, he’s a Group Two winner and this is great for Fitri and Jim. They are very big supporters.
“It’s tough conditions, it’s tough going, it’s proper heavy jumping ground. The horse is very tough and he toughed it out. For every drop of rain that has come today, I was pleased!”
It has been a good four-week period for Crowley: he won the Coral-Eclipse Stakes at the beginning of July on the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Ulysses.
RIBCHESTER SECOND TO WHEN
The rain kept falling and certainly helped dampen Ribchester’s parade, when the 8/13 favourite came home a neck second to 20/1 outsider Here Comes When in the £1-million feature race of the Qatar Goodwood Festival, the mile Qatar Sussex Stakes.
Trained by Richard Fahey, the star four-year-old Iffraaj colt went to the front early but was headed between the two and one furlong markers before running on again.
Fahey commented: “William [Buick] felt they were rocking away two out but then came back again.
“It is extreme conditions out there. I was very worried, it is not for a Flat racehorse.
“He has showed good heart and has run a mighty race to get back up again.
“If you could back winners today you would be a genius as the conditions are so bad. It is why bookmakers love conditions like this. They get odd results and they got one today.
“I am disappointed, don’t get me wrong. We came here expecting to win and we didn’t, so we are disappointed.
“It was a strange race and I would like to see it again.”
William Buick, jockey, added: “Ribchester has done it from the front before, but he wasn’t comfortable from the three [furlong pole] to the two.
“He didn’t find as much as I thought he would. It is usually a very strong part of his race.
“He stayed on again towards the end, the others got tired in front.
“I was surprised that they got to me, but at the time I wasn’t going well enough.
“He is a gutsy horse, the conditions are terrible out there. It is very heavy ground.”
CHURCHILL TAKEN OUT OF QATAR SUSSEX STAKES JUST BEFORE QATAR GOODWOOD FESTVAL £1-MILLION FEATURE
Star three-year-old Churchill, a dual Guineas winner, was withdrawn from the £1-million Qatar Sussex Stakes by trainer Aidan O’Brien about half an hour before the 3.35pm off time.
O’Brien, Ireland’s champion Flat trainer, explained: “This is extreme weather now.
“We came here wanting to run and we are very disappointed we’re not running. That’s the way it is.
“The year is long and hopefully there will be other chances. Where we go now, I am not sure. The lads will decide whether they want to stay at a mile or go up to a mile and a quarter.
“It is just a pity because we were looking forward to running him. The track did not walk too bad when we walked it about an hour ago. There was a lot of water on the top and it was loose and sloppy. It was not heavy, tacky ground, but it is probably going to get near heavy now after having nearly an inch of rain falling.”
O’Brien relied on 8/1 chance Lancaster Bomber, who finished sixth of the seven runners.
STEWARDS’ REPORT AFTER QATAR SUSSEX STAKES
The Stewards held an enquiry to consider why William Buick, the rider of RIBCHESTER (IRE), placed second, had appeared to ease for a few strides approaching the final furlong. Having heard his evidence and viewed recordings of the race they noted his explanation that the gelding had lugged right-handed, and being mindful that he may run onto the heels of the winner, HERE COMES WHEN (IRE), he eased for a few strides before continuing to ride when the colt became re-balanced and ran straight again.
The Stewards held an enquiry to consider why RIBCHESTER (IRE) and TOSCANINI (IRE), both trained by Richard Fahey, had failed to parade in the correct order for this race. They interviewed the trainer. Having heard his evidence, they Stewards found the trainer in breach of Rule (B)30 and fined him £1,000.
£1 Million Qatar Sussex Stakes (Group One) (British Champions Series) – RESULT
1 (5) Here Comes When (IRE) (Hood) Andrew Balding 7yo 9st 8lb Jim Crowley 20/1
2 (6) Ribchester (IRE) Richard Fahey 4yo 9st 8lb William Buick 8/13 Fav
3 (1) Lightning Spear David Simcock 6yo 9st 8lb Oisin Murphy 8/1
4 (7) Zelzal (FR) Jean Claude Rouget, France 4yo 9st 8lb Frankie Dettori 4/1
5 (2) Toscanini (IRE) Richard Fahey 5yo 9st 8lb James Doyle 66/1
6 (3) Lancaster Bomber (USA) Aidan O’Brien, Ireland 3yo 9st 1lb Ryan Moore 8/1
7 (9) Kool Kompany (IRE) Richard Hannon 5yo 9st 8lb Andrea Atzeni 40/1
Non-Runners: CHURCHILL (Ground), ZONDERLAND (Ground)
Winner owned by Fitri Hay
Time: 1m 46.11s
Distances: nk, ¾, 1½, ½, 1¼, ½
Breeder: Old Carhue & Graeng Bloodstoxk
Breeding: br g Danehill Dancer (IRE) – Quad’s Melody (IRE) (Spinning World (USA))
Tote Win: £20.40 Places: £6.90, £1.10 Exacta: £38.80
Andrew Balding -31 Goodwood winners (11 at Qatar Goodwood Festival)
Jim Crowley -55 Goodwood winners (8 at Qatar Goodwood Festival)
Here Comes When becomes oldest ever winner of the Qatar Sussex Stakes at age 7.
Previous oldest winners were six-year-olds Court Masterpiece (2006) and Noalcoholic (1983).