Mehmas (left) gets the better of Blue Point in the closing stagesPICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
Mehmas shows true grit for Hannon in Richmond
Report: Glorious Goodwood, Thursday
Qatar Richmond Stakes (Group 2) 6f, 2yo colts and geldings
EXPERIENCE counted for plenty as Mehmas knuckled down to burst the bubble of Godolphin’s Blue Point and provide trainer Richard Hannon with a first Goodwood winner this week.
Mehmas might have been third choice of the four runners in the market at 7-2 but he has been a thorough professional this season.
Again he showed a willing attitude to notch his fourth victory on his sixth start at the expense of the highly-touted Blue Point, having just his third outing but sent off the 5-6 favourite.
The Hannon name has been synonymous with the meeting down the years - not least in this race which the stable has now won six times in nine years - and the trainer was thrilled to get off the mark following some near-misses over the first two days.
Frankie Dettori also had to wait until day three for a winner to go within five victories of the magical 3,000-mark, and he was impressed with what was underneath him.
He said: “He really sticks his head out. He’s not overly big but he’s got a big heart to compensate. He took it to the favourite and he showed how tenacious he is.
“He’s straightforward and he likes a scrap. I took him for a scrap and he came out on top. He doesn’t know how to run a bad race and I’m so pleased for [owner] Sheikh Joaan.”
With his diminutive nature, Mehmas had been labelled as a genuine two-year-old and connections will look to strike at the highest level with a colt who finished second to next year’s Qipco 2,000 Guineas favourite Caravaggio in the Coventry Stakes.
“He’s very tough and is a horse we like a lot; the sheikh likes him and I love him more now,” said Hannon. “He’ll be utilised this year as a two-year-old and we want to win a Group 1 with him.
“We'll have to think about the Morny or the National Stakes for him. What he does after that we’ll have to wait and see. I wouldn't put seven furlongs or a mile beyond him.”
Paddy Power cut Mehmas into 8-1 (from 14) for the Dewhurst Stakes and introduced him at 14-1 for next year's Commonwealth Cup. His odds for the Guineas also shortened to a general 16-1, while some firms clipped Caravaggio into 3-1 (from 7-2).
Rematch in Morny?
Blue Point caused quite a stir when bolting up by 11 lengths on his second start at Doncaster, even drawing comparisons with the great Frankel in some quarters, and while he ran a solid race he could not match the street-fighter in Mehmas.
A potential rematch could be on the cards as Charlie Appleby pointed the way to the Prix Morny.
“The winner is a nice horse who has been placed at Royal Ascot and is a July Stakes winner,” he said. “His experience caught us out and it was the first time that he's really been asked to go about his business.
“He will come on for that and he's a talented horse. We will probably look to the Morny and give the Gimcrack miss.”
The Aidan O’Brien-trained Intelligence Cross, runner-up to Mehmas in the July Stakes last time, trailed home the front two by three lengths.