RACING superpowers always make sure they target Royal Ascot and Qatar Racing are no exception with several high-profile runners set to line up at the meeting.
Managing those horses, and the expectations of Sheikh Fahad Al-Thani and his family, is David Redvers, who we spoke to to get the latest on the Qatar Racing hopes for Royal Ascot.
Royal Ascot takes place next week. How important is it for you and Qatar Racing?
It’s a huge deal. We were the first commercial partners with Royal Ascot through Qipco so we go there with great pride in that, but also with a great deal of trepidation and high hopes.
Lightning Spear represents Qatar Racing in the Queen Anne Stakes. He must be a favoured horse of everyone in the operation?
He really is. He’s been one of my favourites ever since we bought him as a yearling because he’s probably the best-looking horse in training. He’s been so unfortunate not to win a Group 1, especially last time, and he goes to Ascot with a view to gaining his revenge on Rhododendron. We go there with great hopes for him.
Kings Shield lines up in the St James’s Palace Stakes. Does he deserve to be there?
Mr Gosden certainly thinks he does. We ran him for experience at Epsom as we wanted him to learn more about racing. It also confirmed beyond a shadow of a doubt that he doesn’t like soft ground. We’re delighted to have him running and he’s an extremely good looking and talented son of Scat Daddy, and we all know what Scat Daddy’s results have been like at Ascot.
Legends Of War looked an interesting contender for the Coventry but is now not running. What are the plans for him?
Unfortunately he’s thrown a temperature so won’t be able to run at Royal Ascot, which is a huge shame. He goes straight for the July Stakes at the July meeting in Newmarket instead. He’s hugely talented and a horse we’re looking forward to seeing on the course again.
Bless Him won the Britannia Stakes at Royal Ascot last year. Can he do the same in the Royal Hunt Cup this time around?
That’s the plan. He’s got form over the straight mile at Ascot and more importantly he’s got a guaranteed strong pace to run at.
Raid is an interesting runner based on his performance in the 2,000 Guineas. What chance do you think he holds at Royal Ascot?
He’s got two options but I think he’s more likely to go for the Jersey Stakes rather than the Commonwealth Cup. He ran a good race in the Guineas and his performance suggested we need to come back in trip with him. He’s a horse with a lot of potential.
Roaring Lion skips Royal Ascot after his fine third in the Derby. What is next for him?
He goes for the Coral-Eclipse next. He ran the sort of race we expected from him realistically. It would have been lovely for him to get his head in front, but there was always the concern whether he would stay the toughest mile and a half there is. In the end he didn’t quite stay on that far so he’ll revert to ten furlongs and we’re excited about seeing him at Sandown.
And, finally, can you give us a little insight into your two-year-olds and any other Royal Ascot runners you might have?
We’re a little bit light on numbers this year for the fixture. We’ve got more quality than we’ve ever had going to the meeting but we’re a bit short on actual runners. We’ve got some lovely two-year-olds and the best way to describe them would be ‘Classic types’ for later in the year. I think they’re as good a bunch as we’ve ever had, so are worth keeping an eye on for the rest of the season.