Strategic victory for Shadwell as Mostahdaf steals York prize

The five-year-old son of the great Frankel was continuing Shadwell’s hot form for the season

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Mostahdaf delivered a masterclass at York’s historic Ebor meeting. — Reuters
Mostahdaf delivered a masterclass at York’s historic Ebor meeting. — Reuters

Leslie Wilson Jr

Published: Wed 23 Aug 2023, 10:32 PM

Shadwell’s 2023 season just keeps getting better and better as Mostahdaf illustrated on Wednesday when scoring a brilliantly conceived victory in the £1 million Juddmonte International Stakes on the opening day of York’s historic Ebor meeting.

With Shadwell’s retained rider Jim Crowley currently serving out a suspension, super-sub Frankie Dettori picked up the ride on Mostahdaf and promptly delivered a front-running masterclass to deny Ireland’s Paddington, the mount of Ryan Moore, a sixth Group 1 success of the season.

The five-year-old son of the great Frankel was continuing Shadwell’s hot form for the season which has featured major wins in Saudi Arabia, France, Ascot and Goodwood prior to Wednesday’s York success.

Created by the late Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the former Deputy Ruler of Dubai, in 1981, Shadwell has developed into one of the most powerful and influential racing operations in the world.

Following Sheikh Hamdan’s demise in March 2021, the Newmarket-based racing and breeding operation has been overseen passionately by his daughter Sheikha Hissa bint Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who was present at York as she has been during all of Shadwell’s successes in the UK over the past couple of years.

Commenting on Mostahdaf’s epic victory in the Juddmonte, which was won last year by another Shadwell star, Baaeed, Sheikha Hissa told Racing UK: “After his run in Saudi Arabia I expected him to do better and better.

“Even in the September Stakes (Kempton, 2022), he ran very beautifully then he won the Neon Cup in Saudi and he ran really well behind Equinox (Dubai Sheema Classic, 20023).

“He’s an improving horse and this family usually take time to improve. I did expect him to do well today and we’re happy to win the Juddmonte.”

Dettori, who was completing a record sixth career win in the Juddmonte, was at his merciless best leaving his peers with no choice but to settle for the minor placing as he totally dominated proceedings from the front.

But the incomparable Italian riding great, who will retire at the end of the year, was typically generous in his praise for those who work tireless behind the scenes to produce a horse capable of winning big races.

"It was a team effort. I'm very sorry for Jim, who is suspended, as this is his ride. He helped me out a lot with the characteristics of the horse,” he told Racing TV.

"I spoke to John (Gosden) at length and studied his replays and I thought there's only one way to beat Paddington and that's by making it a proper gallop, so I did. Full credit to the horse, he was superb today.

Four of Dettori’s Juddmonte successes have come aboard horses trained by Dubai’s champion handler Saeed bin Suroor, including Halling (1996), Singspiel (1997), Sakhee (2001), and Sulamani (2004).

"To be the first man to win six Internationals, I'm very proud, and to beat the great Lester Piggott. It's my last year and to finish on a high like this is amazing,” he said.

Shadwell's racing manager Angus Gold, who has been with the team for close to four decades, said it was time to ‘enjoy’ the moment and be ‘grateful'.

"To win the races we've done this year has been incredible - the Prince of Wales's, the King George, the Nassau and this (race). It's been an amazing year,” he said.

"We have to enjoy it and be grateful. This was a proper race. We knew if we stood any chance of beating Paddington, we had to do something different rather than let him have his own way out in front again,” Gold added of the plan to make all the running.

Shadwell’s biggest wins of the season

August: Al Husn (Nassau Stakes G1), Goodwood

July: Hukum (King George G1), Ascot

June: Mosthadaf (Prince of Wales’s Stakes G1), Royal Ascot

May: Anmaat (Prix d’Ispahan G1), France

February: Mostahdaf (Neon Turf Cup G3), Saudi Arabia

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