30 years on from Lochsong’s memorable victory in the 1992 Stewards Cup, hopes are high that Alcohol Free can give her owner Jeff Smith yet another big race success at the Qatar Goodwood Festival. Victorious in the race last year, the four-year-old filly will bid to become the first horse to defend her crown since Frankel 10 years ago.
Can Alcohol Free defend her crown?
The daughter of No Nay Never bounced right back to her best when winning the Darley July Cup Stakes at Newmarket earlier this month, and Balding is confident she can put it up to the colts once again as she steps back up to a mile. He said: “We know she’s effective at Goodwood because she won the race last year but there’s some pretty good horses in this year’s race. We’re getting her there in the best condition we can. Luck will play a part I’m sure, but we know she’s talented on her day and we just hope she gives her best and if she does, she’ll be very competitive.”
Despite the quick turnaround time from Newmarket, Balding is happy with the condition of his filly. He added: “We’ve been very happy with her. It was two weeks ago she won so she hasn’t worked since then, she’s just been cantering, but she has eaten well and put all the weight she lost back on. She looks very well in herself, and she’ll have a light piece of work on Saturday which will hopefully put her spot on for next Wednesday.”
On the 30th anniversary of Lochsong’s win in the Stewards Cup, Balding was keen to pay tribute to her owner-breeder Jeff Smith who has been involved in the sport for some time. He said: “Jeff Smith has been a tremendous supporter of the yard and so many other people in racing for a long time. He’s a fantastic Owner Breeder, and a great man to train for. He loves Goodwood and has enjoyed some pretty massive successes at Goodwood in the past. It’s always an important meeting for us to try and get some of Jeff’s horses there to Goodwood with a chance. It would be a big occasion if she could pull it off again.”
Park House Stables have enjoyed a solid start to the 2022 campaign, a highlight of which has been the improvement shown by Coltrane since his runner-up effort in the Chester Cup on his seasonal reappearance.
A winner at Royal Ascot, he followed up that with a ten-length victory at Sandown which means he will now step up to Group One company in the Al Shaqab Goodwood Cup for the first time. Balding said: “Coltrane has really found his feet of late. He was very impressive last time, obviously won well at Royal Ascot. He was very impressive at Sandown last time. Taking on Stradivarius he’d be doing well to finish third on all known form but he’s really well and we couldn’t be happier going into the meeting.”