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Dutch Connection - James McDonald wins

Dutch Connection (white cap) goes clear of Home Of The Brave (red cap)

  PICTURE: Mark Cranham (racingpost.com/photos)  

Dutch Connection strikes for in-form McDonald

Report: Goodwood, Tuesday

Qatar Lennox Stakes (Group 2) 7f, 3yo+

THEY won the feature race on Goodwood's opening day 12 months ago with Toormore, and Godolphin struck again in the Lennox Stakes thanks to a power-packed performance from 9-4 favourite Dutch Connection under in-form James McDonald.

The famous blue colours were carried by three of the eight-strong field in the £300,000 Group 2 contest, and it was the Charlie Hills-trained four-year-old who triumphed, collaring Home Of The Brave inside the final furlong to score by a length and three-quarters.

McDonald the man again

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Dutch Connection had finished second in the race last year and runner-up in another pair of Group 2s this season and was winning for the first time since landing the Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot in 2015.

McDonald, who has come in for some high-profile rides following the 30-day suspension of William Buick, was clearly delighted with the victory.

The jockey, who was riding Dutch Connection for the first time and who also rode Big Orange to a Group 2 success this month, said: "He's an awesome horse, I can't believe I've won a big race for Charlie Hills. He brought me over three years ago and had so much faith in me, I can't thank him enough."

World class

Hills, who was landing his third Group win of the year, was thrilled with McDonald and said: "He's a world-class jockey who is still very young. We're going to see a lot of him. He's very laid-back, has a good relationship with horses and is very positive."

The Lambourn trainer was equally enthused by Dutch Connection, who travelled well very throughout the contest, and added: "He had some good form going into the race and had a favourite's chance. They went a good solid pace and he has a high cruising speed so it played into his hands.

"There are options, including dropping back a little in trip for the Prix Maurice de Gheest. I cannot see any reason why he couldn't win a Group 1 on the right ground. Fast ground is really key for him and he should improve as he gets older."

Godolphin's Home Of The Brave kept on for a clear second with Hugo Palmer's other runner Gifted Master back in third having cut out much of the early running.

 
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