Gordon Stakes preview: Ascot foes meet again at Goodwood

Fri 4 Aug 2017

By Racinguk.com staff

Khalidi and Crystal Ocean lock horns for a second time in the Qatar Gordon Stakes at Goodwood on Saturday after finishing second and third respectively in the King Edward VII Stakes.

Neither could get past Mark Johnston's Permian at Royal Ascot, but lost little in defeat against that teak-tough rival.

The John Gosden-trained Khalidi has shown progressive form all season. Starting off in a Doncaster handicap, he went on to take his chance in the Investec Derby after winning the Cocked Hat Stakes on this course in May.

Crystal Ocean, from the Sir Michael Stoute stable, has had less racing but has shown plenty of promise and was also third behind Permian in the Dante Stakes at York.

Both horses hold entries in the Great Voltigeur Stakes at York on August 23 and the William Hill St Leger at Doncaster on September 16. As such, the pair are likely to dominate the betting and only three horses have been declared to take them on.

William Haggas is worried about the state of the ground for Across Dubai, who got back on track with a cosy success at Haydock last month after disappointing connections on his seasonal reappearance at Yarmouth.

"I'm very concerned about the ground, so we'll have to see what it's like," said the Newmarket handler. "He's a nice horse and he won very well at Haydock. He's got a bit to find on the figures but we felt he deserved a shot at a better race."

Eve Johnson Houghton believes Jake's Hill is improving and will not be out of place in this Group Three line-up.

The Mount Nelson colt has been on an upward curve since stepping up to a mile and a quarter. After winning a maiden at Sandown, Jake's Hill was a creditable third to seasoned campaigner Spark Plug in the Listed Gala Stakes when doing the donkey work in front.

"He's in good form. He's had a nice break since his last run and I think he's an improving three-year-old. We'll see, we're hopeful," said Johnson Houghton. "I think the extra distance will suit him. It looks as though that's what he needs. Fingers crossed he'll run really well."

Completing the quintet is Mount Moriah, who also has a progressive profile. The Ralph Beckett-trained gelding has won both his starts in 2017, one of which was on soft ground at Newbury in May.

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